Apple Watch is still a relatively new gadget, but the watchOS has been in the making for quite a while. Even though the Apple wearable is quite impressive when compared to the competition, it's still a first-gen product, not to mention smartwatches are still a relatively new category of tech, so it didn't hit all the marks and there is room for improvement. So, naturally, after Apple talked about iOS 9
at the WWDC, it also announced that a new watchOS 2 is on the way.
The update should bring smoother performance, some more nifty user-oriented features, and more useful apps, as it will give developers more access to the wearable's hardware. watchOS 2 developer edition will be available today, while the consumer version will hit all Apple Watches this Fall. If you are interested in how the Apple timepiece is about to improve this year, whether because you own one, or out of general interest, check the slideshow below for a full set of the upcoming features.
Apple watchOS 2 announced features
Apple watchOS 2 announced features
1. Native Apps
Currently, App logic for running apps is running on the paired iPhone and is being streamed to the Watch. This will soon change, as the logic will be moved to operate autonomously on the Watch, empowering developers to do more, and ensuring smoother operation (according to Apple)
2. Photo watch faces
You can now have one of your favorite photos set as a custom watch face. Alternatively, you can pick an entire album and you will get a different photo from it every time you flick your wrist. Apple has also added a timelapse watch face, which will show you beautiful scenery of cities around the world, which dynamically changes according to the time of day where you are at.
3. Third party apps on watch face
You will now be able to customize your watch face further by adding information streams from third party apps to it. For example – flight schedules, traffic data, electrical car charge, sports scores, etc.
4. Time Travel
By spinning the Digital Crown, you can “fast forward” time to see how the currently displayed stats (for example – the car battery) will change in the future. It will also display upcoming events and weather forecast for the hour you fast forward to.
5. Nightstand mode
The Apple Watch will be able to double as a bedside alarm clock. When plugged in and placed on its side, it goes in “always on” mode with a clock-like face, while its hardware buttons turn into “snooze” and “off” keys.
6. Add more friends
Users will be able to add more than 12 friends – just swipe right to open the next “group” and add the contacts you wish.
7. Multi-color Digital Touch
Digital Touch will now support color for your drawings. We are not sure if this is enticing enough to make it a thing, but hey – Apple's still trying!
8. Reply to emails
Users will finally be able to reply to emails directly from the Watch. The method to do this would be either with pre-set “smart replies”, emoji, or voice dictation.
9. Health will integrate third party apps
Some users still prefer to use a third party app of their choice for various fitness activities. Health on the Watch will now be able to incorporate their results into its Activity rings, aggregating all information in one place. Results will be easily shareable to Facebook, Twitter, or via Messages.
Siri on the Watch is also about to become “smarter” as users will be able to ask it to show glances of apps, or start a workout.
11. Apple Pay
Of course, the new Apple Pay features will be coming to Apple Watch, too – Wallet included.
The Maps app for Watch will also get the Transit feature, showing you public transportation routes and schedules at a glance.
WatchKit is about to give developers access to the Watch's microphone, speakers, accelerometer, taptic engine, Digital Crown, and enable short video playback. This should untie the hands of developers to bring some more useful apps in the upcoming future.
HomeKit will enable Apple Watch apps to control lights and other smart objects in your house from afar.