“Apple previewed the next iteration of its watch platform and it’s arriving this fall”
The Cupertino major has a gorgeous smartwatch in the form of the Apple Watch – it looks classy, comes in a variety of different variants to appeal to different audiences, and offers immense scope for personalisation thanks to the slew of interchangeable bands the company has made available for it. However, Apple has been cagey about the actual sales figures of the device, making many wonder if Apple’s first major foray into wearables has been successful or not. Just as many different reports and theories on the subject present their own take on the matter, Apple has gone ahead and announced a significant platform update. Announced at Apple’s annual developer conference, watchOS 3 looks like a major overhaul that could get the smartwatch some more, well-deserved attention.
Watch faces is an area where the Apple Watch definitely leaves something to be desired, and the new update promises some improvements in this regard. Apart from the addition of new faces, the update will let users launch more apps directly from the watch face, and allow adding of more complications like music or messages. The update also promises a higehr degree of watch face customisation, while a new Faces Gallery in the Watch app on the iPhone will present more third-party options.
Better and more intuitive navigation is one of the key highlights of the platform update. This comes in the form of a new dock, accessible by pressing the side button. Both the dock, as well the watch faces, now let users launch their favourite apps. A Control Center akin to the one on iOS pops up by swiping upwards on the screen, while the Notification Center is displayed with a downward swipe.
Health and fitness related functions are rapidly becoming an area of focus for smartwatches, and the latest update adds to this aspect of the Apple Watch. The all-new Breathe app encourages users to do short breathing exercises, an activity which has been identified by experts as being extremely important for all-round fitness. Then there’s the new social aspect that’s been added to the Watch. Users will be able to share their fitness stats and compete with loved ones or personal trainers… and will also receive notifications on the progress made by others.
The third big pillar on which watchOS 3 will stand is communications. A new SOS feature will let those in distress get in touch with emergency services in their location – as a long press of the side button on the watch will trigger a call via the paired iPhone or directly through the Watch if it’s connected to Wi-Fi. Emergency contacts will also get notified, complete with the user’s location. Stickers, handwriting input, full-screen effects and invisible ink are the new communication tools that will be made available in the update, enabling wearers of the Watch to respond to messages in a more expressive, easier and fun manner. Thanks to the new scribble feature, users would be able to draw characters on the screen, and this will be converted into text… all ready to send. This feature will initially work in English and Chinese, and support for more languages would be added later.
If you tote an Apple Watch, or are planning to get one soon, watchOS 3 will land on your wrist sometime this fall. There’s more lined up in our coverage of Apple WWDC, watch this space (pun unintended).