Apple Announces watchOS 2 With Native Apps, Third-Party Complications
Today at WWDC, Apple announced the second version of watchOS, the operating system that powers the Apple Watch. The new features include support for native apps, third-party complications, communication improvements, health and fitness improvements and more.
Timepiece improvements to watchOS 2 include a brand new watch face called Photos Face, which uses photos from a user’s albums or selected photos. There’s another new watch face called Time Lapse, which shows iconic locations all over the world shot over 24 hours when you look at your watch. watchOS 2 also gains a Nightstand mode while its charging, allowing users to treat the Apple Watch like an alarm clock.
Third-party Complications allow developers to build Complications for watch faces, allowing users to quickly get glance able looks at information like flight times, sports scores, the charge level of an electric car and more. Additionally, users can now spin the Digital Crown to access a new feature called Time Travel, which allows users to see future information like what the weather will be like later in the day.
Communication in watchOS 2 includes Digital Touch updates like multiple colors. Users can also finally reply to email on their watch in addition to reading it. Finally, the Apple Watch is gaining the ability to use FaceTime Audio for higher fidelity calls.
Health and fitness apps can now run natively on the Apple Watch, and workouts with these apps will contribute to the all-day activity monitoring of Apple Watch. Siri can also start workouts with commands like “Go for a 5-mile run” or “Go for a 300-calorie bike ride”.
Siri can also bring up glances for users now in watchOS 2, and can access Transit directions. Some of the new updates to iOS 9, which include Transit directions and store credit and debit cards in Apple Pay are reflected within watchOS 2 as well.
Finally, Apple announced that it’s opening up the SDK for Apple Watch. Developers can finally make native applications for Apple Watch, with the apps’ UI and logic running locally on the Apple Watch instead of the iPhone, like it did with watchOS 1. Developers can also access parts of the Watch they couldn’t before, like the microphone to play audio through the watch speaker and access to the Digital Crown for custom UI elements.
watchOS 2 will be available as a developer beta today, and will debut in the fall for all Apple Watch users for free.