watchOS 2 release date and more
Update: The next big Apple event is slated for September 9 and we’re hoping to hear even more about watchOS 2.
Unfortunately yelling at Siri won’t yield any answers but with the Apple Watch update coming out soon, there should be some information on the new operating system. We hope.
While there are some great improvements coming to the Watch, there’s a few more features we’re hoping will show up in watchOS 3 – or see announced for this update.
Original article below …
Thanks to the new beta release for developers, we now know that a new Time Lapse face has been added, Music on the Watch will look different along with other goodies.
We last heard that devs now have access to the smartwatch’s sensors and controls like the Taptic Engine, Digital Crown and more, meaning we will get native apps opposed to ones that are simply ported over. Native apps allow faster run time and greater app capabilities.
The wrist gadget will also see a ton of refreshed features to enrich your experience – Siri is smarter, public transit will show up in Maps and new watch faces are just a few of the enhancements Apple VP Kevin Lynch discussed.
Here’s the rest of what to expect when watchOS 2 launches.
Apple Watch OS 2 release date
The update is heading to wrists in the fall. An official date hasn’t been specified but it seems to fall in line with the launch of iOS 9.
Just like past major Apple OS updates, the Apple Watch’s software upgrade will be free.
Sensors and controls
The Digital Crown will provide functionality beyond zooming in and out. Rotating the crown will let you ‘Time Travel’ showing various events up to 72 hours into the future or past events, right on the watch face. Weather and news headlines are also other complications that Time Travel will work with. Insteon is another example of controlling house lights with a simple turn of the crown.
The microphone will be accessible which should makes the Voice Memo app pretty useful on the wrist. This should mean developers will also be able to use the microphone in their builds.
Developers will now have access to the accelerometer so you can expect future apps to utilise this feature. Apple demoed golf app Ping that measured a person’s swing.
Different vibrational feedback and sounds for various apps should arrive with the Taptic Engine being open to devs.
Watch display settings
Previously capped at 15 seconds, the Apple Watch will be able to stay on for a whopping 70 seconds after the update hits.
Yes, this sounds exactly like what you think. The Apple Watch will be able to connect to open Wi-Fi networks without needing to connect to your iPhone first. You’ll be able to leave your phone in another room and your wrist will be a perfectly suitable alternative. Android Wear‘s latest update already supports this feature, so it’s nice to see the iOS device receiving it as well.
There are already 10 customizable Apple Watch faces and as we expected, there are more on the way.
Recently, we discovered Modular will look nicer with new customizations available for the information labels.
Time Lapse – Hong Kong, London, Mack Lake, New York and Shanghai are the five cities Apple shot time-lapse videos over 24 hours to create the new faces. Paris was just recently added to the mix. Will we see other metropolitans on our wrist?
Photo – Just like iPhone backgrounds, your collection of pictures are now fodder for your smartwatch faces.
Photo Album – This option will show a rotating gallery of images from any photo album every time you raise your wrist, just like the Motion watch face.
Apple Watch Music
The interface for the Music app should look a bit different after the update as it will be redesigned with new features included. Quick Play has been added to let you shuffle music easier while there will be a volume level indicator displayed. The source of the audio file will also show up.
New ‘complications’ or information in the various watch faces will be able to display third party apps. Flight times, home controlled systems with Homekit devices can be accessed from your wrist, your electric car charge information and more should show up as options when OS 2 is released. The complications can be changed on the Modular face along with the majority of the other faces.
Nightstand mode will flip your Apple Watch face to show horizontally while it’s charging. The Digital Crown becomes a snooze button and the side button turns off alarms. If you’re not a fan of lights, the display screen won’t show unless you touch it or one of the buttons.
One option that has been sorely missing will finally make it onto the Apple Watch: email replies. Just like text messages, you’ll be able to reply directly from your wrist with voice dictation, emojis and smart responses. However there’s no details on whether editing messages will be allowed, or how long your replies can be.
watchOS 2 videos, Siri and more
Tiny videos and itty bitty FaceTime will also make it onto watchOS 2 but only short form videos like Vines can be watched. Apple promises the quality of the videos will look great despite the small size because of the watch’s OLED that sits behind the Ion-X and sapphire glass screens. It should be interesting what other kinds of videos make it onto the smartwatch since Vines generally aren’t the best quality to begin with.
Fitness, Siri and Maps
Workouts will be more useful with the OS 2 update. HealthKit will be available with more metrics shown on the watch and a real-time heart rate monitor that will be able to stream from your wrist.
Saying the "Hey Siri" prompts a workout, and can be as specific as "Hey Siri, start a 30 minute run" or "Hey Siri start a 300 calorie walk" all without needing to open the app.
Speaking of Siri, the little AI assistant will be able to provide Glances by saying "Hey Siri, show me the Instagram glance." Siri will also be able to control HomeKit devices and give you transit directions.
Apple Maps’ new transit directions will show up on your wrist with train, bus and subway schedules. However like Google Maps’ updated service, only select cities around the world will provide the information. Though previously available with Apple Maps, walking directions to and from transit stops will be part of watchOS 2.
Wallet and Apple Pay
Wallet, or the freshly re-dubbed Passbook, will also be updated in the fall. All the new options you can use in iOS 9 with Wallet will be available on the wrist as well.
For those who enjoy the convenience of using Apple Pay on the smartwatch, OS 2 will allow more credit cards and reward cards stored on the device for better access.
Friends and Digital Touch
For the popular folks who have more than 12 friends, you’ll be able to add more people to your Apple inner circle right from the watch instead of adding from the app. They can even be categorized into different sets that show up on different screens for better organization.
Your tiny sketching experience will also be improved. Digital Touch will let you use more than one colour so people can be more creative.
One thing Apple didn’t discuss during WWDC is the Apple Watch’s new security feature, Activation Lock. It’s found on iPhones and turning it on will require iCloud Apple ID and password.