At today’s WWDC keynote, Apple unveiled to the world the next update to the Apple Watch, watchOS 3. This software upgrade includes some pretty cool new features, however the biggest improvement is what’s on the inside of the OS.
If you recall, the Watch isn’t that speedy. In fact, it could be considered a dinosaur by today’s standards. However, it’s understandable. It’s a first-gen product. We get that. But does it seriously have to be as slow as it is? Well, apparently Apple (finally!) heard us all complaining and decided to do something. So, with watchOS 3, the company is promising up to 7 times faster app launches and overall speed. They also joked that even though it’s technically that much speedier, it really “feels 1 billion times faster.” This will surely be welcomed by Watch owners and will no doubt breath new life into this hardware.
Another feature of watchOS 3 is a new Dock where all your recent and favorite apps can be accessed. You can check out the Dock by tapping the side button on your Watch.
There’s also a new Control Center in watchOS 3 which allows you to mute your Watch, toggle Wi-Fi on, and so forth. That requires a swipe up from the bottom of your Watch to access.
Of course, watchOS 3 brings new fitness features to your wrist, like the ability to share your excercise sessions with friends and family, receive stats on other’s fitness goals, and view your buddy’s workouts. There’s also some cool new features that’ll really get your attention, including a new meditation app alongside features for handicapped users…
Motivation through social engagement is an important factor in changing fitness and health behavior, and now with watchOS 3, it’s possible to share, compare and compete with friends, family or even a personal trainer. Users receive notifications about their friends’ progress, including completed Activity rings, finished workouts and earned achievements.
Activity sharing is now directly connected to the Messages app, so users can communicate, motivate and celebrate with friends and family with new Smart Replies specially customized for Activity and Workouts. In watchOS 3, the Activity app experience is now optimized for wheelchair users. Wheelchair pushes contribute to all-day calorie goals, the “time to stand” reminder is now “time to roll” and there are dedicated wheelchair-specific workouts.
The all-new Breathe app encourages users to take moments in their day to do short deep breathing sessions. The beautiful, calming visualization and haptic cues guide users through deep, full breaths in sessions lasting one to five minutes and on completion, they will receive a heart rate summary.
Besides all the fitness stuff, there’s some new ways of messaging one another with watchOS 3, like Scribble, Apple’s new handwriting-to-text converter for when your messaging someone or sending an email, stickers for when not even emojis will do the trick, full screen animations and invisible ink like in iOS 10, faster Smart Replies, and SOS. What’s SOS you ask? Well, basically, if you’re in an emergency, your Apple Watch will call 911 (or whatever the emergency phone number is where you’re located) and allow you to speak to a representative via the speaker and microphone, then will contact your emergency contacts like family members so they know something has happened. This feature will especially be good for older people in case of an accident.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a watchOS update without new watch faces, and watchOS 3 is no exception. New faces include Minnie Mouse, Activity, and a simple Numerals. What’s more, complications can now be added to the Photo, Motion, and Timelapese watch faces, while more apps like Workout, Music, and Messages can all be accessed even quicker via your watch face. There’s also a new Faces Gallery which can be viewed on the Watch app for iPhone, displaying all the different faces you can set on your Watch.
Developers can get their hands on watchOS 3 right now in beta at developer.apple.com. All Apple Watch users will receive the free upgrade this coming fall alongside iOS 10 and macOS Sierra.