At its yearly developer conference that kicked off on Monday, Apple announced iOS 10, renamed OS X to MacOS and showed off new features on TVOS. WatchOS 3 -- the next software update for Apple Watch -- got a lot of attention, too, and it looks to be a doozy.
It might even turn the Apple Watch into something you (and I) will want to use more of.
Below are eight features that make the Apple Watch a whole lot better:
No more staring blankly at your wrist
From day one, the Apple Watch has been plagued with slow loading times for apps. Currently, the process goes something like this:
- You raise your wrist and tap on an app icon.
- The circular, spinning dots start up.
- With your wrist still raised, you go walk the dog, take out the trash, take a nap and then the app finally loads.
With WatchOS 3, your most-used apps will load seven times faster according to Apple. The onstage demo of apps launching was impressive and if it works the same off the WWDC stage, faster app loading will make the watch a lot more usable.
Apple Watch gets an app dock
With apps now loading faster, it would make sense for you to have quicker access to those apps. For that, Apple included an app dock similar to the one found on MacOS or iOS. So, you can set certain apps to live in the dock and quickly open the dock by pressing the side button on your watch.
You can then scroll through previews of the app and tap on the respective card to launch the app. This is a far better use than using the side button as a shortcut for digital touch.
Compete with friends in fitness
Tracking your activity on the Apple Watch has been a very lonely experience, since you can't share or send your stats to friends or family members and encourage one another to try harder.
Taking a page from Fitbit's playbook, Apple is bringing friends to the Activity app. You can cheer on or trash talk those on your friends list, depending on their daily activity status (or lack there of).
There are times when you simply cannot dictate a message to your watch, so Apple has added the ability to write on the watch using you finger.
Apple is calling the feature Scribble. When it's activated, you write out your message, one letter at a time on the screen of your watch. The watch will identify your handwriting and translate it to text, ready to be sent in a message.
As promising as it sounds, I can't help but worry my horrible handwriting will be unreadable even to a computer.
More Apple Pay
When WatchOS 3 launches this fall, not only will you still have the option to use Apple Pay by tapping your wrist on a compatible payment terminal, but you can also complete purchases directly on your wrist through apps.
Instead of taking your phone out to complete a purchase on, say, Etsy, you can complete the payment directly on your wrist with a few taps on the screen.
Easier watch face changing, better complications
The process for switching between watch faces is now improved, requiring nothing more than a simple swipe to the right or left across your current watch face.
In addition to being able to quickly change faces, the Apple Watch app on your iPhone will now display which complications an app has. This will help with making a purchase decision by knowing exactly what an app is capable of doing on your wrist.
A new health app, called Breathe, will remind you to take a moment and breathe. Not that Apple thinks you are dumb enough not to know how to breathe, but the thinking here is that we should all take a few minutes every day to clear our mind, be more aware of our breathing in an attempt to relax and lessen stress levels.
Apple has long prided itself as a company that pushes accessibility features forward, making the company's various devices usable for all.
As detailed during Monday's keynote, Apple has developed a wheelchair mode for the Apple Watch. When activated, users will get credit for activity as he or she moves around in a wheelchair. And instead of getting an hourly alert to stand up, wheelchair users will be told "It's time to roll."
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