Apple Watch Improvements Coming With Watch OS 2.0

Apple

During its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) Monday Apple announced the next version of the operating system running on the Apple Watch, Watch OS. With the new version of the operating system, we're going to see quite a few improvements to how the watch functions as well as what some third-party apps are able to do.

The biggest news for Watch OS is that the Apple Watch will now support native apps.

That means that developers can create apps that are going to live on the watch itself rather than your iPhone. That capability will allow them to run faster, and do a lot more than they’re currently able to. Namely, Apple is giving developers access to some of the Watch’s functionality, specifically the microphone, speaker, accelerometer, and digital crown. Third-party developers are also going to have the ability to playback video, and access information from contacts, HomeKit, HealthKit, and the watch’s Taptic Engine.

Here are a few of the other improvements coming:

Time Travel

Developers can now opt to add a “time travel” feature to their apps that allow you to scroll forwards or backward in time. With a calendar app, for instance, you could scroll back in time to look at previous meetings or scroll forward to see what you have on tap for the coming week.

New Watch Faces

Apple is bringing new watch faces to the device, including a face that displays images from your photo album as well as one that shows a 24-hour time-lapse of a location based on your current time.

So, for instance, the sun might be setting on the Eiffel Tower while the sun is also setting ​on your home in Georgia.

Nightstand Mode

With the new Watch OS Apple Watch will have a new “Nightstand Mode.” The mode activates when you're charging the watch and put it on its side, and displays the time, amount of charge, and when your alarm is set for on the screen.

It's a pretty simple new feature but is definitely one that will come in handy for those who charge the device bedside.

Multi-colored Drawings

Now when you draw on the Apple Watch you can use multiple colors rather than just one. For instance, you could start with red when drawing a heart and then switch to blue to draw an arrow piercing it.

Better Apple Pay

At the event, Apple announced that it’s rebranding Passbook as Wallet in iOS 9. On the Apple Watch, now Apple Pay will support some of the same things as iOS 9, including store and loyalty cards. Of course, you'll still be able to make purchases using your Apple Watch by tapping the watch on a supported register.

Public Transit

Another iOS 9 improvement coming to the Apple Watch as well ae public transportation directions. Now Maps on the Apple Watch will be able to give you train, bus, and subway direction in 20 major cities including San Francisco, New York, and Beijing.

Native Fitness App

The fitness app on the Apple Watch can now run natively. You can use Siri to start and stop your workout, and the app has new achievements that you can earn over time.

The new watchOS is available now for developers and will be coming to everyone this fall.

Before the newest version of the OS is released we're likely to see a ton of apps start to take advantage of the new functionality. It will be interesting to see what developers start doing with the new options and how they'll ultimately change how we all use the Apple Watch.