Previous iterations of WatchOS have left Apple Watch owners feeling short-changed. With WatchOS 3, these same disappointed folks may finally see Apple deliver on some of the key functionality wearable owners expect.
Apple—uncharacteristically—demonstrated one of the primary benefits of WatchOS 3 on stage at WWDC on Monday by comparing load-times of third-party apps to those of Watches running WatchOS 2. With the newest OS storing key apps right on the device, loading occurs instantaneously—a welcome departure from the current state of affairs.
Given fitness tracking is a popular feature on the Apple Watch, the company is upgrading some of the core functionality of this tech. Beginning with WatchOS 3, Activity Rings will be sharable with friends (similar to how FitBit works now) for competition & motivation. More Workout details will be available at-a-glance, instead of having to scroll through while breaking a sweat. Workouts can also be labeled in WatchOS 3.
Apple is also including functionality for those in wheelchairs; replacing “Time to Stand” with “Time to Roll”, and adding two wheelchair-specific Workouts.
A potentially life-saving new feature of WatchOS 3 is the SOS button. Apple Watch owners will have the capability of pressing & holding the side button to contact the appropriate emergency services number based on their GPS location. SOS can also alert emergency contacts, and access your iOS Medical ID info.
Dock & Control Center
Apple is also abandoning the idea of “glances” for the Apple Watch, replacing it with the more familiar Dock in WatchOS 3. Along with the Dock, Watch users will gain access to a Control Center, similar to the one in iOS, which will feature most used settings.
Stress is damaging. To help ease your tension, Apple is introducing the Breathe app in WatchOS 3. As the name implies, Breathe is a meditation-focused health application designed to encourage daily calming sessions.
New iOS 10 Integrations
Some of the new functionality included in iOS 10—Messages upgrades and the Home app specifically—will find their way onto the Apple Watch in WatchOS 3 as well. Scratch-pad style writing of message responses (which, truthfully, we all thought would be part of 1.0) is included in this upgrade.
WatchOS 3 is expected to be available for Apple Watch owners this Fall.