While the company’s new music streaming service will arguably be the most-discussed topic from WWDC (more on that here), Apple’s announcement of Watch OS 2 — briefly touched upon here in May — is my favorite take-away from the event.
As an owner of the Apple Watch, there are a few nuances to the product that have irritated me from the start: the need to have my iPhone nearby in order to do virtually anything outside of tell time; the limited number of watch faces and Complications; and, probably most frustrating, the loading lag time of non-Apple apps, like Transit and Weather.
Admittedly, the first software update for the Apple Watch did, in fact, help reduce some of the lag owners were experiencing with third-party apps. However, with Watch OS 2 being made available for developers in the coming months, apps will be given the ability to communicate with, and update through, known Wi-Fi hotspots — whether the phone is nearby or not.
In addition to wireless capability, Watch OS 2 will give devs the ability to create apps that show videos on the Apple Watch (Vine was the example shown during the WWDC keynote), new watch faces and Complications (the things you can select to show along with the time, which are currently limited to a select few apps), and an “alarm clock” feature which will show time and sleep/awake info when the Apple Watch is lying on its side & charging.
Apple is also giving developers access to sensors on the Watch, including the taptic engine and health tracking features.
It’s likely that Apple had these updates planned for its wearable since the original product announcement — early adopters have already purchased theirs (which, speaking as a member of this group, we would’ve done regardless), and we’ll probably see Apple Watch sales continue to slow down through the Summer. Watch OS 2 apps will arrive in the Fall; giving developers plenty of time to tinker around and give consumers new reasons to “need” the product come the Holiday shopping period.