Apple announces watchOS 2, new features such as video playback, more accessible development environment
Date: Monday, June 8th, 2015, 14:14
Category: Apple Watch, iOS, News, Software, Watch OS, Wearables, WWDC
Apple pulled the curtain back on watchOS 2, its upcoming operating system for the Apple Watch, on Monday. The new version, which will be available in the fall, is said to feature added support for native third-party apps, on-screen video playback, and a collection of many new features for both users and developers.
The upcoming operating system offers the following fixes and changes:
New Timepiece functions: Apple is adding Photo face, Photo Album face, and a Time-Lapse Face covering five different cities to the collection of Watch faces; Photo and Time-Lapse were slated to be part of watchOS 1.0, but didn’t make the cut. Additionally, Complications are being opened to developers; they’ll work on Modular face and others that support Complications currently. Twisting the Digital Crown, a new feature called Time Travel will let you see meetings and other events in the future all getting updated as the clock moves forward. Additionally, a new Nightstand mode will display the time and an alarm, when the Watch is laid on its side during charging on your nightstand.
Communication: You will now be able to add friends directly through the Friends secreen, and use multiple colors in Digital Touch drawings. Mail will let you reply to email, and Phone will let you receive FaceTime Audio calls with superior audio quality to regular phone calls.
Health/Fitness: Users’ favorite third-party fitness apps will run natively on the Watch, and contribute to your all-day activity. Siri will be able to start workouts.
Apple Pay: Store and rewards cards will be supported. Wallet will come to watch from iOS 9.
Maps: The Maps app will add mass transit capabilities, including step-by-step directions for mass transit.
Siri: Apple’s personal digital assistant will now be able to get you mass transit directions, control things in your home using HomeKit, and show you any of your Glances.
During the keynote, Apple stated that third-party apps will be able to run natively on the Apple Watch as well as communicate over known Wi-Fi networks. Apple is opening the microphone to developers and seems to be including a Voice Memo-style app for users. WatchOS 2 will be able to play audio through the device’s speaker as well as play video on its screen. The company is also opening HealthKit features, such as heart rate data, open to developers and HomeKit will allow the user to use the Apple Watch to control nearby devices. Developers will also be able to access accelerometer data, Taptic Engine data and feedback will be customizable and the Digital Crown will be accessible for UI interactions.
WatchOS 2 is expected to be released this fall.
In short, there’s some cool stuff en route and we’ll provide details as they become available.