It been about 14-months since Apple released the Apple Watch and this past week Apple announced some very interesting features at WWDC about the upcomg watchOS 3 (the operating system on the Apple Watch) being released this Fall as a free update to all existing Apple Watches:
- Faster launching apps: Apple has tweaked the operating system on the Apple Watch to significantly increase the load time for applications on the watch. They are claiming a 7 times increase in speed. They are doing this by not being so restrictive on processor speed due to battery concerns, so they are using more of the processor. They are also using memory on the watch to keeps apps active in memory. So far people running the Watch OS 3 Beta are saying that Apple is delivering and the apps are now loading fast. This is my #1 complaint about the current Apple Watch experience so this is HUGE!
- Apple has changed the functionality of the side button (you know, the one nobody used). It used to get you access to your friends circle but now it brings up a dock, much like the dock of applications you see on a Mac. Also, if you press and hold this button for 3 seconds it activates an emergency mode which will message both the local emergency dispatch in your area and your emergency friend and family contacts (which you determine ahead of time). This feature can then be activated discretely and will tell everyone you need help and give them your current location.
- You will be able to share your workout stats with your friends just like you can with most fitness trackers
- The workout app will now track more things about your workout and it will display up to 5 of these parameters at once on the watch face during a workout
- You will now be able to use your Apple Watch to unlock/login to your Mac
- These are just a few of the many changes coming...
With all of these major changes coming the Apple Watch this fall with just a simple software update it makes me wonder if we will see any new Apple Watch hardware at all this year. If I were to guess I would say that Apple is going to release a bunch of new bands but hold off on new Apple Watch hardware until next Spring. The improvements they are bringing with software this Fall I think are enough to keep the watch fresh and interesting until next year. Personally I think Apple should hold off on new watch hardware until they can bring cell connectivity to the watch.