At the opening keynote of WWDC 2016, Apple unveiled watch OS 3. The next version of watchOS focuses heavily on improving the performance of the OS and the applications. Some of the techniques used by Apple to improve performance include keeping most frequently used apps in the memory, allowing applications to refresh in the background, and more.
From the demo showed by Apple at the keynote, the performance improvements can lead to apps opening up to seven times faster.
To quickly open your favorite apps, Apple has introduced a ‘dock’ that can be accessed by quickly pressing the button located below the digital crown. Users can put their own set of favorite applications into the dock. These applications will also refresh in the background and you will not have to open them to refresh their data.
Taking a cue out of iOS, Apple has added Control Center to watchOS 3 that you can access by simply sliding up from the bottom of the screen. Control Center will provide you with quick access to some of the frequently used toggles and settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Night Shift.
Apple has also made it easier to reply to messages on watchOS 3. This includes a new feature called ‘Scribble’ that allows you to quickly scribble on the screen of the Apple Watch, with the OS automatically translating your scribble into the appropriate words.
New Watch Faces
Apple is also adding a new Mini Mouse watch face to watchOS 3. There are a few other new watch faces as well, including a new Activity Ring based watchface. Apple is also making switching between watch faces easier with an edge-to-edge swipe. It is also adding the option to add more complications to watch faces.
Redesigned system apps
Apple has redesigned some of the system apps to better take advantage of the smaller screen of the Apple Watch. This includes apps like Reminders. Apple is also bringing its Find My Friends app to Apple Watch with watchOS 3.
With watchOS 3, Apple is adding the option to share your activity workout details with your friends and families. This will allow you to have a look at the activity levels of your friends and families to motivate yourself. You can even even share some pre-defined messages to your friends, or send them your heart rate, or just send them a voice note with some trash talk.
Accessibility improvements for wheelchair users
Apple is also improving the motion tracking capabilities of the Apple Watch for wheelchair users. For wheelchair users, Apple Watch will remind them to roll, instead of stand up. Similarly, the Activity Ring has been optimised to better track and display wheelchair users rolling around.
Breathe is a new app in watchOS 3 that reminds one to take long, deep breaths periodically. This will help you cope up with day-to-day stress better and will improve your overall quality of life.
watchOS 3 is adding many new APIs for developers to take advantage of. This includes adding Apple Pay support in Apple Watch apps, Game Center support, the ability for fitness apps to run in the background today, and more.
The tirst developer preview of watchOS 3 will be available from later today, with the final release of the OS scheduled for this fall.