Apple has designed the Apple Watch in such a way that it needs to be used in tandem with the iPhone. However, things seem to be changing as Apple has added a standalone update feature for the Apple Watch with the first beta of watchOS 6.
Apple Watch users can update the device by heading over to Settings>General>Software update. The update mechanism is similar to the one on the iPhone. It checks for update and if available, the update will directly be downloaded and installed on Apple Watch. The feature is baked into the second beta of watchOS 6 which seeded on Monday.
Sure seems like the stage is being set for direct-to-Apple Watch software updates in watchOS 6, though it hasn’t been fully freed quite yet from the need to approve things on the iPhone. pic.twitter.com/pf3wBC3vU5
— Jeremy Horwitz (@horwitz) June 17, 2019
Previously, the update process on Apple Watch required using the Apple Watch app on the iPhone. With the new watch OS 6 beta, you can directly update Apple Watch. That being said, you still need to approve the update on the iPhone, so the dependency is not completely eliminated. We hope that Apple will completely eliminate dependency on the iPhone in future updates.
Apple has been adding standalone features on the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch Series 3 debuted with cellular capabilities while the latest watchOS 6 comes with a dedicated app store for Apple Watch. It is worth noting that Apple Watch still needs an iPhone to pair and won’t work with Android. Perhaps this is a deliberate move by Apple so that Apple Watch users will remain latched to their ecosystem