Without a doubt, one of the novelties I was most looking forward to in yesterday’s keynote was the presentation of watchOS 2 . This new version of the Apple Watch operating system will be available in the autumn and incorporates new features for both the user and the developer.
Some of them should have come in the first version of watchOS and others come in half gas. But there are also some very interesting ones that will give a lot of play to the developers . So let’s take a look at the most important improvements of this operating system.
The 6 watchOS 2 user news
Kevin Lynch dedicated the first minutes of his speech to the new spheres of the Apple Watch . Specifically, it is about these three:
- Photo: we can choose one of our photos, move it and enlarge it until it looks like we want it.
- Album: we will choose a photo album that will change every time we look at the time in the Apple Watch.
- Time-lapse: shows a time-lapse video from 5 different locations (London, Hong Kong, Lake Mack, New York and Shanghai). As a curious detail, it adjusts to the time of day in which we are, so if it is at night the sphere will show us that location also at night.
The spheres do not allow any further customization , limiting the information they display to the time of day, date and day of the week.
I sincerely hoped for the opening of the spheres to developers. Something that would allow others to try their luck with their own ideas and go beyond those proposed by Apple. Although the Apple Watch comes with 10 as standard, they are not even close to being enough. More customization is needed on “Apple’s most personal device”.
However, there is one section that they have taken care of. Complications” (a term used in watchmaking to refer to any sample of information other than the time) are open to third-party developers . During the keynote we saw Volkswagen’s and other home automation systems at work. You don’t know what they are and how useful they are until you try them out on an Apple Watch, so it’s great news.
Another interesting aspect is that some spheres like the Modular are able to show elements located in the future . Time travel is the name of this feature, which will show us the weather forecast, time and calendar of events as we move forward with the digital crown. Kevin Lynch joked that they were still working on adding Stock Exchange to the list of features in Time travel .
Finally, we have another new interface for when the clock is charging. When we leave the Apple Watch on the bedside table, we will see how it shows us a horizontal interface. If we set an alarm, we can use both buttons (digital crown, favorite contacts) to turn it off or delay it for a few minutes.
New forms of communication
We are still in the first months of availability of the Apple Watch and at Apple already they are thinking that we have mountains of friends to communicate with . That can be concluded from the fact that we can now have several favorite contact lists in the Apple Watch, from which we can also add new friends.
Digital touch also gets its little upgrade, allowing for multiple colors when drawing on the Apple Watch.
Something that is strange that would not have come in watchOS 1.0 was the calls of FaceTime audio . With version 2.0 we can make and receive these calls.
Another point that was incomprehensible that was not in the current version was the possibility of responding to emails from the Apple Watch itself using Siri.
Activity and training
There are only two new elements here. The first is the integration of activity recorded by third-party apps into the Apple Watch’s physical activity “meter” . This means that if we use a third party app to record our exercise, once it has been completed it will be counted in the activity summary of the Apple Watch.
The second is more elaborate medals when we break a personal record or achieve an achievement. I recognize that when I have won one of them, I have tried several times to turn them around to see them more closely. Now we will be able to share them on Twitter and Facebook, so we can increase our competitiveness with our friends.
A brief mention of Apple Pay was enough to announce the new support for both loyalty cards and those issued by the shops themselves.
Maps and traffic
We had been waiting for years to be able to use iOS Maps with public transportation and without third-party apps. They have finally come to iOS 9 and by extension we have them on the Apple Watch. In my experience, is a very useful and comfortable app on this device. A big plus.
Yesterday we saw Siri gaining in speed and accuracy in listening to and understanding our requests in iOS 9. On the Apple Watch, Siri was already quite fast and much more accurate than on the iPhone so Apple has decided to give her more features in watchOS 2.
Siri is able to show you views, even the ones you don’t have installed on your watch. You can also start your workouts, look up words in the dictionary or do simple calculations.
Bonus: increases security in the Apple Watch
watchOS 2 incorporates the functionality of locking the clock to a given iCloud account. Another one of those things without which the Apple Watch should not have been launched , since we already know that it is possible to synchronize a lost or stolen Watch with another iPhone without too many problems. Together with the 6-digit iOS unlock codes, the security of Apple devices is further solidified.
What’s new in watchOS 2 for developers
It’s up to the developers and the magic they can do with the new possibilities of watchOS 2. As expected, Apple has announced native apps for the Apple Watch with this new update. An interesting detail but with great potential is that the apps will be able to communicate from iPhone to Watch also by Wifi, thinking about those moments when they are separated.
But there is also a list of features that are very much desired by the developers and that you can see in the image above:
- Use the Apple Watch microphone and audio.
- Access to the accelerometers.
- Opening of the tactical engine and the digital crown.
- To be able to use the contacts and connectivity.
Todo sobre la Keynote de la WWDC 2015.
Access to HealthKit and HomeKit
Of course, Siri is still exclusive to Apple and we will have to keep waiting for them to allow their use by developers. After almost four years, one would think that more than enough time has passed to prepare something that will allow other apps to make use of this wizard. The Apple Watch is Siri’s natural place and the possibilities it has in third-party apps is enormous. A pity it is still restricted.