Apple's watchOS 3 for Apple Watch focuses on speed, instant information

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited June 2016
User complaints about slowness on Apple Watch have not gone unheard, as Apple is planning major improvements to speed and responsiveness with watchOS 3, including background loading of data, a quick-access Control Center, and dynamic new uses for the side button.




In a demonstration at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, watchOS chief Kevin Lynch showed off the new features coming to Apple Watch later this year. The main focus is speed: favorite apps will be kept in memory, background updates will pre-cache data, and apps will launch instantly.

Lynch showed off a third-party app on watchOS 2, then demonstrated how it will launch about seven times faster with watchOS 3.




Apple has also updated how the side button works on the Apple Watch, with quick access to apps in a new dock. When scrolling through the dock, apps are presented live, so they can be previewed without actually being opened.

Apple is also making it easier to change settings and access quick links on the Apple Watch with a new Control Center, borrowing the swipe-up gesture already found on iOS.




watchOS 3 will also make it easier to respond to text messages directly from the Apple Watch, with a series of quick responses instantly available. A new feature called Scribble also allows users to draw the characters they want to send for a message, and a text can be composed from a user's wrist. Scribble works in both English and Chinese.

Apple is also planning to launch a series of new customizable watch faces in watchOS 3, including a fitness-focused one that presents activity rings in a large size, and a new Minnie Mouse option. watchOS 3 also makes it easier to switch between watch faces with a swipe.

For emergencies, Apple is also introducing a new feature called SOS, which can be invoked by pressing and holding the side button. Doing this can call 911 or emergency services over cellular or Wi-Fi. This will also notify emergency contacts with a map of the user's current location.




Activity rings are also set to become more social with watchOS 3, allowing users to see each others' step counts, calories burned, exercises and more, even from third-party apps. Data like racing heart rate or "smack talk" can be sent to Activity Friends in the new watchOS.

Activity tracking in watchOS 3 has also been updated to help users in wheelchairs in a more specialized manner. For example, the "Time to Stand" hourly alert on Apple Watch can be changed to "Time to Roll." Movement tracking for different types of wheelchair mobility has also been programmed into the operating system.

Apple is also working on a deep breathing and medication app called "Breathe" that will be baked into watchOS 3. It will track heart rate and present users with prompts to help them relax.

watchOS 3 is available to developers starting today. It will launch as a free update for all Apple Watch users this fall.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,618member
    sog35 said:
    looks great. Wish this was watchOS1 but better late than never.

    glad the side button will be of better use now
    So Apple should have delayed the introduction of the Watch for a another year?
    jbdragonwilliamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 23
    blitz1blitz1 Posts: 410member
    sog35 said:
    lkrupp said:
    So Apple should have delayed the introduction of the Watch for a another year?
    No. They should have released the Watch with a easy to use interface. The current use of the side button and slow apps really killed a ton of momentum.
    I thought the appleWatch was perfect
    :neutral: 
  • Reply 3 of 23
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,499member
    lkrupp said:
    sog35 said:
    looks great. Wish this was watchOS1 but better late than never.

    glad the side button will be of better use now
    So Apple should have delayed the introduction of the Watch for a another year?
    No, like many of the very wise basement dwellers on the Internet would say, Apple should have released this software and the AW itself two years ago.  Too late now.  Fail!!
    /s
    igorsky
  • Reply 4 of 23
    Speed!! finally.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    focherfocher Posts: 637member
    This new iPhone only has EDGE network support and no apps. Fail!

    The speed is the killer enhancement, for sure.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 6 of 23
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    yes! this will be awesome.

    to the trolls & haters who say "they should have done this from the start" -- go home. seriously. youll only comfortable at home w/ your parents, sheltered from the real world... cuz that isnt how things work in real life. ideas & products dont just spring forth fully-formed and perfect. things get better over time as people work with them and improve them. software is iterative development. Phone OS 1 didnt even have cut & paste -- should apple have delayed the iPhone until they had it? until they had native maps? until they had icloud? etc etc... no, no, and no. 

    so please, get real or go home.
    jbdragonchiawilliamlondonbadmonkigorskybrucemc
  • Reply 7 of 23
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,730member
    sog35 said:
    looks great. Wish this was watchOS1 but better late than never.

    glad the side button will be of better use now

    Everything in time. The original iPhone OS wasn't all that great either. It was SLOW, buggy, not many features, etc. As time went on look what it does today. Nothing is great out the door. 
    jbdragon
  • Reply 8 of 23
    I have the Apple Watch...mainly for running/heart rate monitor and I think it's great. My daughter has it working in a hospital and she loves it b/c she doesn't have to take the iPhone out of her pocket when she receives texts. The Apple Watch is not as earth shattering as the iPhone was, but I like it a lot. And it's only going to get better. :)

    Best

    jbdragonpatchythepirateslprescott
  • Reply 9 of 23
    rossb2rossb2 Posts: 39member
    Extra speed and use of the side button is welcome. Proximity unlock of Macs is very cool. I was hoping for some decent new faces, or even a watch face store, as I am becoming a bit bored with the existing faces 8 months in. Its a pity the best they could come up with was Minnie Mouse, to me thats just a novelty face, and I will never use it. I think lack of watch faces is a notable issue with the watch 
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 10 of 23
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 337member
    Never expected version 1 of anything to be perfect. Was generally pleasantly surprised with it though. Looking forward to OS3. Especially the ability to unlock my Macbook by proximity vs password. Faster apps and background updates are needed and appreciated.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    axcoatlaxcoatl Posts: 20member
    Just keep in mind: the first Android watches (LG G Watch, Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live) will not get the Android Wear 2.0 update, no new Android features at all, while Apple Watch receives watchOS 3 soon wit great improvement.

    Support makes the difference. 
    chia
  • Reply 12 of 23
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,369member
    macxpress said:
    sog35 said:
    looks great. Wish this was watchOS1 but better late than never.

    glad the side button will be of better use now

    Everything in time. The original iPhone OS wasn't all that great either. It was SLOW, buggy, not many features, etc. As time went on look what it does today. Nothing is great out the door. 

    The difference between the Watch and the original iPhone is that nothing like the original iPhone really existed. The standard was Blackberry, and customers embraced the new superior technology, buggy though it was. The Watch is a companion to the iPhone, and so much of its acceptance depends on whether it actually makes a persons life easier than pulling the iPhone out of their pocket. When the apps are slower than just pulling out your phone, that takes a lot of the usefulness out of it, especially considering the cost. And that's why at a minimum, Apple should have made great pains to get the responsiveness right from the start, particularly in relation to the iPhone, and the competition. There's studies on the internet that show customers will shop on a different website if it loads too slowly. The same is true for an iPhone accessory. I had assumed that the processor was the problem with the current watch, as did many others ... what's stunning from today's revelation is that it's not. It was the software all along.  But now they've fixed it, so great. But I do wonder how many potential customers were turned off by how slowly the watch ran, and passed on it. It's a legitimate question.

    rossb2 said:
    Extra speed and use of the side button is welcome. Proximity unlock of Macs is very cool. I was hoping for some decent new faces, or even a watch face store, as I am becoming a bit bored with the existing faces 8 months in. Its a pity the best they could come up with was Minnie Mouse, to me thats just a novelty face, and I will never use it. I think lack of watch faces is a notable issue with the watch 
    I do like the 911 button. And it has me re-thinking the watch for my Mom. However, I do wonder what happens when you can't push the button, because of a fall or unconsciousness. I see this more as a silent alarm in some respects, though when the 911 operator comes on, there goes the silence ... I also wonder how likely an accidental button press might be. I've certainly reached into a cabinet, or otherwise pressed up against something, and pressed buttons on my watches before. Hopefully the countdown is linger than most such accidental presses.

    I really hope Minnie Mouse was a tease of things to come. I doubt they'd release watch faces during WWDC anyway. There's going to be a whole store associated with it, and will really have the greatest impact during the Watch 2 keynote. Considering the rumors of how little may change, they sort of need all they can get to make the announcement special. I wonder if the new faces will be restricted to the Watch 2, requiring some kind of new watch face co-processor? Otherwise the incentive to upgrade will be minimal -- think about it: a simple software upgrade seems to have removed the speed issue many thought was processor related, so if it runs new watch faces, then what's left, assuming no new fresh design? A barometer? GPS (which not everyone needs)? A FaceTime camera (which not everyone wants)? 
  • Reply 13 of 23
    Is anyone wondering if apple watch 2 might be on the horizon with watchos3? I'm happy with my watch, looking forward to most all the updates. But yes I wear mine on my left wrist with the crown on the left because I feel I don't press it as much, I still take an accidental screenshot every once in a while. But for quick glances, appts, fitness tracking, I've been happy.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 953member
    Me too, I still take an accidental screenshot sometimes, but that's mostly because I wear mine tight. I hate loose wacth wearing. I am skeptical with the seven times faster, but even with twice faster I would be glad. Loading apps take a few seconds right now and it certainly not a good experience since we're so accustomed with everything load in half seconds these days.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    slprescottslprescott Posts: 750member
    Glad for speed, but will this drain the Watch battery faster?  For example, "backgroup apps will pre-cache data" will consume CPU.

    Not being negative here, just aiming to understand the trade-offs.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    maecvsmaecvs Posts: 129member
    I can see trouble ahead with the 911 auto call feature. Many times when I ride my bike the position of my wrist has triggered the crown and side button to be depressed the same time. I think we are about to have a new phrase enter our lexington. We will soon have "wrist-dialed" joining butt-dialed and pocked-dialed.....
  • Reply 17 of 23
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 380member
    maecvs said:
    I can see trouble ahead with the 911 auto call feature. Many times when I ride my bike the position of my wrist has triggered the crown and side button to be depressed the same time. I think we are about to have a new phrase enter our lexington. We will soon have "wrist-dialed" joining butt-dialed and pocked-dialed.....
    I'm sure it will happen, but not often. I've worn the watch since it came out, and can't think of a single time I've inadvertently brought up the 'power off' screen, which is where SOS will live. For SOS, a long press on that button will bring up that screen, followed by a countdown before it dials 911 (or 999 or whatever works where you are). Although they didn't mention it, I wouldn't be surprised if there was also haptic feedback buzzing on your wrist during the countdown, which would pretty much assure that accidental emergency calls rarely happen. With large numbers of the devices out there, the laws of probability would suggest it will happen, but I bet it will be less frequent than people who drunk dial 911 to ask for emergency deliveries of hot wings and cigarettes.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 380member
    sog35 said:
    yes! this will be awesome.

    to the trolls & haters who say "they should have done this from the start" -- go home. seriously. youll only comfortable at home w/ your parents, sheltered from the real world... cuz that isnt how things work in real life. ideas & products dont just spring forth fully-formed and perfect. things get better over time as people work with them and improve them. software is iterative development. Phone OS 1 didnt even have cut & paste -- should apple have delayed the iPhone until they had it? until they had native maps? until they had icloud? etc etc... no, no, and no. 

    so please, get real or go home.
    go home?

    I bought a Watch, love it but frustrated with how SLOW apps load. 
    Anyone who buys a 1st generation device running 1st generation software surely has to realize they're participating in an enhanced public beta test. When I bought the Apple Watch, I did so knowing it would be limited at first, but also looking forward to seeing how it would improve over time. I have found app loading to be too slow as well, but I'm encouraged by the idea that this will improve through software updates. Speed is actually one improvement I had kind of assumed would require new hardware.

    As for others' questions about how this will affect battery life, I imagine it will, to some extent. That's actually one reason this particular solution had to wait. With a lot of real-world data available to them now, Apple has a better idea of how much wiggle room is available with regard to battery life. I recharge my watch nightly, but there's almost always a significant amount of battery life left for me. Assuming I'm not unusual in this regard, Apple knows that if they chew up another 10% of the battery in order to deliver quicker loading of apps with background data already present, they're not likely to cause a huge uproar. On the initial release a year ago, slow app loading was a much smaller issue than assuring battery life would reliably last a full day for most users.

    If they had initially pushed for quicker apps, but missed the mark on battery life, lots of users would have reported their watches couldn't last past dinner time, and that news would have overshadowed everything else. That would have been much worse than the current circumstance, and the solution would have been to slow down the apps to improve battery life, which would also have been a PR disaster. It makes total sense to first assure that the thing has basic functionality in the real world, and then make improvements from there.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 19 of 23
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 422member
    sog35 said:
    lkrupp said:
    So Apple should have delayed the introduction of the Watch for a another year?
    No. They should have released the Watch with a easy to use interface
    The Watch is hardly perfect, but I don't really see why some of you think it's difficult to use. The toughest part of the OS to figure out were those digital drawings, but even that was sorted quickly.  It's not really difficult once you use wear it for a day or so.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 20 of 23
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,499member
    rossb2 said:
    Extra speed and use of the side button is welcome. Proximity unlock of Macs is very cool. I was hoping for some decent new faces, or even a watch face store, as I am becoming a bit bored with the existing faces 8 months in. Its a pity the best they could come up with was Minnie Mouse, to me thats just a novelty face, and I will never use it. I think lack of watch faces is a notable issue with the watch 
    I was hoping for more on the new watch faces (and customization) front as well, but I will wait for the details to trickle out (they mentioned new faces in passing, but not clear if only the activity rings was only new face).  Also, perhaps they are saving more for Watch 2 announcement - they only had a limited time at this keynote, and were focusing on only a few key areas, so perhaps didn't want to devote time (or attention) to additional watch faces.


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