watchOS 2 coming in Spring

Macworld Australia Staff
9 June, 2015
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As expected, Apple previewed watchOS 2 during WWDC 2015.

Developers will be able to programmatically access the Digital Crown, Taptic Engine and heart rate sensor, along with software APIs to build new apps. The updated watchOS 2 also includes new watch faces, third-party app information as watch face complications and new communication capabilities in Mail, Friends and Digital Touch.

These new tools allow developers to make apps more robust. For example, Strava can more accurately track your heart rate while on a ride or run using data from the heart rate sensor and accelerometer. Insteon can give customers more precise controls to dim their lights or control the temperature with the Digital Crown and Volkswagen owners can get haptic feedback when their car door has been locked;

watchOS 2 lets you turn your favourite photo into a new watch face or view pictures from your favourite photo album with every raise of your wrist with the new Photo and Photo Album watch faces. With the Time-Lapse watch face, choose from a selection of time-lapse videos shot over 24 hours in iconic locations including New York City, London or Shanghai.

A new Time Travel feature lets users scroll with the Digital Crown to explore events in the future (and past), including upcoming meetings or activities, the temperature for the week, and information from third-party apps, such as upcoming flight information.

The latest Apple Watch software provides new ways to communicate. With Mail, you can use dictation, Smart Replies or emoji. You can create multiple Friends screens, each of which can hold up to 12 friends, and new friends can be added directly on Apple Watch. Digital Touch lets you draw and send sketches with multiple colours on the same canvas, giving you more tools for creative sketches.

There’s also a new Nightstand Mode that transforms Apple Watch into a bedside alarm clock, with the Digital Crown and side button serving as snooze and off buttons for the alarm.

Workouts from third-party fitness apps can contribute to your all-day Move and Exercise goals and you can use Siri to start specific workouts.

Thankfully, Activation Lock, which lets users secure their Apple Watch with their Apple ID, preventing another user from wiping or activating the device if it is lost or stolen, has been added.

watchOS 2 will be available during the Australian spring as a free update to Apple Watch. Apple Watch requires iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 8.2 or later. The iOS 9 SDK beta including WatchKit for watchOS 2 is available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com/watchkit.

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