Apple has released watchOS2, a week later than expected due to a significant bug that ran the Apple Watch battery down prematurely.
To install the software update, launch the Watch app on your iPhone, tap on General and choose Software Update. For us, the connection didn’t work until we restarted our iPhone for some reason. But after a few minutes, the update was found and downloaded.
In order to carry out the upgrade your Apple Watch will need to be connected to its charger and have at least 50% charge.
What do we get?
watchOS 2 offers a number of significant features. As well a bunch of new watch faces, it’s now possible for developers to create apps that actually run on the Apple Watch rather than simply using the watch as a display and notification terminal.
The Digital Crown can also be used to look back and forth through you calendar, the weather or other apps that have a temporal aspect. Apple calls this feature Time Travel.
With the new OS we can expect to see developers create lots of new ways to use the Apple Watch. We’d expect airlines to get on board (Get it? On board – send the pun police) with flight information and there’s a nifty “nightstand mode” so the Apple Watch can display data in landscape mode when it’s sitting on your bedside table.
Developers will also be able to create native Apple Watch apps that can access the various gyroscopes and accelerometers in the device to create interesting new software. For example, the Ping app can monitor your golf swing.
One of the early criticisms on the Apple Watch was around security. Apple has enabled Activation Lock in watchOS 2 so your Apple ID can be used to look the device so your data remains secure if your Apple Watch is lost or stolen.
But there’s more
Siri, Maps, Music, Friends, Wallet and a bunch of other native apps get a watchOS 2 once-over by Apple. You’ll be able to use Siri to do more such as “start a 30 minute workout” or work more closely with HomeKit-enabled gear. All that means less time tapping the wrong icons on the Apple Watch application launcher. This is a good thing for us as many of the Apple Watch icons are small and too similar in appearance for anyone whose eyesight isn;t extremely good.
Should you upgrade
We realise this might be a dumb question as, if you’re like us, you upgrade now and ask questions later.
However, we always suggest checking that any critical apps you use are ready for the new OS. While being able to remotely activate a light bulb might not be a showstopper, accessing your health information from a specific device might be a big deal. If that’s the case, we suggest waiting a day or two and checking with your app’s developer.