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Apple shows off watchOS 2 for Apple Watch

watchOS 2 Facetime Audio

Plenty of new updates to the Apple Watch operating system were shown off at WWDC 2015

Not to be left out amidst the OS X El Capitan and iOS 9 announcements, Apple has announced updates to its smallest operating system for Apple Watch. Even though the device has only been out six short weeks, there are plenty of updates and improvements coming. 

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The biggest update will be the introduction of native apps for watchOS for a much-improved user experience. This means developers can create apps that run directly on the Watch and also have access to functions such as the microphone and accelerometer. This is a vast improvement over the convoluted process where apps actually run on the iPhone.

watchOS 2 timelapse

There’s plenty of other improvements, such as new timepieces (because telling the time is pretty important on a watch). You’ll be able to use photo albums so that you’re served a different photo each time you look at the time. You can also set timelapse images that Apple has recorded in different locations. A function that Apple calls ‘Complications’ will bring more data to watch faces as well, so watch faces will be able to tell you the battery level of your electric car, for example. Then there is ‘Time Travel’, which unfortunately won’t let you zoom off into the future but will let you scroll through a schedule. So you’ll get a preview of the information watch face that has your schedule or boarding pass will deliver to you throughout the day.

watchOS 2 time travel

It will be easier to contact your friends direct from your Apple Watch with shortcuts. These will let you quickly call your favourite friends as well as send them messages or use digital touch. Speaking of which, digital touch will now let you use multiple colours. There have been improvements to Mail as well, with quick replying direct from your wrist. FaceTime calls can now also be made from your Apple Watch for better quality calls.

watchOS 2 health and fitness apps

The other major update is with Health and Fitness apps. Apps will run natively on the Watch and will integrate with Siri, which has become much smarter. You can now seamlessly start a workout through voice commands, such as “Start a 30 minute run in the park” or “300 calorie bike ride”. You’ll also get achievements for accomplishing milestones, which can then be shared as messages or on social media.

Transit in Apple Maps will also be available on watchOS 2 so commuting will be easier as well as the added information on station entrances and exits and the time it will take to actually get to your mode of transport. Finally, Siri will also connect with your HomeKit devices, so you can use commands such as “Siri, set the dinner scene”, which can then set the lighting and music automatically.

Developer Beta for watchOS 2 is starting today for developers to get to grips. The operating system itself will roll out to all Apple Watch devices in Autumn.

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