Time for some much needed change: Apple WatchOS 2

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In this blog, we take a look at the Worldwide Developers Conference from Apple which is an annual event for developers to get a sneak peak at whats next for Apple in terms of software and support.

image credit: www.apple.com

It’s time to begin. And we start with watchOS (cause, you know, its “time” to begin. That’s a pun. You’re welcome.)

It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that the Apple Watch hasn’t quite lived up to what Apple touted it out to be. It could do with some significant hardware and software improvements, and it turns out that, at least on the software side, Apple has heard our pleas. Well, kind of.

image credit: tech n buzz

Starting with background refresh of app data and faster boot times for watchOS apps, Apple is striving to bring the fluid experience they are known for to the Apple Watch. watchOS now gets a control center with a swipe from the bottom in addition to the notifications tray at the top to streamline the experience and make it more familiar, at least for those who use iPhones. The button below the crown finally has a purpose (no, being dedicated for “DIGITAL TOUCH”, that no one uses, is not considered a purpose and nor is being a shortcut to your Favourite Contacts) and contains a docking station for apps that you most frequently use or the ones you used most recently. These apps are capable of background refresh and are a practical replacement to what was previously called “glances”. You’ve got better quick responses if you want to respond to text right from the watch and even an option to write out the message if you can’t dictate it used something Apple calls “Scribble”. Host of new watch faces too, including interactive faces with your activity feed right on the watch face.

image credit: alphr.com

The Activity Tracker has also evolved and can recognise activities on wheel chairs as well. You can also share your fitness details with fellow Apple Watch users (read as that ONE friend you have who owns an Apple Watch AND is interested in running), and these details include steps taken, calories burnt and (for some unfathomable reason) even your heartbeat. Press and hold the button on the Apple Watch and it sends out an SOS message, calling the emergency help line, sending out your location to the helpline and family members along with your medical details just in case you should need it. Will these services be available in India remains to be seen.

The public beta will be out in July and the full release will be later this fall.

On the face of it, these are all steps in the right direction from Apple. They greatly improve the functionality and the experience for the users and makes the Apple Watch a more viable option for a buyer than ever before. But I have my own concerns with this release.

image credit: arstechnica.net

Firstly, I can’t help but feel that this release was how watchOS should’ve been right from the start. At least watchOS 2 should’ve adopted these changes especially faster boot times, background app refresh and ability to dock applications. And, not to be an Android Wear fanboy here, but most of these changes have already been part of the Android Wear experience for a few months now. They’re both great devices, but the distinguishing factors are fast fading away.

But more importantly, these updates do not deal with the most fundamental problem the Smartwatch faces – a lack of definite purpose. It’s hard to find that one compelling function that Smartwatches can perform better than every other device on the planet. This will require providing a lot more independence to the Smartwatch and it is the one thing I believe Apple missed out on this time around.

image credit: inverse.com

Lastly, and right up there on my “Why-would-I-need-this” list (it’s just my list), is an update to the Apple Watch that reminds you to breathe. Alright, it’s not that naive. It reminds and guides you through breathing exercises on a timely basis to help you focus or calm down.

You know, just in case you suddenly realise how much money you’ve actually spent on all your Apple devices. Or have the sudden urge to buy more.

(I’m kidding. Relax. Breathe.)

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