Watch OS 2 Gets Major Software Update
Good news for Apple Watch owners and fan-base (you’ll probably want to buy an Apple Watch now even more than before) since the Cupertino based company revealed its first major software update for the Watch OS 2.
The new features of the updated Watch OS 2 were presented a couple of weeks ago and today, you can go and download it via IOS 9’s dedicated application for the Apple Watch.
Keep in mind that this is a major update, which includes loads of cool stuff, like Wi-Fi support for helping you running the apps for the Apple Watch more easily, new and awesome watch faces, overall better performance, improved 3rd party apps (now they run faster), not to mention that you’ll be able to issue voice commands and make calls without requiring an iPhone at your disposal.
Now, let’s take a look at the most important new features available in the Watch OS 2, as they’ll definitely change the way you’ll use and interact with your precious.
Watch Faces Revamped in Watch OS 2
The most obvious new feature is aimed at improving the user’s experience with the Apple Watch, and I’m talking here about the brand-new watch faces available in the Watch OS 2. Now you can customize your Apple Watch appearance even more than before and make it really yours, as the watch faces get a major revamp.
You can also go search for your favorite photo from the Camera Roll in your iPhone and use it as a watch face, just like those background photos on your MacBook. But wait, it gets even better: you can pick a bunch of images from a specially designed photo album as watch faces, so every time you raise your wrist to see the time, the watch face photo changes accordingly. Pretty cool, don’t you think?
Another improvement is represented by the new Time Lapse watch face, which is basically what it says: it shows beautiful time-lapses on your Apple Watch screen, shot over twenty four hours in big cities, such as London, Paris or New York.
One of my favorite upgrades in the Watch OS 2 is the way it now brings useful info from 3rd party apps as complications, directly on the Apple Watch’s face via the ClockKit.
Native Apps Are Now Available via Watch OS 2
This new feature in the Watch OS 2 made a lot of developers very happy, as native apps are now coming in a big way to the Apple Watch. Before the update, native apps were incapable of accessing the Apple Watch hardware, such as its speaker, microphone, heart rate sensor, accelerometer, the Digital Crown or the Taptic Sensor.
Now, it’s basically open season for 3rd party apps running amok using the aforementioned sensors. Which means 3rd party apps will become more powerful and useful for Apple Watch users, and also, more importantly, you don’t have to own an iPhone to get yourself an Apple Watch and use it at its full potential.
With the Watch OS 2, the Apple Watch can run apps standalone, on its own hardware, and then sync when it’s connected to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Apple announced new apps hitting the store soon, and the most important are the Facebook Messenger (a no brainer, which explains why the Apple Watch wasn’t as successful as it should have been), iTranslate (you speak into the microphone on your smartwatch and get a live translation in over ninety languages), the GoPro app and soon many, many more.
This is a well-known feature to Pebble owners and now it comes home to roost in the new Watch OS 2. Apple Watch users will now benefit from a new way of interacting/viewing with the weather updates, calendar events and various information from 3rd party applications, very similar with the Pebble Timeline thingy. The feature lets you travel back or forward in time (not literally) using the Digital Crown, so you can check out the weather for tomorrow, or, why not, yesterday’s news and what not.
Even if it may sound to you as a minor feature, the Nightstand Mode in the Watch OS 2 is pretty cool in my book, as it makes your life with the Apple Watch way more satisfying. What it does is to show a landscape mode on the watch face when it’s charging (while laid down); during charging, the Digital Crown performs the function of a snooze button for the alarm while the side hardware button acts as a silencer.
Relatively minor features in the new Watch OS 2
Chatting, replying to emails and adding contacts (from the watch itself) while on the go is smoother now. You can chat or reply to emails with canned responses or voice dictation via Siri.
Apple Maps are improved for some global cities (not everywhere unfortunately), as they’re now getting Transit, i.e. you’ll benefit from useful info like public transport directions/routes for major cities in the US, Canada and EU (Berlin, London, Toronto, San Francisco, New York) and 300+ cities in China (Beijing, Shanghai etc).