APPLE HAS announced watchOS 3, the latest version of it watch-based operating system, which brings snappier responses from the apps, new watch faces and improved navigation features.
The updated OS now stores the wearer’s favourite apps in memory, which allows them to launch and respond instantly. Both native and third-party apps now launch apparently seven times faster than in watchOS 2, but in a demo they really did seem to launch in the blink of an eye.
The apps can also update in the background, meaning the rapid launching apps are also stuffed with the latest information.
To make navigating watchOS 3 slicker on such a small screen, Apple has added the ability to access a wearer’s favourite apps by tapping the side button below the Watch’s Digital Crown. Swiping up on the screen also brings up a control centre, much like a stripped down version of the control centre found iOS 9.
Messaging on the Apple Watch has also been improved, with wearers able to reply to messages on screen, with access to smart replies just below the message. For people wanting to respond with something a little more original, they can use the new Scribble feature, which effectively enables users to write out replies on their watch face by sketching out letters on top of each other on the screen, which Scribble figures out and puts into full words.
New watch faces have also been added, including a Minnie Mouse to go with the Mickey Mouse face, a elegant simple face dubbed Numerals and a watch face called Activity, which comes in three guises and as the name suggests shows activity data integrated into the watch face.
People can also rapidly switch between faces by simply swiping though them, pretty much making chopping and changing watch faces dead simple. There are also more customisation options to add data to the screen such as weather information.
Accident-prone Apple Watch wearers will be pleased to know Apple has added an SOS function which, through pressing and holding the side button, starts and emergency services call countdown over a cellular connection to the iPhone or over WiFi.
The Watch then sends a message, map location and the wearer’s medical ID to the emergency services. The really smart thing here is it works internationally as well as the US, recognising the right emergency services number to dial penitent to the country.
For fitness buffs, Apple has enhanced the Activity app on the Watch, allowing users to share activity data with their fellow workout pals and send both supportive and motivational messages to their fellow activity heads or smack talk them through voice messaging.
The Activity app has also been optimised for people in wheelchairs as well, offering them tracking and notifications suitable for their situations and exercise patterns. There is also a new health app called Breath, which provides wearers with a breathing exercise regime to help the reduce stress.
Finally, Apple has also released an load of new APIs for watchOS 3 which allows developers to create Watch apps that integrate Apple Pay into them, as well as gain access to native functions like the fitness and motion tracking data, gestures, speaker audio and the CloudKit and Game Centre.
A preview version of watchOS 3 is available today, with a full version being rolled out this Autumn. µ
We don't have enough faces or palms
You'll find it in the App Store under 'hipster'
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