First look: watchOS 2

First look: watchOS 2
Photo: APPLE

The Apple Watch has been on sale for less than two months and will not be in Singapore until June 26, but the next generation watchOS is already in the works. Here are some features we think it should have had when it was launched.

New watch faces

As pretty as the Apple Watch faces are, you cannot put a photo of your significant other or your child on the watch face, which you can on an Android Wear device. With watchOS 2, you can finally do so.

In fact, you can even put a photo album on the watch face. So, every time you lift your wrist to check the time, a different picture will show up. Apple is also introducing time-lapse watch faces that let you see different locations photographed over a day in real time.

On the downside, there is still no support for third-party watch faces.

Native Watch apps

Currently, only Apple has built-in watch apps for Apple Watch. Other apps have to work through your iPhone causing performance issues.

This will be remedied when watchOS 2 allows third-party native apps to use Apple Watch's hardware features, such as the Digital Crown, heart-rate sensor, accelerometer and microphone.

For example, a fitness app can make full use of the heart-rate sensor, accelerometer and microphone to provide you with audio feedback and graphic displays of your fitness statistics without your needing to check your iPhone.

Nightstand mode

If you are the kiasu type, you would probably want to charge your Apple Watch every day, although the battery can last about two days, from my own experience.

With watchOS 2, the Apple Watch becomes an alarm clock when you put it to charge on its side with the Digital Crown upwards. The Digital Crown then becomes the snooze button, while the Side Button is used to turn off the alarm.

Complications

While developers still cannot create full third-party watch faces for watchOS 2, they can, however, create third-party widgets that users can add to Apple Watch faces through the Complications feature.

Such widgets or glanceable information as flight details, match scores of your favourite football team or access to control of devices compatible with HomeKit can be added to the watch face.

Time Travel

No, you are not going to travel back to the future. Time Travel lets you scroll through your schedule by twiddling with the Digital Crown.

As you do so, other widgets, including third-party ones on the Complications feature, will show information relevant to the time scrolled.

For example, if you scroll to the time of an upcoming flight, it will show the weather prediction at that time and maybe even departure gate information (if an app for that exists by then) on the watch face.

Communications

The existing Communications panel of the Apple Watch lets you add only a measly 12 friends for now.

The next-generation watchOS 2 will let you create multiple groups of 12. So you can organise them into family, colleagues, football teammates, lunch gang and mahjong group.

You can use multiple colours to doodle or draw, and send your artwork to your friends. In addition, you will be able to reply to e-mail messages directly from the smartwatch.


This article was first published on June 17, 2015.
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