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Apple wasted no time on Monday morning, when, at the Cupertino-company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2016 keynote, it jumped headlong into the introduction of its next evolution in smartwatch software — watchOS 3.
The dramatically improved software for Apple Watch, which, according to company executives, will boast a significantly improved app loading feature over the previous version of watchOS, will also feature a slew of additional enhancements in several key areas — from an assortment of new watch faces, a new social media-style activity sharing feature, and an all new app based on Apple’s HealthKit platform called ‘Breathe.’
First up, we were introduced to the hallmark feature of Apple’s forthcoming watchOS 3 — which the company is referring to as ‘Instant Launch.’ As Apple executives noted, Instant Launch will improve the time it takes for apps to load and display important information — such as sports scores in real-time, for instance — by up to 700%. Apps shown on stage loaded almost instantly — in the literal blink of an eye, as a matter of fact.
In addition to faster app loading, Apple also showed off a vastly overhauled watchOS user interface, which, in turn, will make it easier than ever before to access currently running apps, control settings, and more.
For instance, similar to the company’s iOS Devices, Apple’s new watchOS 3 will feature its own Control Center panel — accessible via a simple swipe up from the bottom of the Apple Watch’s display. Additionally, the Watch’s Digital Crown — which when pressed in watchOS 2 would bring up your Favorite contacts menu — will, in watchOS 3, launch an all-new dock of active apps, similar to the app switcher on iOS Devices.
Apple also introduced a slew of new Watch faces, which bring a much sought after ability to customize your Apple Watch’s standard clock face based on personal preference. A few examples, in particular, that were shown off at the WWDC keynote include a Disney-themed Minnie Mouse face, as well as an all-new activity tracker face that displays your ongoing, daily activity on Apple Watch’s display.
Citing that one of the most common uses for Apple Watch is to track activities (and the progress thereof), Apple also introduced a new social media-style activity app boasting a super cool progress-sharing feature — whereby users can share their inherent statistics, vital signs, and daily progress with other Apple Watch users.
Another great feature that was vastly enhanced is the activity tracking functionality for wheelchair users. Apple highlighted an all-new “time to roll” alerts function, which takes the place of the inherent “time to stand” feature. The Cupertino-company’s Watch will now be able to track physical pushes of a user’s wheelchair in a variety of ways, using Apple Watch’s in-built sensors, while displaying the activity via the wearable’s activity rings.
Last but not least, Apple took the wraps off of an all-new app called ‘Breathe’, which, powered by the company’s intuitive and rapidly expanding HealthKit platform, is meant to encourage relaxation by promoting healthy, stress-reducing breathing techniques. The Breathe app will even be able to provide users with haptic feedback guidance when their eyes are closed.
What do you think about these new features coming to watchOS 3 this fall?
Featured Photo Alexey Boldin / Shutterstock.com