Apple on Monday took the wraps off the new watchOS 6 platform for Apple Watch devices. The new version of watchOS isn’t a massive revamp and instead focusses on iterative improvements as the company attempts to make Apple Watch more of a standalone device, rather than a companion to iPhone. The watchOS 6 brings new watch faces, a host of enhancements in health-related features, an on-devices App Store, and more. Apple watchOS 6 will be available to developers today and reach the public this Fall.
Starting with the watch faces, the new version of watchOS will bring multitude of new watch faces to Apple Watch. Some of the new watch faces are Gradient, Digital, California Dial, and Solar. While a number of the new watch faces bring a new design, others include more detail than was previously available on watch faces.
Apple also revealed that watchOS 6 will add new apps to Apple Watch, like Calculator, Voicemail, and Audiobooks. The iPhone maker noted that apps will now be able to run independently on the Apple Watch and no longer need a companion app on the connected iPhone. The company hopes that will allow developers in bringing new experiences to Apple Watch. Apple also announced a new streaming audio API, which will allow developers to include streaming audio in their apps, whether it is podcasts or live sports commentaries.
Another major change in the upcoming watchOS 6 is the inclusion of on-device App Store. Yes, the new watchOS adds a native App Store to Apple Watch. The App Store will allow Apple Watch users to discover, pay for, and install apps right on their wrist. App Store will also provide curated collections for easier discovery for watch apps. Additionally, Apple Watch will now be able to download and install software updates, rather than relying on the iPhone.
Apple has long touted Apple Watch’s health and fitness features, so expectedly, it is focussing a lot on health-related features in watchOS 6. The company is expanding activity information with Activity Trends, which will use the information Apple Watch collects and put it in perspective. The Cupertino-based company is also bringing a new Noise app for watchOS 6, which hopes to help the Apple Watch users keep their hearing health good. It will measure the decibel level of environmental noise around you and let you know if things are becoming too loud and may impact your hearing health.
watchOS 6 also adds Cycle Tracking feature for women to help them keep track of their menstrual cycles. Additionally, Apple stated it is bringing new watch bands in summer colours and special pride edition watch bands for Apple Watch.
According to Apple, watchOS 6 will be compatible with Apple Watch Series 1 or later paired with iPhone 6s or later running iOS 13 or later.