Apple has just kicked off its WWDC 2016 event with the announcement of watchOS 3. As expected, the latest update is much faster than before, and brings several new tricks to the Apple Watch.
First up, to make things faster, watchOS 3 can now instantly launch apps with the new Instant Launch feature. Apple says that it is seven times faster than before, and it works for both built-in, as well as third-party apps.
But faster app launch means nothing if users can’t get to their apps quickly. In watchOS 3, Apple also introduced a new dock located in the button below the Watch Crown (previously used to pull up the Contacts menu) that makes it faster and easier for users to access their favourite apps.
The Cupertino company is also making it easier for you to quickly reply to your messages with a new reply option called “Scribble”. Just scribble and Apple will transcribe each character to text. It’s not the most practical way, but it’s definitely better than pre-set messages.
Activity tracking also received a pretty interesting update in watchOS 3. With the new fitness app, you can share your activity progress with your family and friends, and message each other either to encourage them, or challenge each other into becoming healthier.
Activity tracking on watchOS 3 has also been optimised for wheelchair users. With the help of specialists, Apple has been able to do a wide study on wheelchair users to provide a more accurate tracking of their movements. With wheelchair mode activated, the “time to move” notification will be replaced with “time to roll”. The watch can also track wheelchair pushes in different ways, and will display the progress in the activity rings.
On top of fitness tracking, Apple wants users to become healthier, which is why the Cupertino company also introduced a brand new app for watchOS 3. Called Breathe, it helps teach and encourage users to breath better to help them deal with everyday stress.
There are various breathing exercises on board, and users can learn to breathe either by looking at the “beautiful visuals” on the Watch, or close your eyes and be guided via haptic feedback on the wearable. Apple says that with proper breathing techniques, it can help improve health, reduce stress, and calm the body and mind.
Other notable updates include an updated Control Center, which can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the display, new watch faces including a Minnie mouse version and one that shows your activity progress, and a new safety feature that lets you call an emergency number by holding down the side button.
watchOS 3 is available today for developers, and will be released to the public “later in fall” (September to December 2016).
(Image credit: The Verge)