Apple Previews watchOS 3

Apple previewed watchOS 3, featuring significantly improved performance with the ability to launch favorite apps instantly, enhanced navigation like the new Dock and all-new fitness and health capabilities for Apple Watch®. Available this fall, this software update introduces the breakthrough Breathe app, designed to encourage users to take a moment in their day to do deep breathing exercises for relaxation and stress reduction. The Activity app now includes the ability to share, compare and compete as well as enabling wheelchair users to close their Activity rings.

“Apple Watch is the ultimate companion for a healthy life and with watchOS 3, there’s now even more to love. Favorite apps launch instantly and are simple to access, and the breakthrough new fitness and health features like the Breathe app make it feel like a whole new watch.

— Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer

Instant Performance & Simple Navigation It is easier and faster than ever to perform common tasks with watchOS 3, including replying to a message, starting a Workout or skipping a song. By pressing the side button, users can access the new Dock with their recent and favorite apps. Right from the Dock or the watch face, users can launch their favorite native and third-party apps instantly and have the latest information in the app already updated and ready for viewing. Similar to iOS, users can swipe up from the watch face for the new and improved Control Center, continue to swipe down for Notification Center and swipe left or right to easily switch out a watch face.

Fitness & Health Motivation through social engagement is an important factor in changing fitness and health behavior, and now with watchOS 3, it’s possible to share, compare and compete with friends, family or even a personal trainer. Users receive notifications about their friends’ progress, including completed Activity rings, finished workouts and earned achievements. Activity sharing is now directly connected to the Messages app, so users can communicate, motivate and celebrate with friends and family with new Smart Replies specially customized for Activity and Workouts. In watchOS 3, the Activity app experience is now optimized for wheelchair users. Wheelchair pushes contribute to all-day calorie goals, the “time to stand” reminder is now “time to roll” and there are dedicated wheelchair-specific workouts.

The all-new Breathe app encourages users to take moments in their day to do short deep breathing sessions. The beautiful, calming visualization and haptic cues guide users through deep, full breaths in sessions lasting one to five minutes and on completion, they will receive a heart rate summary.

All-New Communication

Receiving and quickly replying to messages is more powerful and expressive in watchOS 3 with stickers, handwriting, full-screen effects and invisible ink, which reveals the message only after a friend swipes over it. Smart Replies are even faster as they are now available right in the message notification. When a more custom reply is needed, the new scribble feature allows users to quickly write words on the display and Apple Watch will convert the handwriting to text.

SOS in watchOS 3 enables people in critical situations around the world to initiate a call with emergency services through their iPhone or while on Wi-Fi, and notify their emergency contact by simply pressing and holding the side button.

Watch Faces

Apple Watch is even more personal with new watch faces including Minnie Mouse, Activity and the simple and elegant Numerals. Even more apps can launch straight from the watch face including Workout, Music or Messages. Users can also now add complications to the Photo, Motion or Timelapse watch faces. It’s easier to customize watch faces and discover third-party apps with the new Faces Gallery in the Watch app on iPhone.

Availability watchOS 3 will be available this Sping as a free update to Apple Watch.

Apple Watch requires iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8.2 or later.

WatchKit for watchOS 3 is available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com.

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference Kicks Off June 13 in San Francisco

Apple today announced that it will hold its 27th annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), hosting the creative talent behind the world’s most innovative apps, from June 13 through 17 in San Francisco. At WWDC, Apple’s developer community comes together from all corners of the globe to learn about the future of Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS.

Monday’s kickoff events, including the keynote address, will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The rest of the week’s conference sessions will take place at Moscone West.

“With four innovative operating systems and a new, intuitive programming language powering over 1 billion devices worldwide, there has never been a more exciting time to bring our developer community together,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “WWDC 2016 is going to be a landmark event for developers who are coding in Swift, and building apps and products for iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS. We can’t wait for everyone to join us — in San Francisco or through the live stream.”

Developers can apply for tickets via the WWDC website (developer.apple.com/wwdc/register/) now through Friday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. Tickets will be issued to attendees through a random selection process, and developers will be notified on the status of their application by Monday, April 25 at 5:00 p.m. PDT. For the second consecutive year, there will be up to 350 WWDC Scholarships available, giving students and STEM organization members from around the world an opportunity to earn a ticket to meet and collaborate with some of the most talented developers of Apple’s ever-growing app ecosystem (developer.apple.com/wwdc/scholarships/). Additionally, this year, we will provide travel assistance to up to 125 scholarship recipients to ensure aspiring developers with financial limitations have an opportunity to participate.

WWDC 2016 activities include: over 1,000 Apple engineers supporting more than 150 hands-on labs and events to provide developers with code-level assistance, insight into optimal development techniques and guidance on how they can make the most of iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS technologies in their apps; access to the latest innovations, features and capabilities of iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS, and best practices for enhancing an app’s functionality, performance, quality and design; the opportunity to connect with thousands of fellow iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS developers from around the world — last year, 80 percent of developers attended for their first time, and in total, more than 70 countries were represented; a series of get-togethers for attendees focused on particular topics with special guest speakers and activities; engaging and inspirational lunchtime sessions with trailblazers and influencers from the worlds of technology, science and entertainment; and the Apple Design Awards which recognize iPhone®, iPad®, Apple Watch®, Apple TV® and Mac® apps that demonstrate technical excellence, innovation and outstanding design. Worldwide Developers Conference sessions will be streamed live throughout the week via the WWDC website (developer.apple.com/wwdc/live/) and through the WWDC app, giving developers around the world access to the week’s news and events.

Apple Releases WatchOS 2

Apple yesterday released watchOS 2 to the public, making the first major update to the watchOS software available to all Apple Watch owners. The update requires iOS 9 and can be downloaded over-the-air through the Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General –> Software Update. 

watchOS 2 was originally scheduled to launch on Wednesday, September 16 alongside iOS 9, but Apple delayed the launch in order to address a major bug that was found shortly before the software was set to debut. 

As the first significant update to watchOS, watchOS 2 introduces a lot of new features to the Apple Watch, mainly through new developer tools. watchOS 2 brings native apps that run on the watch itself instead of the iPhone, and it lets developers access several sensors and hardware features including the Taptic Engine, heart rate monitor, microphone, and accelerometer.

Along with these features for developers, which will lead to more complex and full-featured third-party apps that run much more smoothly, watchOS 2 also includes new watch faces (photo album and time-lapse), third-party Complications, a tweak that makes the screen stay on for up to 70 seconds when activated, and Activation Lock. 

There’s also a new Time Travel feature for viewing past and upcoming events in a watch face Complication, and a Nightstand mode that’s activated when the watch is charging, displaying the time.