Apple is updating its watch OS so the Apple Watch will access apps faster by keeping them in memory, providing background updates and launching via the side button.
Kevin Lynch, vice president of technology at Apple, said watchOS 3 will be designed to rhyme more with iOS in terms of swiping and something called Scribble, a device that allows you to write a message and have it translated to text.
Quick replies were also added. Both of those efforts close the gap with Android Wear 2.0.
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Lynch said the general idea was to make watchOS 3 easier. "We've made it really easy to access your favorite apps. Just press the side button below the crown to see the dock. You pick what apps go there," he said.
Developers will get the watchOS preview today and Lynch said the Apple Watch will feel like a new one.
Among the key points:
- You don't have to press reply just hit it.
- Swipe up on Apple Watch for a control center for settings.
- The side button sets up Dock.
- Apps are live for quick access.
- Reminders is a new app for Apple Watch that syncs with iOS.
- Scribble works in English and Chinese.
- Notifications are accessed by pulling down from the top of the screen.
- There's an SOS button that can dial 911, emergency around the world, notify contacts and provide medical information.
- WatchOS 3 will have hooks into other SDKs and give developers more options for Apple Watch.
Apple also moved to revamp its activity apps. Fitness is the primary use case for the Apple Watch. Among those key items:
- Activity sharing will be added to highlight results. CEO Tim Cook noted at the beginning of WWDC that Apple Watch was the ultimate in fitness.
- Sharing can hook into third party apps.
- Apple Watch has added features to track activity for wheelchair users.
- An app called Breathe will be used for meditation.
- Fitness apps will get access to other functions.