Apple is reworking its watchOS in a fundamental way on its jubilee 10th version. No more honeycomb of apps and a focus on the individual watch face – say hello to stacks of widgets and apps that fill the entire screen.
WatchOS 10 is out for developers today and will come in Public beta a month from now for everyone to try. As usual, the OS will arrive in final form this fall, alongside the forthcoming Watch Series 9.
With watchOS 10, the main screen is now the so-called Smart Stack – a carousel of widgets that give glanceable information and move from one to another with the digital crown.
Apple is making changes to the physical controls as well – a press on the side button opens the Control Center at any time – a double press on the Digital Crown takes you back to your recent apps.
With the new update, apps will use more of the screen real estate, showing you more information.
Naturally, there are some new watch faces. Palette depicts time in a variety of colors and changes as the day goes on. There’s also an exclusive Snoopy and Woodstock clockface too.
The Apple Watch Ultra is getting more and more competitive to Garmin’s watches. With watchOS 10, users will get offline maps with turn-by-turn navigation accessible from an iPhone to a paired watch.
Hikers will be able to view trails right on their wrists – including trail info like type, length, and even difficulty. Using the altimeter in Watch Ultra, hikers will get a 3D map of their waypoints, and the watch will automatically make a waypoint to the last place you’ve had cell coverage in case you need to trail back and send a message.
Apple is adding new cycling features in watchOS 10. Users will get a new workout view with cycling speed, elevation, heart rate, duration, and distance. This information can be doubled on the iPhone screen. The watch will also readily connect to Bluetooth cycling computers.
Apple also added Vision to the Health app. Apple Watch will measure how much time you spend in daylight, by using the ambient light sensor. It will also track the distance at which you look at your phone’s screen by using your iPhone or iPad’s depth camera. If you hold it closer than 30cm for an extended period of time, the watch will send you a notification.
Finally, Mental health is a new addition to the Mindfulness app. You’ll be able to log your mood using the digital crown to choose from emotions represented as abstract shapes. There are standardized quizzes to assess your risk of anxiety and depression.