Apple announces watchOS 2 and native apps for Apple Watch

Apple Inc. announced that developers will be able to create apps that are native to Apple Watch, not dependent on a paired iPhone to function, at its WorldWide Developers Conference (WWDC) today.

Kevin Lynch, vice-president of technology at Apple, updated the audience on several new features for Apple’s smart watch that was released to market last October, as part of watchOS 2.

Here’s what to expect in Timepiece, the clock app:

  • There’s some new watch faces for the Timepiece so you can use a photo as the background to your clock. Or you can choose one of the timelapse photos available from Apple.
  • A Complications feature means you can choose your own customizations for your watch face and see other information of your choosing. A new Time Travel feature on the watch face will allow you to scan ahead in your schedule by using the digital crown. The watch face details will update as you scan ahead.
  • There’s a new nightstand feature with a built-in alarm clock. The digital crown acts as the snooze button if you want a few more minutes.

There were also some communications capability improvements with the new OS, such as the ability to reply to an email, and accept FaceTime audio calls from your wrist.

The new Apple Pay features will also be supported with the Apple Watch, so that you can store your loyalty cards and use them on your watch too. Apple Transit will also deliver directions to your watch, telling you step by step along the journey where you need to go.

Developers will now be able to use WatchKit to load app logic in addition to the user interface onto the watch. Before watchOS 2, developers had to rely on a paired iPhone to do many tasks. But now they’ll be able to access many new features:

  • Native HealthKit support.
  • Ability to play back audio and video on the watch.
  • HomeKit control from the watch.
  • Access to the Watch’s accelerometer.
  • Developers can now access the Taptic Engine which means force feedback will be possible in third-party apps. Also, digital crown controls are now accessible.

The watchOS 2 developer beta is available today and the update is getting pushed out to watch users this Fall. It will be free of charge.


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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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