watchOS 3 For Apple Watch Announced: Features, Release Date, Developer Betas And More

Officially at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2016), the company has provided the world with the first glimpse of watchOS 3, the third major iteration of the firmware that powers the Apple Watch wearable. Many current Apple Watch owners were hoping against hope that a second-generation Apple Watch would be introduced at this year’s keynote, but it didn’t happened.

Nevertheless, there’s still good news on the Apple Watch front as owners will now rely on the progression of the underlying software to get new features and improve the overall performance of the current Apple Watch model.

Everything you need to know about it is here. Take a deep look at exactly what was announced for watchOS 3 by Apple at WWDC from a features and release date perspective. Without further delay, we have to detail about watchOS 3 for Apple Watch.


-Faster App Launch

The apps will launch faster when compared to watchOS 2, with Apple introducing the ability for watchOS apps to be kept in memory, along with background updates and refreshed info. Apple is calling it Instant Launch, which is quite like the iOS experience. There’s almost a seven fold increase in launch times now. Apple also dropping support for Glances, with these faster apps the only way (alongside Complications) to view data from apps.

-Side Button Launches Multitasking Dock

Now launches the all-new Dock in place of the Friends screen that user’s have been used to till now. From here, you can simply switch between live apps quickly and easily.

-Control Center

Sounds like iOS, watchOS 3 is bringing in a dedicated Control Center to the Apple Watch. Swipe up from the bottom for instant access to switches like Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, Silent Mode, etc, and also shows you the battery percentage.

-Scribble Keyboard

With this new way of input text, you can easily scribble or draw letters on the watch’s screen to type. These drawing will automatically turn into text letters. Useful for sending those quick replies!

-New Reply Options

Like iOS 10, watchOS 3 brings in some powerful reply options to messages received onto your wrist, with instant access to the new Scribble option as well.

-New Watch Faces

Additionally, new Watch faces are also making their debut with watchOS 3, including a Minnie Mouse watch face, as well as one called Numerals. Apple has also made an Activity Watch face available which lets you monitor your activity throughout the day, complete with Activity rings, which looks very cool.

-Switching Watch Faces

Apple has now made it very simple for changing watch faces on the fly. Simply swipe on a watch face to switch to another one.

-Updated Reminders And Find Friends

Apple has completely redesigned Reminders and Find Friends apps for the Apple Watch, making both the apps much more productive on the wrist.

-SOS Button

Holding down the Dock/Side button for a while will now instantly dial 911. This is a well-thought out addition to the wearable.

-Workouts Launch From Watch Faces

You will now be able to launch workouts directly from the watch face without even having to use your voice, or apps home screen.

-Activity Sharing

Swipe right on the activity rings to see data being shared by friends and family, as well as share your own data with others. Furthermore, you will now be able to communicate with those they’re sharing their data with via Messages and some smart replies such as “Like a boss.”, “You’re on fire!” etc.

Other than Messages, there’s still the ability to send voice messages, as well as sharing your hear rate, though.

-Promoting Physical Activity For Wheelchair Users

In the similar “Time to Stand!” message fashion, this has now been changed in watchOS 3 for wheelchair users. Starting from watchOS 3, you will now get “Time to roll!” alert instead.

-New Breathe App

While, walking and standing up is important, but so is breathing. Apple’s new wrist-mounted app will remind you to take some time out and breathe and relax. Close your eyes and let the haptic feedback guide you with when to breathe in and out in a slightly meditative manner as it shows you the heart rate during that period, and of course the total time you’ve taken out to breathe and relax.

-Apple Pay In Third-Party Apps

Yes! I mean it. You can now use Apple Pay on the Apple Watch to pay for services and products in third-party apps.

-Home App for HomeKit

You can simply access to iOS 10’s Home app for HomeKit-enabled devices for full Home automation.

-Unlock Your Mac

Apple explains this feature as:

While you’re wearing your Apple Watch, your Mac senses when you’re nearby and logs you in automatically. So it’s ready to use as soon as you wake it up.

-New APIs

Support for fitness apps running in the background, real-time heart rate sensor and location data collection, as well as SpriteKit and SceneKit, and more, really makes watchOS 3 a much more improved platform from the developers point of view.

Release Date

watchOS 3 beta is available to developers in a pre-release format today, General availability of the final version of watchOS 3 will be available to everyone this fall. Public Beta Tesers will also get it in July.

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