Apple Watch OS 3 became available for users along with iOS 10, though most of the focus ended up being on the mobile OS. However, the Watch OS 3 too brings in a lot of improvements, many based on user feedback over the past year. Apple is clearly positioning its Watch in the luxury watch space and not as a fitness band. It will continue to be premium.
Having used Watch OS 3 for well over a week, I look at three new features that you should be happy about:
1. Easier, faster: One of the hassles of using the earlier Watch OS 2 was that you needed to tap a bit to get to the information you wanted. Now you have watchfaces that give you more information than before and they turn on as you look at the watch.
For me my steps and calorie burn have been the most crucial parameter and I have had to swipe at least a few times to get there, now I just keep a watch face that gives me the time as well as my fitness indicators. Also, all the watch faces are actionable now. So if I click on the steps it takes me to the fitness app, or whatever else is relevant.
You also have the dock option to make it easier to get to the screens that matter to you the most. This is important, because the Apple Watch does suffer from a bit of a problem: the problem of plenty. In fact, every app on your iPhone can potentially be in the Watch too.
Now, when you click the power button it takes you to the apps that you have added to the dock. So no time wasted shuffling through screens. Also, it won’t take you long to realise that apps launch really fast now.
Since Siri is now much better than before on iOS 10, it also becomes more intelligent on the Watch. So, you can reply to a message you have read on the watch using Siri. For those who use the Watch to take calls on the move, this will be a great way to respond to messages too. And if you are the creative type, then there is even the possibility of tweeting while on the walk.
3. Watch Faces and UI:
At the end of the day, the Apple Watch is watch. The most used app will be the timepiece. So the new watchfaces will come in handy. There is everything from the minimalist to the loud here, though I am partial to the latter. Again, the fact that watch faces can now have actionable complications is a big plus. Also, the control centre is now much easy to use and reduces the need for avoidable swipes.
What needs improvement?
Well, I still think the apps screen is a too complex to be of any use. I just void going there. There has to be a better way of doing it and we can only hope Apple is thinking of this at the end of the day. Also, I would like to see more inside the apps. For instance, I would like at least a week of historical data in the fitness app. I don’t want to go back to the iPhone all the time.
While Apple Watch Series 2 is still not available in India, it is clearly going to be better and faster than the earlier version thanks to the more powerful processor inside and the new WatchOS 3. WatchOS 3 is certainly the most intelligent of all smartwear operating systems, but it is still climbing a learning curve.