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Apple revamps watchOS to boost Apple watch sales, make it relevant for users

Has better apps, new watch faces and scribble to reply to messages

tech Updated: Jun 14, 2016 01:57 IST
Anirban Ghoshal
Anirban Ghoshal
Hindustan Times
Apple has added the control center to the watch and it pops out from down below just like in an iPhone.(Apple)

It may have climbed the top charts of marketing research agencies in the wearables category but it is far from being relevant to its users. Yes, we are talking about the Apple Watch and Apple seems to have figured that it needs to make more use cases for consumers.

Although the hardware on the thing was excellent, the software was pathetic and thus the new watchOS in just a year --- enter watchOS 3 at the Worldwide Developers conference or WWDC 2016.

What will it do to enhance utility? Well a lot better than the watchOS 2. At the very first, Apple showcased how it has accelerated app launch time in the new operating system. It claimed and showed that the apps open seven times faster which will be a great relief for users as they no longer have to see the round dots in the black screen while waiting for it to open.

Another addition to the watchOS was the app quick launch feature and the new app dock. Customers can now just tap the side button beneath the crown to activate the app dock. The app dock not only allows launching apps but also lets users interact with them and use them without opening them. The dock is also fast allows users to browse through apps just by tracing the bottom edge of the screen.

Interestingly, Apple has added the control center, just like iPhone, on the watch which makes using the device easy and the notifications tab drops down just like in an iPhone.

Perhaps the biggest utility change was the scribble app on the watch. Now users can type out replies to messages on the watch just by scribbling letters on the screen instead of just voice reply. Scribble also has more custom template replies.

Watch faces have also seen a change with Minnie Mouse (promoting feminism? Maybe), numerals watch face and an activity watch face. Users can simply now interact with the activity app (start a workout) from the watch face without opening the app. The company has also made changing watch faces easier with just an end-to-end swipe.

The activity app also allows sharing activities with friends and family easier. Users can now share messages, send heart rate or smack talk a voice reply to enjoy workouts and check on fitness goals of other users. Apple has also gone a step further and added a special version of activity app for people who use wheelchairs. Not only does the app now realise how the person is pushing the wheelchair, it also has unique fitness goals for them. Instead of telling them to stand up and walk (as it would do for other users), it asks them to roll if they they are inactive for a long time.

In a race to be a better fitness device, Apple has also introduced the breathe app which tells users to practice deep breathing for one to five minutes during the day. The app also has guided visuals for aiding the user during the exercise session. If the user wants to do it eyes closed, the Apple Watch will start ‘haptic’ movements to guide the user.

SOS feature --- Made for India?

Apple probably has the tailor made solution for India’s security problem. It now will have a ‘SOS’ feature. If a user hard presses the side button, the an SOS signal is sent to the emergency number in the country via the cellular service or via Wi-Fi. The feature then sends of messages to custom phone numbers or contacts along with the user’s location. It then pulls up the medical and health data to assist an emergency personnel to deal with the problem easily.

However, this is not where the company has stopped. It has also brought Apple Pay to the watch and has opened it up for developers to allow integrations of health, fitness, calling, cloud apps and games.