Tag Archive for ‘watchOS’

Introducing Watchsmith ➝

David Smith:

Watchsmith is an application that seeks to give you complete control over the appearance and utility of your Apple Watch.

First, it provides a wide array of complications. Each of these is completely customizable, with controls for things like font, color, hand type and location1. The initial set is just over 50 unique complications, with dozens more planned down the road. My goal is to provide a complication for just about every use and let you make it look just how you want. In the absence of 3rd-party watch faces, this is the closest I can get to making my own watch faces.

This is just a smidge too finicky for my taste and I’d, personally, rather manually switch Watch faces depending on the current context of my day. But I can’t tell you how happy I am to see someone pushing at the boundaries of how we think about Watch apps.

➝ Source: david-smith.org

Matt Birchler’s watchOS 7 Wishlist ➝

My buddy Matt Birchler doing his best work, sharing his ideas for what watchOS could be. Including some brilliant mockups showing many of his proposed features. It’s an excellent read, but I would add to this wishlist the ability to run shortcuts from the Watch without having to use Siri.

I want to be able to open the Shortcuts app on my Watch to trigger automations right from my wrist. But I’d also like the option to have individual shortcuts added as complications. In each shortcuts’ settings, a “Show as Complication” option could be added alongside the widget and Share Sheet toggles. Then I could display the shortcut’s glyph as a complication on my Watch face and tap on it to initiate the actions.

Shortcuts triggered from the Watch might be a bit limited, but anything that could be run fully from the app’s widget should be doable. And if there is an action that can only be run from within the app, it can be passed off to your iPhone to complete.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

Matt Birchler’s watchOS 6 Concept ➝

There’s some incredible work in this piece by my buddy Matt Birchler, but I particularly like this idea for the watchOS dock:

My proposal is to convert the dock to a grid system, at least on the Series 4 and newer models. The 44mm model especially has more room than ever, and those pixels could more effectively be used to show full previews of your recently used apps and let you get into them with bigger touch targets.

In my mockups, I was able to get 4 apps on screen at a time and still easily make out the contents of the app and tap into it with ease. The list should still scroll, of course, and your last 8-12 apps should show here.

This sounds like a fantastic idea and I hope the folks at Apple have come up with something similar for the next iteration of watchOS.

watchOS 5

I watched this year’s WWDC keynote live from the comfort of my living room. My plan was to take notes during the event and share my thoughts on the various announcements throughout the week. I didn’t expect to be completely blown away by the iOS 12 segment, which I shared my thoughts on yesterday. From that point forward, my plan to take notes went out the window. I just sat back and enjoyed the show.

As a result of that, I’ve decided to rewatch the entire keynote and actually take notes this time around. The following is my miscellaneous thoughts and commentary on watchOS 5 — the second most important Apple platform in my life:

  • Competitions seems like a great new feature. I can see my wife and I using these to keep ourselves motivated to stay in shape. And I really like how the progress updates are displayed, with points based on your move ring progress and small charts comparing each person by day.
  • I’m glad they’re finally adding proper support for Yoga workouts. I don’t do yoga as much as I used to, but this might be the motivation I needed to get back into it.
  • The Hiking workout will be a welcomed addition to the workouts app, too. I’m not much of a hiker, but I could see myself using this if my wife and I went on vacation to a mountainous area.
  • My wife loves running, but due to some health concerns, she had to take a break from it over the past year. But now that her heart is functioning properly again, she’s slowly started reintroducing running into her life. And I expect she’ll appreciate the new Outdoor Run features coming in watchOS 5.
  • Automatic Workout Detection is going to be an incredible feature. After owning an Apple Watch for nearly three years, I usually make sure to start a workout on my watch. But about 10% of the time, I completely forget. This solves that problem entirely.
  • Walkie-Talkie demos well, but I don’t expect I’ll ever use it. How is this better than just sending an iMessage?
  • Great additions to the Siri Watch Face including Siri Shortcuts and third-party apps. I haven’t used the Siri Watch Face during my day-to-day use because all of my most important information is kept in third-party apps. But now that third-party apps can populate the Siri face, I think I’ll give it another try.
  • Dropping the need to say “Hey Siri” sounds like a neat idea, but I’m worried that there will be too many false positives. What if I’m just checking the time or glancing at a notification during a conversation and it picks up on something I say?
  • More interactive notifications looks like a great improvement to the watch experience. Especially considering that notifications is one of the killer apps for the device. Giving developers more control over what notifications look like and what users can do with those notifications is going to be great.
  • WebKit on Apple Watch. This is kind of insane and I never thought Apple would ever do this. But I have to say, it’s really lame when someone sends you a link in Messages and you have to pull out your phone to read it. Being able to do that on your Watch is going to be pretty neat.
  • I think Podcasts on Apple Watch is going to be the next killer feature. It’s something that users have been clamoring for since day one and I expect it’s going to sell a lot of watches.
  • Background audio for third-party apps is a huge deal and will give developers of podcast apps the ability to compete with Apple’s offering. I just hope Marco Arment has it ready in Overcast on watchOS 5 launch day.

The enhancements in watchOS 5 weren’t as impressive as iOS 12, but the update is filled with solid improvements that will go a long way toward improving the experience.

Initial Thoughts on watchOS 4

During this morning’s WWDC keynote, Kevin Lynch took to the stage to announce watchOS 4. The new operating system will be available this fall for all Apple Watches — that includes the original, Series 0 models. The following is my notes from the announcement.

  • I’m glad the folks at Apple are continuing to design new watch faces. The Siri face is clearly the standout, with its ability to surface relevant information for you automatically, but there are certainly Watch owners who will enjoy the kaleidoscope and Toy Story faces, too.
  • I wish Apple would build a second modular face that puts the time in the center with six small complications evenly split between the bottom and top of the screen. That kind of information density would be great for a lot of users.
  • Personalized Activity notifications that encourage you to push yourself toward an achievable goal sound like exactly what I’ve been looking for.
  • Now that I have AirPods, my interest in having music available to play on my Watch is much higher. But, as of right now, My primary music player, Plex, doesn’t support the Apple Watch at all. I’m resistant to the idea of paying a monthly fee to listen to music, but Apple is making a compelling argument with their ability to integrate their service into all of their devices. Automatic syncing of music to the Watch is such a killer feature.
  • Having the Dock rotate vertically makes perfect sense, given that the Watch’s band extends in that direction around your wrist. I’m not sure about the Dock being a list of your most recently launched apps, though. I liked the ability to choose what apps I wanted quick access to and I’m worried that the new Dock might force me to use the honeycomb app launcher, which I typically avoid at all costs.
  • I’m shocked that Apple is supporting the original, series 0 with watchOS 4. The Series 1 and 2 models were such a leap forward in performance that I didn’t expect Apple to go through the trouble of optimizing for the Series 0. But there might just be too many original Watches in use for Apple to ignore.

Overall, I’m quite happy with the updates coming to the Apple Watch. I’m especially excited to try out the Siri watch face. As much as I like using the modular face, I wouldn’t mind changing it up from time to time. And I’m interested to see how useful Apple’s prediction algorithms are. If they’re any good, the Siri face could end up being a really big deal.

watchOS 4’s support for the original Apple Watch does put a wrinkle in my plans. I originally expected to upgrade my Series 0 to whatever the latest model is this fall, but that might not be necessary now. My Watch is a tad slower than I’d like, but it gets the job done. And it doesn’t cost me two or three hundred dollars to continue using it. Unless Apple releases a new Watch with some blow away feature, I might hold onto my Series 0 a little while longer.

Carrot Weather ➝

I still use Weather Line when I want to check the forecast on my iPhone and Dark Sky for its Today View widget, but Carrot is by far the best watchOS weather app I’ve used.

Apple’s Interconnected Platforms ➝

Riccardo Mori, commenting on Rick Tetzeli’s piece for Fast Company:

During the WWDC keynote, as Apple executives were outlining some of the key new features of the upcoming versions of watchOS, tvOS, Mac OS and iOS, I easily noticed a common denominator — Apple is introducing new features whose main purpose is to fix some user interface or user interaction annoyances for each of those platforms. And such improvements will not only affect a single platform, but — as Tetzeli points out — they’ll improve and solidify the interconnection between all four of them. For the first time, while watching the keynote, I found myself thinking It’d really be nice to also have an Apple TV and an Apple Watch now, the two Apple devices I usually had a very limited interest in.

It’s always been the case that Apple’s devices really shined when they were surrounded by other Apple products. But Apple seems poised to take that to an entirely new level with the release of watchOS 3, tvOS 10, macOS Sierra, and iOS 10 this fall.

A few days ago, my wife and I were discussing Apple’s typical, yearly product announcement schedule — during our weekly drive to the grocery store. My main point, at the time, was that Apple shouldn’t be announcing major upgrades to all four of their platforms at the same event.

I suggested the idea of Apple announcing major new versions of macOS and tvOS at an event in the spring and saving iOS and watchOS for WWDC. This would help spread out all the software-specific talk and leave room for hardware announcements at both events. But after reading Riccardo’s take, I’ve changed my tune.

Apple’s platforms are only going to become more tightly connected over time. This type of software development — where engineers from multiple teams work together on new features — requires a cohesive release schedule. The only way new, Continuity-like features will work is if both operating systems support the feature. And users won’t want to wait an extra three months for one of their platforms to catch up.

With watchOS 3, Apple Watch Gets a Do-Over ➝

Jason Snell, referencing Craig Federighi’s comments on the most recent episode of The Talk Show:

You may not remember this, but before the Apple Watch came out, there were many rumors that it wasn’t able to get through a day without a charge. It’s clear that Apple made battery life a top priority, perhaps even the top priority: This thing better last all day. And so everyone was incredibly conservative with power and memory.

The result: They overshot. Most of the people I know now report that they end their day with their Apple Watches reporting 40 or 50 percent of remaining battery life. Federighi admitted that there was a lot of extra memory and battery life available to them when building watchOS 3, because they overshot so much. And that’s why watchOS seems almost impossibly better than watchOS 2, given that it’s running on the same hardware.

I had a hunch that this was the case and I’m more than happy to have it confirmed.