Apple has just released the first major update to Apple Watch – watchOS2 – the new operating system that enables a host of new and useful features on the popular wearable device.
One of the biggest improvements is the fact that Apple Watch apps can now run natively on the device to male it faster and more responsive.
The other advantage, especially for developers, is that watchOS2 compatible apps can now take advantage of the Apple Watch hardware including the heart rate sensor, the digital crown, accelerometer, microphone and Taptic engine.
To update your Apple Watch, connect your iPhone to wi-fi, go to the Watch app > General > Software Update and you should see watchOS2 as an update.
Be sure that Apple Watch has at least 50 per cent power or is connected to the power cable.
For us the install took a couple of hours so set aside enough to get it done.
Here are the other enhancements of watchOS2:
NEW WATCH FACES
Now you can turn your favourite photos into new watch faces so you can see it every time you raise your wrist to see the time.
There is also a selection of time-lapse videos shot over 24 hours in locations including Hong Kong, London and New York.
THIRD PARTY COMPLICATIONS
Complications – those little bits of information around the Apple Watch face – are now available from third party developers.
They could be a part of an app you install on Apple Watch and can be accessed through the Watch app on the iPhone.
Tapping on these complications – they could be news headlines, latest sport scores, and reminders – will launch the related app on Apple Watch.
It’s not the Delorean from Back to the Future but it’s close enough. Simply winding forward on the digital crown on the watch face to see what’s coming up in your day including calendar entries and changes in the weather.
Users can also scroll backwards to see what they missed including news headlines and stock reviews.
THIRD PARTY WORKOUTS
Third party exercise apps like Strava and Runtastic can now take advantage of the features of the Apple Watch like the heart rate sensor.
These workouts will also be included in the workout ring of the Activity app.
There is more functionality in your communications through Apple Watch including replying from emails on your wrists with a dictated response, an emoji or a preset answer and making FaceTime audio calls.
Now you can add more colours to the pictures you can send to other Apple Watch users. There also a range of new animated emojis you can share.
Before the contacts list on Apple Watch was limited to just 12 people but now you can add other friends to your Apple Watch contacts list.
Many users charge their Apple Watch overnight and now the new Nightstand mode turns the device into a bedside alarm clock.
The digital crown can be used to turn off the alarm and the side button is your snooze button.
Siri has also gained some new skills with watchOS2 including asking for directions, starting workout and launching a glance.