After a five-day delay due to errant software code, Apple has released its new watchOS 2 operating system for the Apple Watch.
Last week, Apple postponed the release of its watchOS 2 operating system software update for the Apple Watch due to flaws in its code. Held up at the last minute, the release was originally scheduled for Sept. 16. Repairs on the undisclosed bug took several days to complete.
The watchOS 2 update had been scheduled to be released on the same day as Apple's iOS 9 update for smartphones and tablets. The iOS 9 update did launch as scheduled, but there were reports of slow download times because of demand, which is often the case with Apple software updates.
The watchOS 2 is a big update for the Apple Watch devices, which hit the market on April 24 and have proved very popular for the company and for the wearables segment. The watchOS 2 operating system update was announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8 as an updated operating system that will bring many new features and functions for Apple Watch users, as well as new tools to allow developers to add even future functions.
The watchOS 2's changes are expected to allow developers to build faster, more powerful apps that will run natively on the Apple Watch. Some of the new features were released back in June, including a Digital Crown control system, Taptic Engine capabilities, a heart-rate sensor and some new software APIs. The full watchOS 2 update will introduce a much wider range of improvements and changes, including new watch faces and new communications capabilities in the device's Mail, Friends and Digital Touch apps.
Apple did not respond to several eWEEK inquiries about the watchOS2 update and its delays.
Apple Watch buyers soon will be able to find the devices for sale in more stores, according to a recent eWEEK story. Starting Sept. 25, customers will be able to buy Apple Watches through T-Mobile and Sprint as Apple continues to increase the number of retailers where customers can buy the popular smartwatches.
When Apple began selling Watches on April 24, it did so only through its own stores and very select retailers.
Sprint is expected to offer the 38mm and 42mm versions of Apple Watch in the Sport or Stainless Steel editions. The watches will retail for $349.99 for the Apple Watch Sport 38mm and $399.99 for the 42mm. Sprint is expected to offer the 38mm Apple Watch in Stainless Steel or Space Black Stainless Steel for $549.99, while the 42mm versions will cost $599.99.
AT&T and Verizon have not yet announced their plans for selling the Apple Watch, though that could change by Sept. 25.
In August, Best Buy stores began selling the Apple Watch in the United States, marking the first time that Apple has struck a deal to sell its flagship smartwatches through a retail store chain other than its own. Apple previously only sold its high-end luxury Apple Watches through limited arrangements with several luxury retailers.
The Best Buy deal brought Apple Watches to about 100 Best Buy stores initially and to BestBuy.com, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The companies plan to expand the availability of the devices to an additional 200 stores by the Christmas holiday shopping season.
Best Buy is carrying the devices in 16 different Apple Watch configurations, including Sport and Watch versions in both 38mm and 42mm sizes. The nation's largest electronics retailer is also carrying some 50 Apple Watch accessories, including watchbands, screen shields, watch stands, chargers and more.