10 Improvements watchOS 2 Brings to the Apple Watch

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-09-17
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Improvements watchOS 2 Brings to the Apple Watch
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    10 Improvements watchOS 2 Brings to the Apple Watch

    Although watchOS isn't perfect, watchOS 2 will carry Apple into 2016 with a platform that could help the company sell more Apple Watch units.
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    The Design Changes Won't Throw watchOS 1 Users Off
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    The Design Changes Won't Throw watchOS 1 Users Off

    From a design perspective, watchOS 2 is not a major upgrade. Instead, Apple has made several feature changes in the operating system to make it more useful. That's likely good news for current Apple Watch owners who don't want to find an entirely different experience when using the new platform. Apple made the smart decision to keep watchOS 2's design similar to that of its predecessor.
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    Watch Faces Matter More in watchOS 2
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    Watch Faces Matter More in watchOS 2

    Watch faces mattered very little in watchOS 1, but they may actually prove more appealing in the new version of the operating system. In addition to simply showing Apple-delivered photographs, watch faces now come with a time lapse so users can see what cities around the world may look like at certain times. watchOS 2 also features support for single-user photos or an entire photo album to be displayed on the watch face.
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    New Time Travel Feature Sounds Interesting
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    New Time Travel Feature Sounds Interesting

    Time Travel is a new feature designed to make it easier for Apple Watch owners to see what happened recently, what's happening today and what is scheduled for tomorrow. The feature relies on the Apple Watch digital crown and shows everything from weather to the user's schedule to current news headlines over the three-day span. It's a productivity feature that may appeal to some enterprise users.
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    The Watch Will Sit on Your Nightstand and Be Useful
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    The Watch Will Sit on Your Nightstand and Be Useful

    One of the major complaints about watchOS 1 was that, at night, Apple Watch was largely useless. With watchOS 2, however, there's a new Nightstand mode that allows users to place the device on its side and show the time. While in Nightstand mode, Apple Watch turns into an alarm clock. The digital crown on its side can be pressed to turn it off or snooze.
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    Apps Now Run Without an iPhone Nearby
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    Apps Now Run Without an iPhone Nearby

    Arguably one of the most important additions to watchOS 2 is the inclusion of native apps. Previously, all apps needed the iPhone within close proximity in order to work. With watchOS 2, apps can run natively on the Apple Watch and don't require the iPhone nearby. That is a huge advancement that could unleash far more uses for Apple Watch as time goes on.
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    Apple Has Opened Up Its SDK
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    Apple Has Opened Up Its SDK

    Apple has decided to open more elements of its software development kit to developers. The move now allows developers to take advantage of the Apple Watch taptic feedback, digital crown, accelerometer, microphone, speaker and more to enhance the functionality of their applications. Look for Apple Watch apps to become far more capable in the coming months.
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    'Complications' Aren't So Complicated Anymore
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    'Complications' Aren't So Complicated Anymore

    One of the biggest issues Apple Watch owners had was managing notifications and determining what should be displayed on their watch faces. An improvement to the "Complications" feature now lets users put third-party apps on their faces to keep the most important information on the device's screen at all times. Complications are graphic elements that appear on Apple Watch faces to display data The improved Complications allows for a level of customization users just didn't have in watchOS 1.
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    There's an Email Upgrade for Corporate Users
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    There's an Email Upgrade for Corporate Users

    While watchOS 1 allowed users to see the content of an email, watchOS 2 improves that feature a bit by allowing users to reply from the watch. By choosing the Reply option, users can dictate a response into the Apple Watch microphone or reply with an emoji. It's a neat feature that will come in handy for busy enterprise users who want to quickly respond to an email.
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    Siri Gets a Makeover
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    Siri Gets a Makeover

    Siri has received a broad update in watchOS 2. The virtual personal assistant is now capable of handling more tasks and answering more questions. In addition, users can issue more commands to Siri, and the platform will remember directions for when they're needed. Siri is essentially more aware of what's going on and more intelligent because of it.
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    Activation Lock Adds Much-Needed Security
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    Activation Lock Adds Much-Needed Security

    Activation Lock could be the security feature companies would want in order to accept more Apple Watches in the enterprise. In order for a user to activate a device, the Activation Lock requires them to have their iCloud Apple ID and password. In the event Apple Watch is lost or stolen, users can lock the device and the person who has it will need to input those credentials on a linked iPhone in order to actually access the smartwatch.
 

Apple's watchOS 2 was supposed to be available on Sept. 16, but a bug forced the company to delay the release of the updated wearable operating system forcing Apple Watch customers to wait a bit longer. Apple says it will fix the bug and release WatchOS 2 "shortly."  But assuming the fix works well, the updated smartphone operating system should prove to be a major improvement over the version currently running on Apple Watch. While WatchOS 1 worked well enough for most consumers, it lacked critical features and support for native applications that would enhance the experience of using Apple Watch. From this standpoint, the watchOS 1 looked rather half-baked.  But the same won't be said about watchOS 2. This slide show looks at the watchOS 2 features that will add value for current and future Apple Watch owners. While watchOS certainly isn't perfect and there are areas for improvement, watchOS 2 will carry Apple into 2016 with a platform that could help the company sell more Apple Watch units. Read on to find out more about what watchOS 2 will offer when it's released.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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