Planned Apple Watch OS Update Held Back With Problems

Apple's release of watchOS 2 was to happen Sept. 16, but glitches in the code are delaying the launch of the Apple Watch OS update.

Apple Watch, watchOS2, Apple, wearables, smartwatches, operating systems

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.

An Apple spokesman attributed the problems to the discovery of a "bug in [the] development of watchOS 2 that is taking a bit longer to fix than we expected," according to a Sept. 16 article by the BBC. "We will not release watchOS 2 today but will shortly."

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 are reports of slow download times because of demand, which is often the case with Apple software updates.

Apple did not respond to several eWEEK inquiries about the problem on Sept. 17.

The watchOS 2 is a big update for the Apple Watch, which hit the market on April 24 and has proved very popular for the company and for the wearables segment. The watchOS 2 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, according to an earlier eWEEK story.

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.

Also included will be new WatchKit tools that will give developers access to key hardware like the Digital Crown, Taptic Engine, heart-rate sensor, accelerometer and microphone so they can add features, while new software APIs enable audio and video playback and animation, according to Apple.

Among the new features that will be available to Apple Watch users when watchOS 2 is released are the ability to turn a favorite photo into a new watch face, as well as the ability to view changing pictures from a favorite photo album every time a user raises his or her wrist. A new Time-Lapse watch face will let users choose from a selection of time-lapse videos shot over 24 hours in iconic locations, including New York City, London or Shanghai.

Also slated for watchOS 2 is a Time Travel feature that lets wearers scroll using the Digital Crown knob to look forward or backward at upcoming calendar events, temperatures for the week or at information from third-party apps, such as upcoming flight details.

Apple Watch devices start at $349 for the Apple Watch Sport version, which is available with a silver or space-gray aluminum body and with wristbands in many colors. The standard Apple Watch starts at $549 for a 38mm-wide version or $599 for a 42mm-wide model. Prices for the 38mm version can rise up to $1,049, while prices for the 42mm model can go up to $1,099, depending on the watchband selected. The regular Apple Watch can be purchased with a fluoroelastomer band or one of three different leather bands.

The company's luxury version of Apple Watch is the Apple Watch Edition, with a price tag of $10,000. The most expensive version of Apple Watch, the 18-karat gold Edition version, is priced at $17,000.