Apple announced watchOS 6 at WWDC 2019 with new health and fitness features, on-device App Store and a number of new watch faces. The inclusion of on-device App Store means that developers will be able to create apps that do not need an iPhone to install or work. The new update will be available for Apple Watch Series 1 and later models.
watchOS 6 Features
For the first time, Apple is bringing the App Store to Apple Watch. Previously, users had to use their iPhone to search and install apps to their Watch. This also means that each app had an iOS app linked to it, even if it wasn’t useful. But now, developers will be able to create standalone watchOS apps, which is great news for everyone, specially since cellular + GPS watches don’t really need an iPhone to be lugged around.
App Store on Watch will lets users search for apps by using Siri or Scribble. Apps will have reviews, screenshots and ratings so users can find the ones they need.
Apple has also included a few new first-party apps in watchOS 6. The first one is Audiobooks, which will sync with Apple Books, allowing you to listen to them on the go.
Calculator and Voice Memos are also available now, while Reminders app has been redesigned. Remember that Apple Watch got a calculator app before iPad.
The new Animoji Stickers introduced with iOS 13 and iPadOS are also available on Apple Watch.
Siri now supports Shazam so you can ask her to detect which song is playing, right from your wrist. Siri also lets users search the web and browse the results. Note that web browsing does not work on all Apple Watch models.
New Watch Faces
Apple has included 5 new watch faces in this update called California, Gradient, Solar Dial, Modular Compact and Numerals. All watch faces support taptic chime, which uses the Taptic Engine to notify you on your wrist silently, every hour. Optionally, users can also chose to hear a ring. Holding two fingers on the watch face also gets the watch to speak the time.
California watch face has a very classic loo and supports a number of colors.. It supports Arabic, Hindi and numerals as well as the option to go for either a circular or square look. The watch face also supports complications: 2 in the square-ish design, but more when it’s in the circular mode.Gradient is a very minimalistic watch face and allows users to select their own colors. It also supports a full screen mode and the circular mode. There are no complications available in full screen mode, but its circular mode supports many.Although Apple Watch already had a solar watch face, watchOS 6 gets a new version of it called Solar Dial. Rotating the Digital Crown animates the watch face and shows the sun location during different times of the day. The watch face supports 4 complications and also allows users to change the center watch between analog and digital.
Modular Compact is similar to the Infograph watch face and allows complete customization to show either a colorful or monochrome look, digital or analog clock, and multiple complications.
Numerals has two variants: Numerals Mono and Numerals Duo. These watch faces don’t support any complications and just show the time in large numbers which can be switch between Arabic, Western and Roman. The color can also be changed as desired.
The Activity app now supports Trends. Activity Trends show a number of different metrics to tell you whether you are trending upwards or downwards in that metric. Using 90-day metrics data, Activity app gives personalized suggestions to help you get back on track.
A new Cycle Tracking app allows users to log daily data about their menstrual cycles. Data and details can be added to the log, which is saved in the Health app. Using this data, the Cycle Tracking app can notify a user when their next period or fertile window is about to start.
The new Noise app tracks audio levels around you. When it gets noisy enough that it might damage your hearing, the Watch gives a tap on the wrist to notify you that its time to move to a less noisy place. The Watch is able to keep track of the noise around the user in exact dB values and informs when it is above safe levels.
watchOS 6 Compatible Devices
Just like watchOS 5, watchOS 6 is supported on all Apple Watch models, except series 0. There are some differences in features supported in the different models, for example, web browsing only works on Series 3 and later models.
watchOS 6 Release Date
Apple will be beta testing watchOS 6 with developers right after WWDC 2019. There is no public beta for watchOS updates as there is no way to downgrade or restore an Apple Watch at at home. As per tradition, the final version of watchOS will be released in fall, likely in September.
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