- Apple is widely expected to debut its next major Apple Watch update at the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 3.
- The update, likely to be released this fall, will reportedly bring a standalone App Store to the Apple Watch in addition to new health features.
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Apple might still be months away from launching a new Apple Watch, but the company is expected to debut new software features for existing watch owners next week.
As it typically does every June, Apple is kicking off its Worldwide Developer Conference with a keynote, during which it will likely unveil watchOS 6, the next major operating system for its wrist-worn gadget, among other announcements. The biggest new feature expected to come in watchOS 6 is a standalone App Store for the Apple Watch that would make it possible for owners to install new apps directly from the watch itself rather than having to reach for their iPhone.
Apple usually releases its new software updates in the fall to coincide with new product launches, but it’ll likely provide a preview of what’s to come on June 3.
Here’s a look at the new features we’re expecting to see on the Apple Watch in the coming months.
The App Store is likely coming to the Apple Watch.
Soon enough, Apple Watch owners will no longer have to turn to their iPhone to install new apps onto the device. The next Apple Watch software update will bring a standalone App Store that makes it possible to download apps directly from the watch, according to Bloomberg. Currently, Apple Watch owners must browse the App Store from within the Watch app on the iPhone.
watchOS 6 may also introduce two new health apps.
Apple has added many new health and fitness-focused features to the Watch over the years, and it looks like 2019 is shaping up to be no different. Bloomberg also reports that watchOS 6 will introduce two new health apps: a pill reminder app called “Dose,” and a menstrual cycle tracking app called “Cycle.”
By bringing such features to the Apple Watch, the company is natively incorporating features that were previously available with third-party apps such as Medisafe and Clue Period Tracker.
You might be able to authenticate actions on the Mac using your watch.
You can already use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac computer without typing in a password. But Apple might expand on this type of compatibility in the future.
Software updates for both the Mac and Apple Watch will make it possible for watch owners to authenticate certain tasks using the wrist-worn device, according to 9to5Mac. The report doesn’t get specific but does suggest that it may work similarly to Touch ID. You can, for example, use Touch ID to verify App Store and Apple Pay purchases on the Mac, so it’s possible that you may be able to do the same when your Apple Watch is within range of your Mac in the future.
You may have more watch faces to choose from soon enough.
There are at least six new watch faces coming in watchOS 6, according to Bloomberg:
- A “Gradient” watch face that makes a gradient shade out of a color that the wearer chooses
- Two new “X-Large” watch faces that display oversized text and numbers
- A “California” watch faces that mixes Roman numerals and Arabic numbers
- A new “Solar Analog” watch face that looks like a sundial
- An “Infograph Subdial” that includes larger complication views
More complications are coming, too.
Apple is adding a few new complications that will be able to show tidbits such as the battery life of hearing aids, the status of an audio book, and information about nearby rain and noise levels, according to Bloomberg.
Apple is bringing some other apps and features from the iPhone over to the Apple Watch.
The next major watchOS update will bring several existing iPhone apps and features to the wrist, Bloomberg also reported. These include:
- The Voice Memos app, allowing Apple Watch wearers to record memos using the watch.
- Animoji and Memoji stickers that sync from your iPhone
- The Apple Books app
- The calculator app
It will likely launch in the fall and won’t support the original Apple Watch.
Apple rolled out its watchOS 5 software on September 17 last year, so it’s likely that the company will launch its next major update during that same month this year.
It’s unclear exactly which devices will be supported. Last year’s watchOS 5 update was available for the Apple Watch Series 1 and later, which debuted alongside the Series 2 in 2016. But it did not make it to the original Apple Watch.
It’s possible Apple will stop supporting the Series 1 as well, as the company may release another new Apple Watch model in the fall, but there’s been no indication that this will be the case just yet.