But despite being so close to a preview of Apple’s upcoming wearable software, information is surprisingly thin on the ground. That hasn’t stopped us speculating about the sorts of things we’re likely to see though – or making a wish list of the things we hope for.
So read on for a taste of what we’re likely to get and what we hope to get, along with information on when you’ll be able to actually get Watch OS 3 on your wrist.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next version of Apple’s smartwatch operating system
- When’s it out? Probably September, with a preview in June
- What will it cost? Nothing, it’s an upgrade!
Apple watchOS 3 release date
Apple previewed watchOS 2 at WWDC 2015, so we’re expecting to see Watch OS 3 at WWDC 2016, which starts on June 13 – just days from now.
But while that will give us a taste of Apple’s new operating system it’s not likely to roll out for another few months, likely landing in September if past form is anything to go by.
Apple watchOS 3 news and rumors
Not much is known about Watch OS 3, but we can take a good guess at some of the changes Apple is likely to make.
For example, Apple will almost certainly try to tweak and optimize performance, so there’s less lag and hopefully also longer battery life. It can’t make the battery bigger with software but it can make the operating system less of a burden on it.
There’s a good chance that Siri will be improved too. Apple regularly updates its voice assistant and there’s nowhere that it’s more vital than the Apple Watch, where voice commands are a key aspect of operation.
Some of Apple’s apps will likely get their Watch versions improved as well, so we might for example see improvements to Maps on your wrist.
It’s also likely that Apple will tweak the interface of Watch OS 3, so that it’s easier to navigate and perhaps gives us more customization options, such as third-party watch faces.
What we want to see
Right – that’s the limited information lying around out of the way – so we’ve put together the wishlist that we’re hoping Apple is going to follow when WWDC rolls around on Monday 13 June.
Less reliance on an iPhone
Right now the Apple Watch is heavily dependent on the iPhone – take it out without your phone and its skills are limited. Sure, the new software brings native app support, but there’s far more to come.
Without adding a SIM card slot, which Apple could with the Apple Watch 2, but not with the Watch OS 3 software, there’s a limit to how much you’ll be able to do with the Apple Watch independent of your phone, but there’s certainly room for improvement.
Fortunately, it looks like this is something Apple is working on, as the company has told developers that their apps need to work without an iPhone.
That’s a good start, especially as Watch OS 2 also allows the Apple Watch to connect to Wi-Fi on its own, but hopefully with Watch OS 3 Apple will go further still, perhaps ensuring that apps don’t just work from your wrist but that they’re as full-featured as possible – it’s what Android Wear is doing, after all.
A more intuitive interface
Making an interface for such a tiny screen is no easy task, so it’s not surprising that Watch OS isn’t quite as slick or intuitive as iOS – especially as it’s still only on version 2 – but we want to see some significant improvements for Watch OS 3.
That could come in the form of more gesture controls, the ability to customize what the hardware buttons do or even a complete rethink of the layout. We’re sure we’ll see some improvements of some kind, but hopefully they’ll be big.