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    July 20, 2016

    Top 5: Upcoming watchOS 3 features

    WATCHOS 3

    Apple fans can hardly wait for the annual re-invigoration of their iOS devices coming in September. We take a look at the top 5 new watchOS 3 features.

    With WWDC over and done with about a month ago, iOS users have been given some time to mull over the upcoming changes in September. We are just over a month away from Apple updating their software and releasing the new iPhone model. But for me the biggest improvement coming our way is watchOS 3.

    Apple has thankfully realized that they haven’t done the Apple Watch justice as of yet. Many expected that the company will just release the Apple Watch 2 to fix the shortcomings, but Apple has stuck by their current customers and will update the smartwatch software before releasing a new model. So, let’s run through the top 5 new features being released with watchOS 3.

    Apple has thankfully realized that they haven’t done the Apple Watch justice as of yet. Many expected that the company will just release the Apple Watch 2 to fix the shortcomings, but Apple has stuck by their current customers and will update the smartwatch software before releasing a new model. So, let’s run through the top 5 new features being released with watchOS 3.

    Read: Apple updates, without the jargon!

    control centerControl Center

    The new control center is moving us closer to the way iOS functions on the iPhone. A quick swipe up will reveal the new control center which houses important device functions such as Airplane mode, battery life, silent mode and the do not disturb function. These functions are available on watchOS 2 but you have to go through many swipes to get to each. The new control center will definitely be the go to time saver for Apple Watch users. It’s great that all of these essentials are one swipe away now and not buried within Glances.

    dockDock and SOS

    Thankfully Apple has dropped the “Friends” feature, enabled by pressing the side button, for a much more useful dock. This section allows you to access your favorite apps even quicker than the hexagonal grid (which is still here, too). There can be up to ten apps within this app-switching menu. You can easily swipe through and edit your dock to house your favorite apps. My setup would probably include Workout, Mail, Timer and Now Playing.

    Another great addition is a feature called SOS. When you press and hold the side button it will bring up your specific medical information. The feature will also call he emergency services if your Watch is connected to your phone ,or use the internet if you’re on Wi-Fi. SOS will work around the world, no matter what country you are in (you edit the phone number). It will work great in emergencies as it connects with a new Medical ID feature now included in watchOS 3 that allows you to keep your emergency details and vital stats on your person, rather than just on your phone.

    messagesMessage Interface

    Apple will significantly update the messaging interface in watchOS 3. There will now be three available buttons you can use to respond to messages. The buttons make it easier to access emojis, dictation, sketching, taps, heartbeats, etc. The first option will give you access to emojis, the second button allows you to access common responses, dictation option or the ability to write a message via hand (which by all beta accounts sounds to be very accurate). The third button allows you to sketch your funny stick figure responses. The Scribble function will be available in multiple languages as well including Mandarin!

    activityActivity & Breathe

    On of my biggest disappointments of the Apple Watch has always been the workout application. We haven’t seen a specific change to the workout app itself but Apple has taken a different route with the Activity feature. You will now be able to create a bit of competition between friends and family by sharing your activity info. It means you can send your heart rate to one of your friends or send a message with running details attached to show off your awesome workout. Activity now also supports those in a wheelchair too. Apple has applied a number of major changes to the way Activity works on the Apple Watch for those who are in a wheelchair.

    The Breathe application will be welcome to most of us living in large cities with large traffic problems. The app is designed to take you trough easy breathing exercises to help you relax and recharge. You can set up smart notifications to remind you to use the app and you have the choice of doing workouts from one to five minutes long. It’s designed to be a no fuss feature to allow you to slow down a bit. You can even do it with your eyes closed as it works on haptic feedback.

     

     

    facesWatch Faces

    After all, isn’t that what a watch is supposed to be all about? The current watch face customization on watchOS 2 just takes too long and I end up using the same face for weeks on end. You can now swipe left or right to easily cycle through watch faces and even set your faces to change during certain times of the day (switch to Mickey Mouse over the weekends!). Apple will also be bringing a lot more options to the table and give the user more integration in terms of the information they would like to display on the watch face.

    We have mentioned or top 5 features coming with the new watchOS 3 update. What we haven’t mentioned (due to it not being a feature but probably still the most significant change) is that watchOS 3 will (reportedly) be up to 7 times faster than the current OS. That alone will reinvigorate my appreciation for my Apple Watch. Can’t wait for September!

    Let us know what you are looking forward to the most in the comment section below.

    Follow Jaco van der Walt on Twitter: @Jaco_vdWalt

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