CUPERTINO, Calif.—Apple’s watchOS hasn’t been known for big, flashy feature updates in recent years, but 2023 could be an exception. During the company’s annual WWDC keynote, Apple announced a ship date for watchOS—and a couple of notable new additions for Apple Watch users.
The main focus of the watchOS 10 update is the addition of widgets, which are similar to those previously seen in iOS and iPadOS. Using widgets, Watch wearers will be able to access some information and features of Watch apps without actually launching or browsing around in those apps. Widgets will appear on the watch face by just turning the digital crown and will appear in a “smart stack,” and you can long-press on the stack to add more widgets. Apple demoed widgets for the weather, stocks, the calendar, fitness, timers, and complications, and developers will be able to add more, too.
Apple also spruced up some of the built-in apps. The activity app now has corner icons for awards and other fitness tracking, and there are new full-screen views. These corner icons will be a theme in most of the new app designs. There are two new watch faces, a minimalistic color-based watch face called “palette,” and a licensed Snoopy & Woodstock watch face.
Apple wants to make its wearable “an even more essential” watch for cyclists. Watch OS 10 adds support for Bluetooth bike sensors, which show stats and a new workout page—not just on the watch but on your iPhone, too. Developers will have access to new motion data for activities like golf or tennis with a swing analyzer.
The Compass app is also getting some love and will now automatically generate two new waypoints: “A Last Cellular Connection Waypoint,” which tracks when you last connected to your carrier, and a “Last Emergency Call Waypoint,” which tracks when you last connected to any carrier, good for a 911 call. Both sound great for hikers. There’s also a new Elevation view with altimeter data, and Maps works offline now, too.
The WatchOS 10 developer beta starts today, with the public beta in July and a release this fall.