the WIRED verdict (Wired UK)


What’s new in watchOS2 for Apple Watch, and what does that means for WIRED’s verdict on the increasingly popular wearable?

The Apple Watch has made a big impact on the world of wearables since its launch earlier this year, quickly becoming one of the biggest selling gadgets available for your wrist, and clearly inspiring its competitors’ latest efforts.

But although the Watch was widely well-received by critics, with WIRED product editor Jeremy White declaringhaving a second screen for your iPhone is most definitely useful, and the attention to detail given to the minimalist design and UI of the Apple Watch is laudable”, it was not greeted with universal praise. 

Expecting Apple to stand still was an obvious mistake, however; in our review WIRED added that “if Apple keeps improving on the Watch experience… it may well win me, and everyone else, over”. And, as we discovered first at WWDC in June, that’s exactly what Apple has done with watchOS2, its full software overhaul of the platform.

Available for all Apple Watches, watchOS2 brings some huge upgrades to the Watch and to developers wanting to more fully exploit its potential. 

Below Michael Rundle, editor of, runs through what’s new in watchOS2, while Jeremy White delivers his verdict on what it means for the Watch as a product.


What’s New?

Michael Rundle, Editor,

The key feature in watchOS2 is the addition of native apps; instead of only running as interactive ‘views’ of apps running on your iPhone, apps can now run directly on the Watch. This means developers can access “the heart rate sensor, accelerometer, microphone, Digital Crown, Taptic Engine, and software including audio and video playback and animation and layout” according to Apple. So expect lots of new experiences and vastly more interesting apps to hit the Store soon.

Siri is improved with new types of voice commands, the Watch can now use custom faces with your own photos (including animated ‘LivePhotos’ taken on the new iPhone 6S), and third party ‘complications’ are also introduced allowing you to put your own choice of live information on the Watch face. The Digital Crown can now be used to ‘go back in time’, or rather to browse past news, emails and sports scores, and move ahead to see upcoming appointments.

Third-party workouts are now possible with apps like Strava and Runtastic, and the tracking of these now supports the Watch’s heart rate monitor and activity tracking hardware. All of your activity is now shareable via Messages, Mail and other services from the Watch app on your phone, and you can also connect to WiFi on the Watch while your phone is safe at home, and receive iMessages, Digital Touch communiques, use Siri and make WiFi calls.

Communication options are broadened with new ways to reply to emails directly from the Watch: they include the ability to send and receive FaceTime Audio calls, to add new friends and organise them into groups, and use multiple colours with Digital Touch sketches. There are also new animated Emojis.

The Watch now supports transit directions in London, has a new Beats One button in Music for quick access to streaming tracks (as well as your favourites) via the Music app, and you can add boarding passes and tickets directly to the Watch. Finally the Watch now has a nice Nightstand mode, to use it as a subtle alarm clock at night. It’s a big and impressive package, and potentially — in terms of native apps — transformative in ways that will take time to be revealed.


The WIRED Verdict

Jeremy White, WIRED Product Editor

Wired readers may recall we had mixed feelings about the first iteration of the Apple Watch and, inherently, its first operating system. Design-wise it looked great (particularly in the flesh), if a little thick, and the clever, quality straps were a triumph. The digital crown worked a treat, too.

So, why was the review mixed? Well, most of the Watch’s issue were OS-based – limited launch app selection, Wrist Raise Activation issues – and at the time WIRED stated that we were sure Apple would be addressing most of these, ahem, complications with a software update very soon.

That was back in mid-May. It’s now mid-September, and for the Watch devotees I’m sure it’s felt like a long, four-month wait for OS2.

Perhaps the most important change is that native apps can now run directly on Apple Watch, supposedly giving an uptick in performance, and apps can also utilise the hardware, including the heart rate sensor, accelerometer, microphone, Digital Crown and Taptic Engine. Software, too, including audio and video playback as well as animation is now up for grabs to developers.

And a number of apps are indeed taking advantage of this new access, stretching their legs in the OS and adding their data to, for example, the exercise rings – so now apps such as Runtastic will include heart rate monitoring and your workouts will also count towards that all-important exercise ring in Apple’s Activity app. This is great, and indeed works as Wired went to the gym and bounced between selected apps choosing favourite ones for different exercise sets.

Other third-party apps will now be available to be added as “complications” to your custom watch face, such as lifestyle app Lifesum – which also has another new OS 2 feature: Time Travel. This is a somewhat grand moniker for the action of turning the Digital Crown back or forward to see, for example, what’s happening next in your day or what has happened in the last day. It’s a neat little trick and WIRED found it marginally useful to track what diary appointments were coming up.

There are still some apps conspicuous by their absence from the Watch App store, such as WhatsApp and an official Sonos controller. How great would it be to have the Sonos controller on your wrist as you walk round the house? WIRED is always hunting for nearest phone/tablet to make changes to what’s playing. This was understandable at launch, but it’s high time these companies got on board and pulled their developing finders out.

Another change that WIRED found superb was the addition of Transit to maps coupled with that now even more responsive Siri interface – WIRED took the train to London from Hertfordshire, asking the Watch by voice only to plan a route and give directions. “Take me to Oxford Circus in the West End by train” was all WIRED offered as instruction, and within seconds the correct course was mapped out, complete with accurate train times and info on changes needed.

Now, couple this with the best feature (in WIRED’s opinion) of the Apple Watch –– the Taptic Engine directions tapped onto ones wrist as you walk around following the directions from your iPhone – and you have a magnificent digital guide at your beck and call in OS 2.

Live photos (the new iOS 9 picture feature that captures 1.5 secs of video either side of each snap you take, then animates the image on command) set as the Watch home screen are fun, but a touch lacklustre as the resolution is not fantastic, plus the animation somewhat jerky and not quite as smooth as seen in the official demos. But it’s a nice idea, nonetheless.

There are host of other improvements and changes, as described above, all for the better, Wired is pleased to report – though that Wrist Raise Activation still has a niggling lag to it, making it obvious to all around you are checking the screen. Wired really wanted that one fixed.

But where this ultimately takes Apple Watch remains to be seen as developers get their teeth into these new capabilities – they will have to raise their game, too, because Wired has the sneaking suspicion that Apple Watch is capable of so much more than what we are currently experiencing.

OS 2 undoubtedly makes Apple Watch a better timepiece, a better smartwatch. However, as you look at all the improvements you have to conclude that most should have been in OS 1. Apple is definitely getting there, just slower than we’d like.

For now, download the update and pretend you just bought the Watch – you’ll feel much, much better about it than you did a few months ago.

If the article suppose to have a video or a photo gallery and it does not appear on your screen, please Click Here

21 September 2015 | 5:11 pm – Source:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.