At its developer conference in June, Apple will showcase the latest versions of its operating systems for the iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac Wallet. But, it appears to be watchOS that is getting a functional overhaul.
As Apple plans to revamp the Apple Watch user interface with watchOS 10, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman outlines the changes to expect in his weekly Power On newsletter. He asserts that Apple will bring back widgets on the world’s most popular watch.
The company originally designed watchOS around four main areas, including watch faces, Glances widgets, home screen, and frequent contacts. However, it then removed widgets and frequent contacts to emphasize notifications and multitasking capabilities. The new update will therefore reintroduce widgets and make them a main component of the interface.
Not only is Apple bringing back the widgets, but it’s also planning to make it a major element of the Apple Watch interface. The next watchOS 10 update will be previewed at WWDC 2023 which kicks off on June 5.
Gurman refers to the Apple Watch widgets as a combination of the Glances system, which was part of the Apple Watch, and the widgets currently found on the iPhone. Instead of having to open apps to get information, users will go through a stack of widgets that display data related to the weather, stock market, user’s calendar, and more. Widgets will overlay any user-selected watch face on a compatible Apple Watch model.
The biggest change to the Apple Watch in 2023
A change that may be coming to watchOS 10 would change the function of the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown. Currently, pressing the button takes you to the home screen, but Gurman says Apple could ask users to press the button to open watch widgets instead.
As Gurman notes, Apple’s decision shows the company has realized that the iPhone’s app-centric platform doesn’t work as well on a watch where the user wants to quickly see the latest information without having to wasting time looking for where to find them.
The Apple Watch doesn’t have a particularly large selection of apps compared to other Apple devices. In a legal filing by Apple in Europe, the company says the Apple Watch App Store has less than 1 million monthly visitors to that market, while 101 million iPhone users visit the App Store each month. (still in this region).
According to Gurman, watchOS 10 update will be the biggest change to the Apple Watch this yearas the 9-series models are unlikely to get major hardware updates.