This year, while Apple Watch hardware is anticipated to remain largely unchanged, the focus is on delivering exciting software improvements. With watchOS 10, Apple aims to captivate Apple Watch users through innovative software offerings rather than relying on significant hardware updates.
One key area of focus for watchOS 10 will be the integration of widgets. Bloomberg indicates that widgets will play a central role in the Apple Watch's interface, signifying a shift in how users interact with apps and services. Notably, Apple is reportedly considering changing the function of the Digital Crown. In the current watchOS version, pressing the Digital Crown takes users to the home screen. However, watchOS 10 may utilize the Digital Crown to open the new widgets interface instead, resembling the functionality of the "Glances" feature from the initial Apple Watch release.
The renewed emphasis on widgets is likely driven by two factors. Firstly, there has been a decline in standalone Apple Watch apps over the years, with major companies discontinuing their Apple Watch app offerings. Secondly, the prevalence of widgets on the iPhone and iPad Home Screens makes it easier for developers to bring their existing widgets to the Apple Watch. Leveraging the WidgetKit framework, which powers widgets on iPhone and iPad, developers can seamlessly extend their widget structure to the Apple Watch.
Beyond widgets, Apple's plans for watchOS 10 encompass several additional enhancements. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is developing a journaling app for iOS 17, which is expected to integrate with Apple Watch in some capacity. Moreover, Apple intends to revamp various watchOS apps to leverage the larger display of the rumored Apple Watch Ultra.
In addition to watchOS 10, WWDC is anticipated to provide a preview of Apple's long-awaited mixed-reality headset. This headset is expected to offer features such as fitness and meditation, aligning well with the existing capabilities of the Apple Watch.
With watchOS 10, Apple aims to invigorate Apple Watch users by introducing significant software upgrades and focusing on widgets as a key component of the user experience. The forthcoming WWDC event promises to unveil exciting developments that will further enhance the functionality and appeal of the Apple Watch ecosystem.