WWDC 2015: Apple Watch Gets Native Apps And Activation Lock With watchOS 2

Apple outlines first major update for Apple watch, just six weeks after launch

Just six weeks after it first launched, Apple has already announced the first major software update for the Apple Watch, promising developers the opportunity to create native applications for the smartwatch.

With watchOS 2, developers will be able to access the device’s microphone, audio speaker, digital crown, taptic engine, healthcare data and video playback features, with a developers beta available immediately.

“For us, this is a giant moment,” said Tim Cook, Apple CEO at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. “This is how it felt when we opened the App Store.

“We believe that by opening up the platform, you will open up new and powerful uses that we can only begin to imagine.”

Apple Watch native apps

apple watchThe update, which will be available in the Autumnfor end users, also adds support for FaceTime audio calls, health and fitness applications and new Siri features. For example, users can now control HomeKit devices using the voice-activated personal assistant.

A new nightstand mode allows the device to act as a conventional bedroom alarm clock, while users can also use photos to create custom timepieces and add ‘complications’ such as flight details, weather or game scores. Another nifty feature is the ability to ‘time travel’ using the digital crown, seeing what events are happening at a certain time and other information, such as the weather.

watchOS 2 will also enable many of the new features added to iOS 9, including Transit support and the new ‘Wallet’ app which will replace Passbook.

But perhaps one of the biggest introductions is ‘Activation Lock’, which prevents another user from wiping or activating the device if it is lost or stolen. Apple came under criticism recently from those who believed the absence of a theft deterrent made Apple Watch owners targets for criminals.

The Apple Watch was released in the UK in April alongside 3,000 applications and was first revealed to the world last September. It is Apple’s first new product category since the iPad, and the first since the death of Steve Jobs. It is also the first device totally designed by Sir Jonathan Ive.

There are three different versions (or collections) of Watch, each available in two sizes and two colours, and a variety of bracelet options. Prices start from £299 but rise to £13,000 for the most premium models.

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