watchOS - definition

Glossary

WatchOS refers to the name of Apple's Operating System for the Apple Watch.

Over its short history, the user interface has 'pivoted' several times as Apple learns and understands how users interact with this category of device.

WatchOS is a touch based OS but is supplemented by a rotating Digital Crown that allows the user to scroll through content without their fingers obscuring the display.

Version History

watchOS 1

Released April 24, 2015

  • Came with 9 stock watch faces
  • Characterized by app icons appearing in a floating circular arrangement
  • Apple Pay support
  • 20 stock apps including Siri and a workout app
  • Messages app displays Emoji's and novel tap based messages

watchOS 2

Released September 21, 2015

  • Nightstand mode for use during its nightly charge
  • Supported Wi-Fi calling without an iPhone for supporting carriers
  • Additional watch faces and ability for user to use their photos
  • Siri improvements
  • Enhanced SDK allowing developers to create better and faster apps.
  • Activity & workout improvements

watchOS 3

Released September 13, 2016

  • Supported the new Series 2 Apple Watch
  • Introduced the 'dock' concept, accessed via the side button, allowing quick access to 10 apps
  • Introduced Control Center similar to iPhone
  • Added support for Apple HomeKit
  • Activity & Workout improvements
  • New watch faces
  • MacOS will now automatically unlock when it detects a users Apple Watch
  • Theater Mode stops the raise to wake feature in a darkened theater

watchOS 4

Released September 19, 2017

  • Supported the new Series 3 Apple Watch
  • New watch faces including a Siri watch face that provides dynamic information based on time of day
  • Redesigned Dock featuring vertically arranged apps
  • Improved performance for 3rd party apps
  • Improved music app
  • Enhanced activity and fitness challenges with links to compatible fitness equipment such as treadmills

watchOS 5 (beta)

Expected to be released September, 2018

New Features

  • Challenge a friend to 7-day competition with alerts telling you how far ahead or behind you are
  • Automatic workout detection
  • New Yoga and Hiking workouts
  • Advanced Running Features including pace alerts, split times and cadence.
  • Podcasts now supported with automatic syncing
  • Walkie-Talkie for one-to-one conversations with anyone with a compatible Apple Watch
  • Enhanced Siri watch face, now compatible with third party apps
  • Improved notifications. Respond right within notifications. Grouped notificiations
  • View web content within messages
  • Enhanced Do Not Disturb based on time or until you leave a specific location

Related terms: