Apple should be unveiling watchOS 10 to the world at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 5, and we’ve got some leaked advance information on what to expect from the update.
As usual, reliable Mark Gurman at Bloomberg (opens in a new tab)watchOS 10 will feature a “new focus on widgets” in what is billed as “one of the biggest software updates since the original release” – so it looks like a major overhaul is in the offing.
You may remember that there used to be widgets called Glances on the original 2015 Apple Watch, but they have been discontinued over time. Now it seems they’re back and should be in place before the Apple Watch 9 arrives later this year.
Information at a glance
According to Gurman, the new widgets will combine elements of the old Glances with elements of the widgets that were introduced on the iPhone with iOS 14. The idea is for users to quickly view information without having to launch any actual applications.
This information may include weather forecasts, activity tracking, stock charts, calendar appointments, and so on. The style of these widgets will apparently be similar to the Siri watch face currently available in watchOS 9.
The digital crown on the Apple Watch could be used to launch widgets instead of the home screen in the future, says Gurman. He also believes that the new widget-heavy interface will be optional. We’ll find out for sure at WWDC 2023 next month.
Analysis: fixing the problem with applications
As Mark Gurman points out in his Power On newsletter, apps didn’t really take off on the Apple Watch. Users don’t open them, and as a result, it’s not worth spending developer time creating them – creating a feedback loop that’s hard to break out of.
Gurman points out the latest statistics showing that the iPhone App Store has 101 million monthly users in Europe, while the Apple Watch App Store has less than 1 million in the same region. This is a huge discrepancy and says a lot about how we tend to use smartwatches differently than smartphones.
While the Apple Watch is definitely one of the best smartwatches on the market, most of the time the features built into watchOS itself are used rather than third-party apps. In other words, you’re more likely to use a device for timekeeping or step tracking than calling yourself an Uber.
With widgets, Apple admits that it simultaneously offers developers a way to put useful data and updates in front of people – a bit like Dynamic Island introduced with the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.