So Far, with… WatchOS 3 and iOS 10

Can’t resist a beta — here are my thoughts after a month or so with the new version of WatchOS. And in many ways, what feels like a new version of Apple Watch altogether.

WatchOS 3

  • I actually use apps again: one click on the long side button and the handful I use regularly are all sitting right there. Tap on the one I like and it loads absolutley instantly. Finally.
  • Watchfaces become use cases: I’m much more likely to flick to a watch face I have made especially for exercise, including shortcuts to key apps. In the evenings, a flick on the screen puts me immediately into an album of favourite photos, which I consider a kind of advertising of things I love about my life to myself.
  • As a result: Most of the time I actually use a watchface with just the time and date on it. It means less cognitive load, fewer distracting icons all the time.
  • New notifications dot: Before, I found myself often looking twice to work out if there was a notification or not. Now, the whole screen kind of shifts down to reveal the red dot, making it much much more noticeable.
  • Scribble surprisingly satisfying: If you told me I would write words, letter by letter, drawing them on my watch, I wouldn’t have believed you. But it’s fast enough to feel effective and worth doing to go beyond generic responses (which I’ve never quite felt comfortable with.)

iOS 10

  • I actually use widgets: Widgets are a bit like the new doc on WatchOS. Instead of feeling hidden away, when I pick up my phone (which automatically turns the screen on now), you can just swipe left and immediately access many of the things I check the most. Things like Swarm check-ins, calendar info, Siri app suggestions, favourite contacts are seeing way more use.
  • Springiness and speed: The latest beta seems to have accelerated the animations when you open a folder or app. The effect is a general feeling of zip to everything, which is always a little more satifying.
  • Updates to the Messages app are fun: but it’s just not where I mainly keep conversations going. I’ve started playing with Snapchat a bit more simply because it’s a great little time waster, specially with two of you recording — and the feeling with the new animations, drawing, gifs etc is similar.