For most Apple Watch wearers, the much-anticipated and slightly-delayed arrival of watchOS 2.0, brings much curiosity. We heard about which features were on the way, got excited about them, and now they have finally arrived.
But is watchOS 2.0 all we hoped it would be? It seems that most would agree that it is, and in certain respects makes the Apple Watch feel brand new again.
Finally we have some beautiful new watch faces to choose from and Apple did not disappoint in this area. First, you can select from six gorgeous landscapes from around the world that display in a time lapse mode. So, if you choose Paris or Shanghai, for example, you will see the scene change as it gets dark and then light again. To choose one, just click Customize for this watch face category and then scroll through the scenic options for the one you like.
The next two new watch face options revolve around your photos. You can either pick one specific image to use or choose a certain photo album from your library and every time you raise your wrist you will see a different picture. These are wonderful options and the photos really do display nicely on the small screen, with rich colors and enough detail.
Note that these new watch faces do not support the handy Complications feature that we will discuss next. But, it is still nice to have new faces with pretty scenes as well as the option to choose your own photos.
For those unfamiliar with the term, Complications are bits of information that display on the watch face. They can include your battery percentage, current temperature, today’s date, or activity goals. With watchOS 2, Complications can now be used for apps. So for example, if you use The Weather Channel app, you can have a Complication displaying information from it on your watch face.
You can enable and disable available Complications using the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. When customizing your watch face, as with the original watchOS, you can scroll through which Complication should appear in which spot. So far, the Complications work well. However, it will take some time for app updates to occur to get a full set to choose from.
This is really a pretty awesome addition to the Apple Watch and as more apps are updated to include Complications, the feature is only set to get more useful.
Time Travel is a very interesting feature. It allows you to turn the Digital Crown to go forward or backward in time on your Apple Watch. When you are finished with your Time Travel, just press the Digital Crown.
One example of how to use Time Travel uses the weather complication. Instead of opening your weather app for tonight’s forecast, turn that Digital Crown to see how much the temperature will drop.
One of the most convenient uses for this is checking your schedule. For example, if you have your calendar events displayed on your watch face, turning the crown forward will show you what is coming up. There is no longer a need to open the calendar app to check quickly for appointments, events, and meetings.
Friends, Mail, and Colorful Sketches
There are also a few tweaks to the way watchOS handles communication. You can now add more friends than you had previously by swiping the screen to see another 12 contacts. You can add contacts directly from your watch or organize groups using the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
You can now also reply to emails from your Apple Watch using voice dictation, by sending an emoji, or by selecting one of the preset replies.
When it comes to communication on your wrist, the Apple Watch provides a fun, lighthearted way to let someone know you are thinking of them. If your friend or family member has an Apple Watch too, you can send little sketches you draw right on your watch.
With the watchOS 2 update, you can now pick from a palette of colors that can all be used on the same drawing. So, let this bring out the artist in you as you put some blue eyes and a red mouth on your smiley face.
Wallet with Apple Pay
What used to be called Passbook is now known as Wallet in iOS 9. This convenient app holding your debit, credit, store, rewards, and gift cards (using Gyft) is easily accessible on your Apple Watch. Use your wrist to pay for groceries, household goods, or prescriptions wherever Apple Pay is accepted.
Heading out to dinner or the shopping mall with your gift cards? Using Gyft (free), those can be stored in your Apple Wallet as well and display your balance, pin, and a useful scannable code for checkout time.
“Hey Siri” may become a more common phrase than you thought as you can ask Siri for even more help now on your wrist. Asking for a Glance to be opened, a tip to be calculated, and a workout to begin, all prompt a very responsive Siri. It is easy to see how having your handy personal assistant do these types of tasks is beneficial with voice commands.
Although Siri is responsive, she does not always quite understand you fully. Despite thinking I asked her to “open glands weather” rather than “open Glance weather” she still did what I wanted.
That New Watch Feeling
The features that Apple Watch wearers can now use with the watchOS 2 update are all fine additions to the wearable device. They just work well and bring more wonderful options for convenience, flexibility, and communication to the watch.
Still not sure if you want an Apple Watch? Take a look at our original review or feel free to ask some questions in the comments below.