How the Apple Watch could return to its roots
Glances were ahead of their time
Welcome back to Multicore for Tuesday, May 2nd.
Almost all the hype ahead of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference next month has focused on the reveal of the company's VR headset. A new report this week, however, suggests significant changes are coming to an Apple platform that has been stagnant for several years in terms of its software design.
Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:
Apple Inc. is set to give its watch lineup one of the biggest software updates since the original version — with a new focus on widgets and fundamental changes to how the device works.
When the company launched the original Apple Watch in 2015, watchOS was built around four main areas: the watch faces, a widgets interface called Glances, the home screen filled with app icons, and an area to access frequent contacts. Within a few years, Apple adjusted the strategy, ditching widgets and frequent contacts in favor of highlighting notifications and multitasking capabilities.
Throughout the changes, apps remained core to the Apple Watch. The best way to get information on the device — besides viewing watch-face complications — is still to launch apps. To make that as easy as possible, the home screen is accessible with a single press of the Digital Crown, the watch’s most prominent button.
But now Apple is trying something different. As part of watchOS 10, the company is planning to bring back widgets and make them a central part of the interface. This new strategy will debut at WWDC in June, alongside the unveiling of iOS 17, macOS 14, the 15-inch MacBook Air, and, of course, the much-anticipated mixed-reality headset.
Gurman goes on to say that Apple is "testing the idea" of assigning the Digital Crown button to launch widgets, instead of its current functionality where it opens the list or grid of installed Watch apps.
It's hard to comment on operating system leaks without seeing the implementation. But as Gurman points out, this not only sounds like a big change to the way watchOS works today, but a welcome return to the way it was originally conceived.