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Widgets, Snoopy & Woodstock come to watchOS 10

Apple Watch owners look set to get an update to make their wearable that much more than just a clock on a wrist.

There are plenty of announcements at WWDC this week, from new portable Macs to Macs far less portable, and of course a very expensive VR headset on the way from Apple, but there are also the little things, or even the things for things that are little.

If you can read between the lines there, you might find your way to the Apple Watch, as Apple plans the next update coming in watchOS 10.

It might be hard to believe that we’re up to version 10 of Apple’s wearable operating system, even though the device isn’t ten years old. It’s actually eight, but Apple will still have the tenth watchOS ready for an Australian spring, likely alongside the iPhone 15 and a new generation of Apple Watch to replace the Series 8.

While new hardware is almost certainly guaranteed, it won’t be the only thing you have to look forward to. In fact, current Apple Watch owners can expect quite a few updates to arrive, as widgets rock up on the Apple wearable.

A new look and approach

Yes, much like how Apple has added widgets to the iPhone in recent years, the same style of micro-apps will be making their way to the much smaller screen of the Apple Watch, including the several widget block that is Smart Stack, allowing you to swipe between multiple views easily.

Outside of that, you can expect micro apps in the form of weather, calendar, maps, messages, and one for connected devices in your home, among others, with more to come from developers.

That will come courtesy of a new sense of design for Apple Watch apps and the interface, which Apple says will provide more information at a glance, something developers will also be able to use.

“With watchOS 10, we’ve redesigned the interface, allowing users to experience Apple Watch like never before,” said Alan Dye, Vice President of Human Interface Design at Apple.

“The update gives users the information that matters most to them at a glance, simplified navigation, and a new visual language that takes full advantage of the Apple Watch display,” he said.

Health features expanded

You can also expect new features for health tracking, with cycling workouts able to be kicked off for those who need it, covering heart rate zones, elevation, race routes, and a cycling speed view, plus calorie tracking for e-biking.

There’s also support for the Apple Watch to automatically connect to Bluetooth cycling accessories, including cadence and speed sensors, and other little gadgets you might use while cycling.

If big walks are more your thing, hikers can expect to find the compass in the Apple Watch doing more with watchOS 10, generate new waypoints connected with mobile reception, estimating the last place for making a call or checking messages with the Last Cellular Connection Waypoint, while an emergency equivalent will be offered with a Last Emergency Call Waypoint, providing where you should be able to make an emergency call if need be.

Expect a new Elevation view to show saved waypoints in 3D using altimeter data, while US owners will be the first to show a topographic map of areas on the watch, a feature we expect will be trickled around the world gradually.

Apple Fitness+ will also get custom plans for workouts, and there are some new mental health features, as well, with a Mindfulness app to let you log emotions and moods quickly using the watch.

And if developers want to play around with the watchOS 10 API, there are sporty things that can work there. The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra both have sensors that can be used to pick up on swings with either a golf club or a tennis racket, while that custom workout plan can be connected via an API, as well.

New faces and availability

Oh, and there are also new watch faces on the way, as well.

While some of these will sport new colours in an analogue clock style, at least one other will bring the Apple Watch screen to life in a cute and fun way that echoes the great Mickey and Minnie watch face Apple has offered from the beginning.

Mickey and Minnie will stick around, but Snoopy and Woodstock from Peanuts will arrive in their own watchface, playing with the watch hands and reading to weather conditions, too.

Apple will also had a way to share contact information simply by bumping a watch to an iPhone or a watch to another watch, and there’s more on the way, as well.

But it won’t rock up until likely September, probably around a new iPhone and Apple Watch. If you like to live dangerously, though, a beta is on the way to let you do just that.

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