That’s according to MacRumors (opens in new tab), which reports that developer Khaos Tian (opens in new tab) has discovered several updates to the App Store manifest, and now contains references to several mysterious app bundles.
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If the information holds to be true, the Apple Watch could be about to shift further away from being a mere iPhone accessory, offering more standalone applications in a more independent software ecosystem. While there's not much to go on, Tian has highlighted a new App Store profile that refers to a number of unannounced 'Nano' entries.
'Nano' typically refers to watchOS apps, with the included entries thereby seeming to hint at new watchOS-native versions of both the Contacts (opens in new tab) and Tips (opens in new tab) apps that are found on other Apple devices, including those based on iOS and iPadOS.
Looks like someone deployed the new profile for App Store too early? Want to guess what “https://t.co/nhhpJFmZbJ.Mind” is on watchOS? pic.twitter.com/BarzoJtovqJune 5, 2021
In what perhaps marks the most intriguing of these new manifest updates is one that makes reference to a 'Mind' app that isn't available on existing Apple products.
Once again, there's very little to go on, but some form of a mental health or mindfulness app would track with recent reports of watchOS 8 getting better health-tracking, amongst several other new health tools.
So, while this remains pure speculation for now, it hints at a possible path forward to a freer Apple Watch. The company certainly made vast strides towards greater independence with watchOS 7's Family Setup (opens in new tab), enabling kids to use an Apple Watch that's linked to their parents' iPhone.
But unlike the run-up to watchOS 7's reveal, there haven't been any major watchOS 8 leaks relating to software details. And though we might not bank on total autonomy for future Apple Watches, it does seem that the new software is inching closer to that place.
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