Apple’s WWDC 2019 event is a month away, but we already know some of the major software changes coming in watchOS 6.
Stand-Alone App Store
Apple added cellular connectivity to the Apple Watch with the launch of the Series 3 in 2017, which made the device more independent from the iPhone, but you still had to install watch apps from the Apple Watch app on your phone. With watchOS 6, the watch App Store will be directly on the watch, so you can download apps on the go.
New Health Apps
As expected, watchOS 6 will have new features that will make the Apple Watch an even more capable health companion.
A period-tracking app, Cycles, and a pill reminder app, Dose, will automatically download to the watch when watchOS 6 rolls out as an over-the-air software update this fall.
Apple is playing catch-up with period-tracking; both Fitbit and Garmin offer similar features on their own smartwatches. Several third-party period-tracking apps are already available to download in the watchOS App Store. But Apple’s commitment to privacy could make its app more appealing. Other period-tracking apps have been found to leak data to Facebook and sell data to advertisers.
More Useful Apps
Apple reportedly plans to bring some its most-used iPhone apps, including Calculator, Voice Memos and Books, to the Apple Watch with this fall’s software upgrade. These apps will make the watch more useful, and reduce the need to pull out your iPhone to do basic tasks.
Apple is also enhancing app complications, or the at-a-glance details displayed on the watch face, with new information about audiobook status, hearing aid battery life and rain forecast data.
We’ll find out more details about what’s coming in watchOS 6 at the WWDC keynote June 3. But don’t expect to see the Apple Watch Series 5 just yet — Apple saves its Apple Watch hardware upgrades for the September iPhone event, and we expect that to be the case this year, too.