Yesterday, Apple presented this year’s WWDC keynote with pomp, show, flair, and jazz hands (yes, we are taking a dig at their highly scripted and rehearsed skit!). In it, they showed us many ‘significant’ updates to their already sophisticated software. Among them was the watchOS 10.
In my opinion, watchOS 10 does most of what its predecessors did, with some improvements and additions. It’s like using ChatGPT. You take the thing and just rephrase it. A little change here, a little change there. Sure, the additions are nice, but Apple is taking too long to solve the jigsaw puzzle that is the watchOS.
Yup, More Health Stuff! Yay…
Hey, I’m not saying they shouldn’t add more health-related features; just stop giving it to us in easy installments, you know. They keep adding one or two things to the health apps suite every year. This year it was Cycling and Hiking.
The features in itself are pretty cool. If you just watched Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar and are now amped up to take the rusty old bicycle and record a sick training montage, this is for you! The cycling activity lets you monitor everything from putting you in power zones (their version of Dragon Ball’s power levels) to the cadence of your form. While the Hiking app gives you a detailed compass with waypoints to the nearest SOS areas and network tracking, and a topographic map with stops, and trail details
Pretty sure they have something else in their pockets, too. Well, we gotta wait a year for it. That’s the Apple way!
See Bright, Think Bright!
Cycling and Hiking are not the only health features we got this time. But these are different enough to get their own categorization.
First up, vision health. This feature tells you how long you spend under daylight and how far away you are from your screen. They did this to minimize the risk of vision issues, mainly myopia. Cool, right? I thought so, too. That was until they introduced an AR/VR headset that basically tries to replace your eyes with an 8k screen.
The other side of this Apple-shaped coin is the mental health aspect. The Mindfulness app tracks your mood and emotions, telling you how different health areas affect you. No, they are not monitoring you with spy cameras (or are they?). They do this by asking you standard questions and recommending you talk to someone if needed.
Of all the things they did for watchOS 10, these were the most important ones for me. It’s cool ideas implemented in a cool way.
Widgets! Or are they?
It is called the Smart Stack, not widgets. It shows you widget-like windows on the home screen! Woah, that’s amazing! Right, guys?
Sarcasm aside, the new update lets you place any relevant panel into any portrait. See what I was talking about. Portrait mode was introduced in the last update. So should have been this feature, but they waited for a year!
Showing more skill than a Tik Tok chef, Apple sugarcoats this minor upgrade by saying you can view more info in these widgets. And that is true. You can actually see and do all kinds of stuff. Control music, stopwatch, timers, view weather updates, and shenanigans. But, again, this should have come with the Portrait mode as an accessory (like charging adaptors with iPhones!).
Speaking of Portrait mode, Apple, as usual, introduced two more interactive watch faces. One is called Palette, which changes colors as time passes, and one with Snoopy and Woodstock doing their usual cute things.
Now, here’s my honest opinion. watchOS 10 shouldn’t exist. Or at least this version of the OS. All these features should have been added to watchOS 9 as mini updates. More updates like Name drops, Offline Maps, and support for Group Facetime audio make it a bittersweet, more like citrusy, update for us.
watchOS 10 should have got some new things, though. I don’t know what Apple could have put in it, but they are Apple; they could have pulled something out of their hats. For now, we are stuck with the beta of watchOS 10 on the Apple Watch Series 4 or later coming next month.
Well, all eyes are on watchOS 11 now, I guess. Maybe they will do something innovative, maybe just add another piece to this puzzle. Anyway, we’ll see next year!👋