Apple wants Widgets to be a core part of watchOS 10
watchOS 10 will have a major impact on how people will use the Apple Watch. One of the areas that Apple has focussed its effort on is Widgets.
It is not a completely alien concept to the wearable, Apple had a similar feature on the original Apple Watch that debuted in 2015. It was called Glances, these were basically customizable widgets that summarized specific details such as the weather, battery, calendar, maps, etc. Tapping on a Glance would open its corresponding app or a screen with more information.
While the feature was useful, Apple abandoned widgets, to instead focus on apps, notifications and multitasking. This also saw many apps leaving the Apple Watch, but quite frankly, there weren't many developers for watchOS in the first place. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that the Cupertino company has readjusted its strategy to focus on Widgets. They will be a core part of watchOS 10.
watchOS 10 will bring a new widgets system
The new widgets system will allow users to scroll through various options such as fitness activity, weather, calendar, etc., just like the old Glances. But there is a difference, they won't be used to launch apps, the new widgets will be similar to the ones in iOS 14.
As far as the design is concerned, Gurman says that the interface will be akin to Siri's watch face that debuted in watchOS 4 (refer to the image below). He says that the UI will be available as an overlay for any watch face, and that it would be similar to widget stacks that users can create on iOS and iPadOS. So, we could create a page of multiple widgets packed into one.
Image credit: Apple.
Apple is also changing how users can operate the watch using the buttons. The Digital Crown will serve as a shortcut to access the home screen with a single press. watchOS 10 could change this gesture to open the widgets panel. This could cause some confusion among existing users, so the new interface could actually be offered as an optional UI, at least initially.
Apple recently disclosed the number of users who accessed its App Store in Europe, and while there were over 101 million iPhone users, there were less than a million users who actively use the watch App Store. The company wants to attract more third-party apps to the platform, which could likely be the reason why it is overhauling the widgets system. Rumors indicate that Apple is prepping an AI-powered health coach for the iPhone, and this app, which is likely a subscription-based service, will be closely tied to the Apple Watch's health related data.
The upcoming Apple Watch Series could be revealed in Fall along with the iPhone 15 Series, but the next-gen wearable is not expected to have any significant changes in terms of the hardware. The company has been working on adding more health related features to the watch, it could bring a basic blood pressure detection feature in the next year or so. It is also working on a sensor to detect blood sugar levels, but it is still in an early phase, so it may not be available for a few years.
Apple is set to announce watchOS 10 at WWDC 2023 in June, alongside iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS 14. The company is also rumored to launch its first mixed-reality headset with xrOS, and a new 15-inch MacBook Air.