WWDC 2016

watchOS 3: Apple Watch gets faster without physical upgrades

The new Breathe app in watchOS 3 guides you through deep-breathing exercises.
The new Breathe app in watchOS 3 guides you through deep-breathing exercises. PHOTO: APPLE

Great news for Apple Watch users: Their smartwatch will be getting a performance boost with the upcoming watchOS 3.

Starting of apps on watchOS 3 will be seven times faster. No more waiting for ages to load apps.

There is now a Control Centre that you bring up by swiping from the bottom of the watch face. Like iOS, it gives you quick access to settings such as Airplane Mode, Mute and Do not disturb.

You might be asking, doesn't swiping up in watchOS 2 already let you access apps?

Apps are stored in a dock, which is accessed by pressing the side button. And pressing the side button no longer invokes the Friends list that not many use.

You can have up to 10 apps on the dock with an additional "Most Recent" app that you open.

Changing watch faces is so much easier now too. While you had to press and hold before swiping left and right to change watch faces in watchOS 2, you now just swipe left and right straightaway to do so.

There are also a few new native apps by Apple for watchOS 3. They include Reminders, Find My Friends, Home and Breathe.

The Breathe app is the most interesting one, as it guides you through a deep-breathing exercise with animation and gentle vibrations.

Great way to relax at the end of a stressful day.

On the Apple Watch app in iOS 10, there is a new My Faces gallery where you can customise watch faces easily. There are also new watch faces available, including Activity Digital, Activity Analog, Minnie Mouse and Numerals. My favourite is the minimalistic and classy Numerals watch face, which shows only the current hour number.

Unfortunately, there is still no third-party watch face support. That would have truly revolutionised the Apple Watch.

watchOS 3 will be available as a free update around September this year.

Trevor Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2016, with the headline 'watchOS 3: Apple Watch gets faster without physical upgrades'. Print Edition | Subscribe