Tim Cook kicked off Apple’s Fall event touting all the great things about Apple Watch: Siri, “healthy obsessions” with the activity rings, and a 97 percent customer satisfaction rate.
So what’s next for the smartwatch? The biggest aesthetic changes are the offerings of gold and rose gold (pink) anodized aluminum cases. We’ll also see a continuation of the stainless steel watch with a Product (RED) band, and as discussed in WWDC, we’ll get third-party complications (icons on the watch faces), transit directions in Maps, and custom watch faces.
This all comes with WatchOS 2, which will be available September 16 as a free upgrade, and gives the Watch the ability to run apps on the device itself rather than just transferring data from the iPhone. This opens the doors to more robust third party apps, and Apple is finally giving developers access to hardware like the speaker, microphone, and heart rate monitor.
These third-party apps are being given a serious spin, with a big pitch towards doctors and medical practitioners. The third-party medical app AirStrip lets doctors monitor the health metrics of pregnant women remotely, and give realtime data readouts of patients wearing Apple Watches. Doctors can send this data to other specialists using their own Apple Watches, straight from within the app’s UI itself, and it’s all HIPAA compliant. (I’m sure we’ll see a lot of thinkpieces about this one.) Facebook Messenger is also getting a facelift, with more options to respond on the Watch.
Apple is also releasing new watch faces (in addition to their previously-announced picture faces), in tandem with their partnership with French leather manufacturer Hermes. The watch faces will feature Hermes branding, and compliment a new leather watch band made by Hermes that wraps around the wrist twice.