Apple is set to launch watchOS 10, a significant software update for its watch lineup. The update will focus on making widgets a central part of the device’s interface, marking a significant change to the watch’s operating system.
The development, as reported by Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, is a deviation from the company’s previous strategy, which favoured notifications and multitasking capabilities over widgets and frequent contacts.
WatchOS 10 is to debut at WWDC 2023 in June, alongside the likes of iOS 17, macOS 14, the 15-inch MacBook Air, and, of course, the likely, Apple’s much-anticipated mixed-reality headset. Apple’s new widgets system will be a combination of the old watchOS Glances system and the style of widgets introduced in iOS 14 on the iPhone. The interface will allow users to scroll through different widgets, such as activity tracking, weather, stock tickers, and calendar appointments, rather than launching apps.
According to Gurman, the new interface will look similar to the Siri Watch face which was introduced in watchOS 4, though it will be available as an overlay for any watch face. Further, Apple is also testing the idea of changing the functions of some of the watch’s buttons. For example, a press of the Digital Crown may open up widgets instead of the home screen.
With the overhaul, Apple’s aim is to provide quicker access to bits of information, something that watchOS Glances had offered in the past. Gurman also suggests that Apple may consider making the new interface optional at first, as some users might want to stick with the interface they’ve come to love over the years.
The overhaul also comes amid low adoption rates of Apple Watch apps. The company has struggled to get third-party developers on board, and the Watch App Store has fewer than a million monthly users in Europe compared to 101 million on the iPhone, as shared by Bloomberg.