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Hands-On With watchOS 3: Instant App Launching, Favorites Dock, New Watch Faces and More

watchOS 3, set to be released this fall, introduces some radical changes to the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. There are new apps and watch faces, interface tweaks overhaul the way we interact with watchOS, and a new feature for keeping apps running in the background allows for instant launch times.

Since most of us won't be able to check out watchOS 3 until the fall of 2016 following an extended beta testing period, we've created a video to highlight the must see features.

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Glances are gone in watchOS 3, replaced with a "dock" accessible by pressing the side button. 10 favorite first and third-party apps can be added to the dock, where they'll be kept continually up to date and able to launch in a second. Changing watch faces is done with a left and right swipe, while a downward swipe now brings up the Control Center.

Activity Sharing features allow Apple Watch owners to share workout and activity information with friends, and there are new options for Wheelchair users. A Breathe app guides users through daily deep breathing sessions, an Apple Watch can unlock a Mac, and Apple has added apps for Reminders, Find My Friends, and accessing one's heartbeat.

Watch faces support more complications, there are three new watch faces to choose from, including a new Activity watch face, and an SOS feature will make sure an option to get help in an emergency is always right at your fingertips. On the iPhone, there's a new Face Gallery for customizing Apple Watch faces, and watchOS 3 allows the Apple Watch to be located via Find My iPhone.

For full details on the new features coming in watchOS 3, make sure to check out our watchOS 3 roundup. Don't miss out on our previous videos, which have covered iOS 10 and macOS Sierra features:

- WWDC 2016 Overview in Seven Minutes
- iOS 10's Overhauled Lockscreen
- The New iOS 10 Photos App
- The New iOS 10 Messages App
- macOS Sierra - Siri
- iOS 10 Hidden Features

We've also got roundups for all of the upcoming operating systems, including iOS 10, macOS Sierra, and tvOS 10.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

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45 months ago

Thats what I thought. Thats dumb and defeats the whole purpose of Glances. So now we've ruined glances and forced the user to go back into the app to make sure they are always on the page they want to glance at.

FAIL


Trust me, you won't miss glances. Glances were slow and you couldn't scroll through them fast. The dock is a proper replacement for glances done right imo
Rating: 12 Votes
45 months ago
All very welcome improvements, especially the addition of the dock.
Rating: 10 Votes
45 months ago

So wait.. There are no more glances?


Correct.

The dock is a vastly better concept because the app is both glance-able AND background refreshed, so it will be more accurate and faster, AND it's all kept in memory so the apps you keep in the Dock should instantly launch.

Good riddance to glances for these reasons.
Rating: 9 Votes
45 months ago
I was really hoping for more interesting watch faces. Or maybe the ability to change color of the numbers and tick marks on the "Utility" watch face. Or the ability to change the color of the hands on the "Chronograph" watch face.
Rating: 6 Votes
45 months ago
I've been wondering this though - I'm glad glances are gone, good riddance. But is the friends wheel still here somewhere that I'm missing? It was kind of handy for giving a quick call to my parents if I needed to verify something on a shopping list...
Rating: 5 Votes
45 months ago
As an apple watch owner I really don't think we should have to wait for the fall for this. Especially given the garbage the current version is.
Rating: 5 Votes
45 months ago

Thats what I thought. Thats dumb and defeats the whole purpose of Glances. So now we've ruined glances and forced the user to go back into the app to make sure they are always on the page they want to glance at.

FAIL


The apps update on the dock, your don't have to click to go in to them.
[doublepost=1466475863][/doublepost]

[doublepost=1466473552][/doublepost]Lipstick on a pig?


Not even close, Apple Watch is growing up a lot with watchOS 3.
Rating: 4 Votes
45 months ago
you've got a clear cover on that demo watch... seriously lame.
Rating: 4 Votes
45 months ago

Trust me, you won't miss glances. Glances were slow and you couldn't scroll through them fast. The dock is a proper replacement for glances done right imo

Agreed, now that you can use the Digital Crown to scroll between apps, it feels smooth and reliable. Plus you get to access the full app's functionality instead of a mini-version of the already mini-app.
Rating: 4 Votes
45 months ago
One of the most used features of my Watch is the Now Playing glance. It allows these quick actions: raise to wake, flick up for glances, tap once to pause or skip; or raise, flick, and scroll the Digital Crown to quickly adjust volume. It works for Music, Overcast, TV Shows, Movies, YouTube ... It works while using or AirPlay or Bluetooth or HDMI as well.

It seems the new watchOS 3 interaction would be: raise to wake, press side button, tap app to go full screen, then tap/scroll for desired action. An extra step to me means slower interactions with my Watch, not what I was hoping.
Rating: 3 Votes

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