WWDC 2016: watchOS 3 will come with many performance improvements, new native apps and more!

WWDC 2016: watchOS 3 will come with many performance improvements, new native apps and more!

Apple's developer conference in 2016 started in a different way: remembering the 50 killed in the Orlando tragedy this week. CEO Tim Cook asked everyone to stand up for a moment of silence for the tragedy. According to the executive, what we saw was “an act of terrorism and hate, with the aim of destroying”. He further pointed out that Apple's diversity is what makes the company so strong.

Tim Cook on stage at WWDC 2016

WWDC 2016

After the tribute, Cook highlighted some numbers of this WWDC, the 27 held by the company. There are now 13 million developers registered with Apple; tickets for the event sold out in record time, with participants from 74 different countries (more than 70% are there for the first time). Altogether there are 5,000 participants, of which 350 received academic scholarships. More than 100 participants are under 18 years of age, the youngest being a girl of only 9 years old! 🙋🏽

WWDC 2016 will have more than 100 sessions, 150 research labs hands-on and 1,000 engineers participating in the event.

App Store

Some numbers from the App Store were also shared at WWDC's inaugural presentation. There are now 2 million titles available in the store, which have been downloaded more than 130 billion times!

The company is reaching $ 50 billion paid to developers, an incredible number.

watchOS 3

The first big news of the event was the watchOS 3.

watchOS 3 running on Apple Watches

As expected, the company focused primarily on performance, in order to make apps open instantly on Watch. Favorite apps are now in memory, updates are made in the background, information is updated quickly and apps offer instant opening without a doubt which greatly improves the use of the watch, which today is very slow.

In the new system, the side button below the Digital Crown shows your favorite apps, instead of quick contacts. All apps are now so “whole”, the idea of ​​Summaries (Glances) kind of “fell”. And the thumbnails of apps that appear there are updated in real time, that is, you don't need to actually select the app to check updated information. In watchOS 3 we also have a Control Center, sliding from bottom to top on the screen.

Messages are now answered more quickly, with easy buttons just below the received message. There is also a new text input method: Scribble (you draw the letters on the screen yourself, they are recognized and transformed into text).

watchOS 3 running on Apple Watches

The Mickey dial, without a doubt, is quite successful among many users. But where's the diversity ?! Now we have a Minnie dial too, in addition to different colors for personalization. There is also a new display focused on Activity, for those who use Watch a lot to exercise (with analog and digital versions). A new dial, called Numerals, highlights only the time of the moment that moves around the screen.

WatchOS 3 activity display running on an Apple Watch

In watchOS 3, just slide on the screen to switch between displays, reducing one step compared to before. Complications have also become easier to insert. The Stopwatch app (Timer) now also features standard time options, which can be started with just one touch. But there are also new apps, like Reminders and Find My Friends.

Another novelty is an emergency shortcut, accessible by pressing and holding the side button below the Digital Crown. In a few moments, you can call the police. And everything is automated, including sending a message with your location and medical data filled out by the iOS Health app. This emergency feature works anywhere in the world, knowing exactly which number to call (in the United States 911, here in Brazil it would be 911).

Another new feature of watchOS 3: activity sharing. Within the Activities app, you slide to the right to compare your results with family and friends. There, you can sort the list however you want to make it easier for all members of the group to compare. When you touch anyone on the list, you access a detail about their entire activity log, and you can even send a message to the person directly from there, from the Activity. WatchOS already has some pre-defined messages that are related to exercises.

WatchOS 3 activity being used by girl on an Apple Watch

The company has also been thinking a lot about wheelchair users and knows that the algorithms in these cases change completely. Even the direction of movement used to rotate the wheel of the chair varies by person and according to the exercise they are performing. Apple has worked with large foundations that specialize in wheelchairs to further improve watchOS 'algorithms in order to capture data correctly even the alert that reminds users to get up hourly changes, in this case: "Time to roll"!

watchOS 3 on an Apple Watch being used by a wheelchair user

Breathe of watchOS 3 running on an Apple Watch

Leaving activities but continuing with the health theme, Apple also presented a new app called Breathe (Breathe). The idea is to guide users to breathe correctly, improving their health, calming themselves and reducing stress. You can even set up periodic reminders to make using the Breathe a daily practice. The app itself brings very nice visuals, but it also works for those who prefer to use it with the screen off (feeling the directions via pulses). After finishing a “breathing exercise” in the Breathe, you have a complete report of your performance as in the Activity app.

WatchOS 3 comes with a series of new APIs, including support for Apple Pay, background exercises with heart rate reading and access to the gyroscope, support for SpriteKit and SceneKit, new gestures, events, videos inline, audio, Game Center, CloudKit and so on.

The first beta of watchOS 3 will still be available today for developers, and the upgrade for all users in the autumn of the northern hemisphere.