With its milestone 10th version of watchOS set to be unveiled at WWDC in June, all eyes will be on Apple Watch to see what’s in store for the popular wearable device. And according to the latest report, Apple isn’t going to disappoint.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that Apple is making “fundamental changes to how the device works” with a new focus on widgets as a major part of the interface. This new widget implementation combines the old Glances feature (that went away in watchOS 3) and the iPhone-style widgets that were introduced in iOS 14. The rumor is similar to a recent rendering shared by Analyst941 on Twitter.
The UI will reportedly be similar to that of the Siri watch face, which displays relevant info based on your location, time of day, and more. Gurman reports that a set of widgets will appear on the screen and the crown button is used to scroll through them, with dynamically updated information being displayed. Gurman also points out that this new watchOS UI is similar to the Smart Stack in iOS and iPadOS.
The change is a major departure from the app-based UI that’s currently in use, and Gurman tosses the possibility that Apple could make this an optional UI for the user “at least at first,” which seems to imply that Apple wants to make this UI the standard going forward but also doesn’t want to confuse users who are accustomed to the watchOS interface.
Gurman points out that watchOS apps have not caught on, with “fewer than a million monthly users in the region, Apple disclosed, versus 101 million on the iPhone.” I’ve always thought that the app-based UI is inefficient for the Apple Watch–navigating back and forth between apps to get what you need is a hassle on a device with such a small screen. Most people use the Apple Watch for quick access to data, and a Widget-based UI that provides easy access to multiple data points seems like a better way to go.
Last week, Gurman reported that Apple is working on a project with the code-name “Quartz” that will be an “AI coach” for health and wellness that works on the iPhone and Apple Watch. This service is planned for next year, though it’s possible Apple could preview it at WWDC–but Gurman said Apple could also decide to hold off on unveiling the project.