According to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the Apple Watch’s software is getting its biggest update since its release. While details about watchOS 10’s updated design have been sparse to non-existent, the report teases Apple’s plans to introduce a refreshed interface for its popular wearable at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June, alongside its mixed reality headset, new Mac laptops and iOS 17.
While it was previously said that the updated versions of iOS and iPadOS were more minor releases that include some of the most requested features from users, and may be the basis for sideloading apps to the devices from outside the App Store, the watchOS is update perhaps more importantly, if the report is true.
This isn’t the first time Gurman has reported on Apple’s plans to update the Apple Watch’s operating system with the new watchOS, but it now positions the upgrade as the most significant user interface update since the Watch’s launch, which was previously unknown.
Earlier this month, Gurman had said only that the new watchOS should be a “fairly comprehensive upgrade” with changes to the user interface.
The Apple Watch’s software hasn’t had a major user interface overhaul since its debut in 2015. But many designers have taken their own photos of a makeover with various watchOS concepts that rethink the home screen from its suite of small apps. you navigate with a finger to ideas that embrace different ideas – including more iPhone-like concepts that also support widgets or app folders, among other things.
According to Gurman’s latest news, the updated watchOS 10 will “bring bigger improvements” than the planned releases for iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV. This includes the “updated interface,” which will tell you “most of what you need to know about the Apple Watch in 2023,” he says. The report notes that the rest of the hardware changes will be minimal, so the software update will be the Watch’s biggest news and main focus.
Little more was said about what the updated interface might contain, but if you carefully analyze the wording you might think it’s not a complete overhaul of the interface, as it’s referred to as an “update” and not a “redesign”.
Still, there’s a lot of anticipation for a new experience for the Apple Watch, whose software is starting to feel a little dated after numerous iOS releases that have rethought how apps are organized and used, including the introduction of things like auto-organized folders in the app library, interactive widgets through live activities, and both home screen and lock screen widgets for displaying live app information. Of course, all of these ideas don’t necessarily translate directly to a smartwatch interface – for example, which uses complications, no widgets to display information, and where limited screen space requires different ideas and types of interactions.
To date, that has resulted in most watchOS releases being more minor tweaks, with most of the UI changes coming through things like new watch faces.
Apple’s WWDC 2023 runs from June 5 through June 9, kicking off with the company’s keynote address, where Apple is expected to release its new AR/VR headset and the xrOS it powers, among other software updates.