Apple announces watchOS 3 with more speed, new apps, and more

Apple has announced watchOS 3, the latest version of its software for the Apple Watch. The software will allow you to launch watch apps even faster, keeping your favorite and most-used apps in memory. The new software will also feature background data updates.

Coming along for the ride in watchOS 3 are a number of other features. Keeping with the theme of apps, the side button on the Apple Watch will be reassigned from launching your favorite contacts to showing your favorite apps. There will be a new glance for an iOS-style control center. Apps for Reminders and Find My Friends will be making their way to the watch as well.

The software will bring new reply options in Messages, letting you scroll down for smart replies. There's a new feature for the watch called Scribble, which lets you draw one letter at a time to draft a message.

watchOS 3 will offer a number of other enhancements as well. There will be a new face with Minnie Mouse wiki color coordinated bands, while the Activity face puts your activity rings under the analog watch face. The new Numerals face sees the hours follow the hand around the dial, with a number of selectable fonts. The SOS security feature lets you hold the side button to start a countdown to a 911 call and shows your medical ID, while Activity Sharing lets you easily share your activity with friends.

Press release:

Apple Previews watchOS 3; Faster, Simpler with Breakthrough Health Features

SAN FRANCISCO — June 13, 2016 — Today, Apple® previewed watchOS® 3, featuring significantly improved performance with the ability to launch favorite apps instantly, enhanced navigation like the new Dock and all-new fitness and health capabilities for Apple Watch®. Available this fall, this software update introduces the breakthrough Breathe app, designed to encourage users to take a moment in their day to do deep breathing exercises for relaxation and stress reduction. The Activity app now includes the ability to share, compare and compete as well as enabling wheelchair users to close their Activity rings.

"Apple Watch is the ultimate companion for a healthy life and with watchOS 3, there's now even more to love," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer. "Favorite apps launch instantly and are simple to access, and the breakthrough new fitness and health features like the Breathe app make it feel like a whole new watch."

Instant Performance & Simple Navigation It is easier and faster than ever to perform common tasks with watchOS 3, including replying to a message, starting a Workout or skipping a song. By pressing the side button, users can access the new Dock with their recent and favorite apps. Right from the Dock or the watch face, users can launch their favorite native and third-party apps instantly and have the latest information in the app already updated and ready for viewing. Similar to iOS, users can swipe up from the watch face for the new and improved Control Center, continue to swipe down for Notification Center and swipe left or right to easily switch out a watch face.

Fitness & Health Motivation through social engagement is an important factor in changing fitness and health behavior, and now with watchOS 3, it's possible to share, compare and compete with friends, family or even a personal trainer. Users receive notifications about their friends' progress, including completed Activity rings, finished workouts and earned achievements. Activity sharing is now directly connected to the Messages app, so users can communicate, motivate and celebrate with friends and family with new Smart Replies specially customized for Activity and Workouts. In watchOS 3, the Activity app experience is now optimized for wheelchair users. Wheelchair pushes contribute to all-day calorie goals, the "time to stand" reminder is now "time to roll" and there are dedicated wheelchair-specific workouts.

The all-new Breathe app encourages users to take moments in their day to do short deep breathing sessions. The beautiful, calming visualization and haptic cues guide users through deep, full breaths in sessions lasting one to five minutes and on completion, they will receive a heart rate summary.

All-New Communication Receiving and quickly replying to messages is more powerful and expressive in watchOS 3 with stickers, handwriting, full-screen effects and invisible ink, which reveals the message only after a friend swipes over it. Smart Replies are even faster as they are now available right in the message notification. When a more custom reply is needed, the new scribble feature allows users to quickly write words on the display and Apple Watch will convert the handwriting to text.

SOS in watchOS 3 enables people in critical situations around the world to initiate a call with emergency services through their iPhone® or while on Wi-Fi, and notify their emergency contact by simply pressing and holding the side button.

Watch Faces Apple Watch is even more personal with new watch faces including Minnie Mouse, Activity and the simple and elegant Numerals. Even more apps can launch straight from the watch face including Workout, Music or Messages. Users can also now add complications to the Photo, Motion or Timelapse watch faces. It's easier to customize watch faces and discover third-party apps with the new Faces Gallery in the Watch app on iPhone.

Availability watchOS 3 will be available this fall as a free update to Apple Watch. Apple Watch requires iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8.2 or later. WatchKit® for watchOS 3 is available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at For more information, visit Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple's four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple's 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.