The Apple Watch has been a beacon of success for the Cupertino tech giant since its debut several years ago.
Back in September 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the firm’s flagship wearable was the top-selling watch in the world. Not the top-selling smartwatch, the top-selling watch.
More recently, Apple reported that its Wearables, Home, and Accessories sector brought in $7.3 billion in the last quarter. For comparison’s sake, the iPad and Mac brought in $6.7 billion and $7.4 billion respectively.
To be clear, the Apple Watch only represents one portion of that specific product category. But there’s no doubt that the device has been one of the most successful and well-received products in Apple’s current lineup (alongside other accessories like AirPods).
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All of this is incredibly important for Apple, which has seen declining iPhone revenue in the midst of a stagnant global smartphone market.
In other words, the Apple Watch and other accessories may be a key driver of growth for the company in the future. While Apple’s Services business is expected to become the firm’s primary growth driver, the Wearables sector could pick up some of the slack left off by plummeting iPhone sales.
But, of course, even with the current success, there is always room for progress and innovation. That’s where watchOS 6 comes in.
watchOS 6 Wishlist
watchOS 6 will be the next major update to the Apple Watch software. Apple will almost certainly debut it at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
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Unlike other Apple operating systems, watchOS doesn’t get much of the tech media spotlight. Because of that, there aren’t really many rumors or supply chain reports to glean information from. To put it simply, we just don’t know what Apple is planning for the next-generation update.
On the other hand, there are quite a few features that users would like to see. From deeper social integrations in Activity to a watch face store, here are some key features we hope to see in watchOS 6.
1. Sleep Tracking
If the average fitness trackers has an advantage over the Apple Watch, it’s sleep tracking. Currently, watchOS lacks any sort of native or built-in sleep tracking feature — despite the fact that it’s perfectly capable of doing so.
Granted, one of the reasons why Apple may not have added a sleep tracker is because the Apple Watch is typically meant to charge overnight. While that would have to be addressed by way of a battery or hardware upgrade, sleep tracking would still be an excellent option sooner than later.
2. Find my iPhone
Sometimes, iPhones get lost or stolen. And while Find My iPhone is an excellent tool to find and wipe handsets remotely, not everyone has access to another device that supports that. The Apple Watch would be perfect for that.
Allowing independent Find My iPhone access on cellular Apple Watch models would allow users to easily find their iPhones without needing a separate device. That’s especially pertinent since an Apple Watch is likely to be on a user at all times.
3. Shortcuts Support
The Shortcuts app isn’t perfect, but it’s been one of the most notable upgrades to Siri in recent memory. While it does wonders for automation and workflows on iOS, adding to watchOS can only broaden its potential.
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Just imagine being able to activate workflows from your Apple Watch without needing to touch your iPhone. An Apple Watch isn’t a replacement for an iPhone, but there are certainly times when it’s more convenient to use it than a primary handset.
4. Apple Watch App & Face Store
People have been asking for custom Apple Watch faces for a while. In lieu of that, the next best thing may be a Face Store where users can download faces created by developers and designers. Just think of the App Store’s success.
On a similar note, many users wish that they’re able to download apps directly onto their Apple Watch devices without needing an iPhone nearby. In other words, the store situation could use an overhaul on watchOS.
5. Social Features in Activity
People like being social, particularly when it comes working out and other fitness activities. Because of that, many Apple Watch users opt for third-party apps like Strava.
But Apple has an opportunity to make the native Activity app much more competitive in this field. Just add deeper social integrations and features to it.
6. Scheduled / Geofence Faces
If you’re like many Apple Watch users, you may prefer different watch faces at different times. Presently, the only way to switch between faces is to do it manually. That’s not a deal breaker, but there are more convenient possibilities.
For example, faces could be tied to a schedule. Another option is to allow faces to be activate by way of geolocation. Users could set a face to activate at a certain time or certain place — such as one face for work and another face or home.
7. Note & Other Native Apps
There are some native Apple applications that are curiously missing from the Apple Watch. Calculator comes to mind, and it’s puzzling why it’s absent. But, then again, that useful app is also missing from the iPad — and adding it to both is a bit of a no-brainer.
Other apps could integrate into watchOS nicely, too. Voice Memos support on the Apple Watch, for example. Notes is another option. While typing on an Apple Watch wouldn’t be feasible, users could dictate a note via voice and have that note translated to text on their iPhone.
8. Custom Haptics & Text Tones
One of the most useful but underused call features of iOS is the ability to use or create different text tones or custom haptic vibration patterns. It’s easy to tell different contacts and app notifications apart.
Adding this ability to watchOS seems like an easy addition (the infrastructure must already exist). It would go a long way to make incoming alerts easier to differentiate without looking at an Apple Watch screen.
9. More Faces and Complications
This may seem like a boring request, but it warrants mentioning all the same. Most users agree that Apple should add more complication options to watchOS. More than that, it would bode well for there to be more powerful and richer complications available.
Same goes for watch faces. Even if Apple doesn’t debut a face app (like mentioned earlier on this list), watchOS 6 should feature more faces. That could include a commonly requested feature: an always-on watch face. While there are battery concerns, that’s a much-requested feature.
10. Minor Changes
There are, of course, a ton of other features that could be used to improve watchOS. These are just ideas, but many of them come from real users who have posted their own personal wish lists on various forums.
Here are just some ideas: the ability to initiate a call on a Watch and sent it to an iPhone. Or a notification that lets you know if a Bluetooth connection has become disconnected. Or the ability to add “rest days” to Activity streaks. There’s a lot of untapped opportunity here.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.