WatchOS 7 wish list: 5 ways Apple Watch could be even better


In the last five years, the Apple Watch has become the king of smart watches, but much remains to be improved.

We would like to see some improvements that would probably require significant changes in the architecture of the Apple Watch, such as improved battery life or improved Siri capabilities, but most of the suggestions below should work well even on existing Apple Watches.

Customizable screen always active

I love the always active screen of the Apple Watch Series 5. Unfortunately, it only works with two things: the clock screen that is active and the Apple Workout application. If you are using any other application, the application interface is confused by privacy when you turn your wrist and a simple floating clock appears.

Apple Watch always on Leif Johnson / IDG

I have my application open for the San Francisco Muni service, but it hardly shows.

Two options are not enough. Apple should allow us to choose which applications work with the screen always active by switching to Settings. If you refuse to extend that privilege to third-party applications, and let's admit it, you probably will, then you should at least allow it for native applications like Timer and Stopwatch.

Also, with the current design, the screen always on stays true to its name even when you're asleep. When we activate Do not disturb or Theater mode, Apple should further dim the screen or make it turn off completely when we are not looking at it.

Sleep tracking

We've been saying that we want to track the sleep on the Apple Watch for years, and we'll keep saying it until Apple delivers. And almost certainly it will, considering that Apple bought Beddit in 2017.

Apple may not be in a hurry to introduce sleep tracking because it can already use third-party applications such as AutoSleep and Pillow, and both are excellent. However, the iPhone manufacturer has an intimate understanding of how well their hardware and software work together, so there is a good chance that whatever you believe is probably better.

At this time, the biggest puzzle to solve is probably how to introduce sleep tracking without sacrificing too much battery life. Apple needs to solve that soon. As my colleague Michael Simon argued in 2018, sleep tracking is one of the most compelling remaining reasons to buy a device such as a Fitbit Versa 2 instead of an Apple Watch.

Third-party Apple Watch faces

Apple introduced several new watch faces with the Series 4 and Series 5, but in general the library of available faces is still small. You can perform some creative tricks with the Photos watch face, but even then your options are slim.

Apple Watch Series 5 Macworld Leif Johnson / IDG

The Macworld clock face I made is still formatted for Series 3, unfortunately.

Technically, the covers of third-party watches exist, but Apple strictly controls them by limiting them to expensive premium editions of partners such as Hermès or Nike. Apple is likely to worry that the introduction of more clock faces will decrease the exclusivity of those devices.

However, a larger library of watch faces would allow us to further customize our watches beyond what the existing watch faces or bands allow. Hell, they would let us coordinate colors with those bands more easily.

We are sorry, but we will never see a situation in which Apple allows you to download any clock face from the internet. The Photos watch screen is probably as close as we can get to that. But I would not rule out that Apple offered a library of approved third-party watch faces, and would be willing to bet that most of these would come from well-known designers or corporations like Disney. After all, if we can get a Mickey Mouse watch face, why not one for Snoopy? The beagle even has its own program on Apple TV +. For that matter, why not Baby Yoda? That is a really lost opportunity there, Apple.

A native Notes application

Almost five years after launch, the Apple Watch still You do not have a native Notes application. A bit funny Google Keep syncs with the Apple Watch, but not with Apple's own notes.

Apple stepped in the right direction by (finally) bringing Voice Memos to the Apple Watch on watchOS 6, but the text-based notes lost the ship again. It's really strange, especially when you consider Notes to be one of Apple's most used and recognizable iOS applications.

And it can't be hard to do. Bear, one of my favorite apps for taking notes for both Mac and iPhone, also works perfectly on the Apple Watch. I can use my watch quickly to examine the notes I write on any of those devices, and I can dictate new notes through the application.

native notes application Leif Johnson / IDG

See? Convenient.

It is difficult to exaggerate the convenience that an Apple Watch Notes application could offer. Speakers could take a quick look at their notes before a speech. In the grocery store, you can look at your shopping list without taking out your phone. High school students could use their grades to cheat on exams. Hmmm maybe that's why Apple has not baked it.

An independent Apple Watch

Yeah apple Really You want the Apple Watch to take off more than it already has, so you should eliminate the requirement that you need to have an iPhone before you can configure one or install updates.

I have discussed this point before, and Apple took a big step to realize this idea when it designed a native app store for the Apple Watch on watchOS 6.

But it's not enough. There are many people who would love to buy an Apple Watch, but refuse to buy an iPhone. The adoption of the Apple Watch would increase greatly if Apple launched a truly unattached Apple Watch, in the same way that the iPod exploded in popularity after Apple released a Windows version of iTunes in 2003. For this to work, Apple would need to limit the independent watches to models with cellular capacity. and improve the application experience like the built-in App Store. I doubt that Apple launches an Android version of the Watch application.

But there is another easier option: Apple could allow users to set up their Apple Watch phones through an iPad instead of an iPhone. The cheapest iPad costs only $ 329 (and they are often on sale for much less than that), so it is much more likely that the owner of an Android phone has one of those.


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