Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

MacStories Reviews WatchOS 6

Alex Guyot, MacStories:

watchOS 6 is one of the more subtle updates we’ve encountered over the last five years of Apple Watch, but that subtlety should not be mistaken for insignificance. The user-facing updates in watchOS 6 may not be the most exciting we’ve seen, but their skillful execution makes it clear that Apple understands the device it has created. Nearly every first-party watchOS app is well crafted and properly honed down to its simplest ideas. New health updates expand use cases for the Apple Watch’s most important category of features. Only a few new watch faces manage to pass my very high bar, but continuing to throw options at the wall every year is exactly what Apple should be doing; by now we’re starting to see quite a few diamonds among the rough.

For the first time ever, a subset of third-party apps can exist independent of their iOS counterparts. The vision is far from fully realized, but this year is a start that will be continued in the years to come. It won’t be long before every relevant watchOS API which requires an attached iPhone has been freed from its restrictions. Break the chains!

Previous WatchOS updates closely mirrored the first several releases of iOS in knocking critical items off to-do lists — though, in the case of the Apple Watch, these updates also helped better-define the product. The future of the Watch looks to me like a product that can be used independently of an iPhone for most of the day, with the exception of snapping a photo or two. It seems like WatchOS 6 is a bridge to get there.