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Apple reveals watchOS 2: 3rd-party complications, nightstand mode, native apps, more

Though the Apple Watch is newly on the wrists of users, Apple is already showcasing the next major update to its wearable operating system, which will offer a number of new features, most notably the ability to run native third-party applications without the need for a connected iPhone.




Starting with watchOS 2, developers will be able to create their own watch face complications. These will offer users the ability to add glanceable custom information like upcoming flights or sports scores.

Complications will also feature a new capability called "Time Travel," where users can rotate the Digital Crown on their Apple Watch to see information for later in the day, including calendar entries, weather, and more.




Apple also has a new feature called nightstand mode, which allows the Watch face to be viewed on its side for charging. When resting like this, the Digital Crown and side button can be used to snooze and end an alarm in the morning.

Friends can also be added more easily to favorite contacts in watchOS 2.




Siri will also be able to start workouts, without a user needing to touch the Watch to begin an activity. And third-party workout apps will be able to run natively on the device, and workouts will count toward goals in the Activity app.

Apple Pay on watchOS 2 will also include store cards and rewards cards, just like in iOS 9. Mass transit capabilities in Maps will also work on Apple Watch with the next-gen operating system.




Developers creating apps for watchOS 2 will also be able to access the Apple Watch's microphone, or play audio out of the device's speaker. The new operating system will also offer access to HealthKit, give the ability to show video, read accelerometer data, and more.

New customizable watch faces will also be included with watchOS 2, allowing users to select a photo that will display when their wrist is raised, or see a timelapse from one of five different locations, such as Hong Kong or New York.

The developer beta for watchOS 2 is available today for developers. It will launch for the public this fall as a free update.