Apple has announced that watchOS 10 will be ready to download starting on September 18th. The update may be the biggest change to watchOS since Apple released its massively popular smartwatch, overhauling the former honeycomb grid and adding widgets — er, glances, as Apple calls them — that you can swipe through and customize.
The company also announced that, for the Apple Watch Series 9, Siri commands will be processed on-device. Apple says that the privacy-preserving nature of on-device processing means users can now ask questions related to personal health and fitness data from the Health app.
The new watch will also get a new second-generation ultra wideband (UWB) chip that can detect when a HomePod is nearby so that when you come within four meters of a HomePod with UWB, your watch will launch Now Playing so you can control it or offer suggestions in the Smart Stack. Apple is also upgrading an accessibility feature to a main feature for the OS — double-tapping your fingers together on the same hand the watch is on can do things like answer calls or bring up the Smart Stack widget.
From your watchface, you can now scroll through widgets. The widgets are customizable, and watchOS gains a Smart Stack widget, which uses machine learning to guess which widgets will be most important to you at points throughout your day. According to Victoria Song’s watchOS 10 preview for The Verge, it makes the Apple Watch feel much more like using a tiny iPhone.
Some will welcome the updated app grid. The grid looks generally the same, with apps represented as small circular icons, but you don’t have to hunt through an expansive honeycomb shape anymore to find what you’re looking for; instead, the app cluster scrolls vertically. If you’re a list person, don’t fret; that’s still an option.
Finally, Apple switched what the side button does: pressing it once will now take you to the control center. Double-pressing still brings you to your Apple Wallet for NFC payments.
Other changes include new Nike and Hermés watchfaces as well as an Ultra watchface for the Apple Watch Ultra.