WWDC: 21 all-new Apple Watch features

Apple promises native third-party apps, new watch faces and many other enhanced features for Apple Watch

All the new Apple Watch 2 features
Credit: Apple

While we watch Apple build its Apple Watch up into a unique platform, here’s what the company revealed at WWDC:


Apple combined both iOS and Mac developer programs at WWDC, so Apple Watch, iOS and OS X developers must only pay one $99 fee for access.

Watch faces

Three new watch faces: Time-Lapse, Photo Album and Photo. The first comprises time-lapse videos shot across 24 hours in five cities, including New York City, London and Shanghai. You can also choose to use an album you create so you see a different image on your watch face each time, or choose a single image.


Apple has opened up Complications (nuggets of useful information visible on the watch face) so developers can create their own using ClockKit. App users will be able to choose what meaningful info to see on the watch, such as activity goal data, sports scores and departure times.

Time Travel

You can use the Digital Crown to scroll through your future (or previous) schedule to check for Complications – meetings, temperature, or information from third-party apps.

Voice Memo

Create and share voice memos using the mic.


The Music app will show album art for recently played tracks and there’s a bigger and more obvious button to switch between iPhone and Watch music libraries.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay will open up in new countries, with support for loyalty and store credit cards. Now you can use your watch to make an Apple Pay purchase and credit will automatically be sent to the appropriate loyalty scheme.


You will be able to draw and share sketches using multiple colors, rather than just one.

Add friends

The new software lets you support up to 12 groups of up to 12 friends each; you can also add friends using your watch.


Respond to Mail messages using Siri dictation, emojis or Smart Replies. You can create your own custom Smart Replies on your iPhone.

FaceTime Audio

Make free calls with your watch.


Apps like Vine can now play video directly on the Watch, so expect to receive selfie videos featuring people saying “Happy Birthday," “Don’t forget the sugar” or what not. The joy.


Your Watch becomes a bedside alarm when recharging at night: set it on its side and you get a big watchface with the Digital Crown and side button serving as alarm snooze and off buttons.


Privacy remains critical in Apple’s world. For example, users must give apps permission to access or share data.


Maps already uses taptic feedback to tap your wrist to give you turn-by-turn directions; soon you’ll get public transit information, including walking directions to and from your stop.

San Francisco

Apple is switching to the San Francisco font.

Activation Lock

When you get your watch, you can choose to secure it to your Apple ID. This prevents miscreants wiping or activating a lost or stolen Watch.


HomeKit support means you can speak to Siri to control your smart home: “Hey Siri, turn on the lights in the den.”


Siri gains other new powers, including the capacity to lauch Glances, dictate replies to emails, and launch workouts (“Hey Siri, start a 30-minute run.")


Health and fitness apps gain better access to activity and workout data. The data saved to Watch apps automatically syncs back to any paired device, and workouts will appear within iOS Activity app.


Native support for third-party apps is by far the most important feature.

This isn’t a complete logic replacement, but it means developers can use the accelerometer, taptic engine, heart sensor, microphone and animation APIs in their apps, and won’t always need to be tethered to an iPhone for the apps to work.

This is a highly significant step as Apple develops a truly independent SIM-equipped Apple Watch.


The Apple Watch doesn’t yet support Android, but strange things do happen.

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