If you had your doubts about the Apple Watch, Cupertino just made it much more interesting. At the Worldwide Developers Conference this morning, Apple announced WatchOS 2, a new version of the watch’s operating system that lets developers build native apps for the device.
WatchOS 2 will also ship with a number of new features, like the ability to set photo watch faces, reply to email, take FaceTime audio calls, use Apple Pay’s new virtual loyalty cards, and get mass transit directions.
But the most notable new feature coming to the Apple Watch is the ability for developers to build and run native apps that run independently of the user’s phone. By allowing apps to run logic natively on the watch, WatchOS 2 frees the user experience up from being tethered to another device.
The new Apple Watch software development kit also opens up an array of new feature possibilities, thanks to the access Apple is giving to the watch’s sensors and hardware components. The new Watch OS software development kit will allow developers to access the microphone, audio speaker, Taptic Engine, digital crown, and HealthKit engine.