The Watch is getting its own App Store.
Apple introduced a new version of WatchOS, the software system powering its Apple Watch. Kevin Lynch, the Apple executive who oversees the watch software, said more Apple apps were coming to the watch, like audiobooks, voice memos and a calculator. In addition, the watch includes its own App Store, and third-party apps can now run independently. They no longer require a companion app loaded on an iPhone.
This move is a big step toward making the Apple Watch independent from the iPhone. What that means for consumers is that at some point in the future, they may be able to buy an Apple Watch without having to purchase an iPhone. In other words, Android smartphone users may one day be able to use an Apple Watch.
Apple kicked off the event talking about TV and its original programming.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, started off the keynote by showing a trailer of “For All Mankind,” its new original TV series that involves traveling to the moon. Apple’s decision to lead the conference with this program reflects its ambition to pivot into a services business — offering you content, in addition to devices.
At the same time, Mr. Cook said Apple TV’s new operating system would support multiple users, which will allow different family members to browse programs based on their preferences. That’s similar to how Netflix has profiles for different family members.
Expect more speed and access for your devices.
The company will introduce upgrades for its operating systems powering the iPhone, Apple Watch and Mac, shifting the way you use the devices
For the iPhone’s operating system, expect a speed increase for current and past models. That should come as good news for people with iPhones that are starting to feel long in the tooth, like the iPhone 7 from 2016.
The Mac operating system, on the other hand, has not had major enhancements in the last few years and you can expect the same this year. Apple plans to give an update on how software developers will be able to rewrite iOS apps to also work with Macs, which was an effort that Apple announced at last year’s conference.
Apple may address concerns about its products and practices.
Apple hosts this year’s conference under growing scrutiny over how its business practices affect competition and its products affect society. Look for how that might factor into its announcements.
For one, there has been plenty of debate about how smartphones may change our attention spans, relationships and physical and mental health. At last year’s event, Apple addressed some of that with new tools that help people limit the amount of time they and their children spend on iPhones. On Monday, Apple may unveil new features to those tools.
The company might also look to ease any tensions with developers. Apple faces several investigations in Europe over how it may be abusing its control of the App Store to harm competition from other app makers.
Since Apple announced its own screen-time tracker at last year’s event, it has removed or restricted more than two dozen apps that offered similar services on iPhones. Apple said it took the action because the apps could invade people’s privacy. Last week, 17 of those app makers proposed a technology Apple could adopt that would allow the apps to compete while resolving Apple’s privacy concerns. Those developers will be watching closely to see if Apple mentions their plight.