Released to developers yesterday, the beta version of the latest software for the Apple Watch adds new features such as the ability for theater-goers to keep their devices silent and the devices' screens dim. The new release also expands the ability of users to use Siri, Apple's intelligent digital assistant, on their watches.
The first version of watchOS 3 was released in September with the launch of Apple Watch Series 2. The beta version of watchOS 3.2 introduces new dimming and mute capabilities through Theater Mode. That mode not only makes it easier for users to quickly mute the sound of their Apple Watches to avoid disturbing fellow theater-goers, but also prevents the screens of their devices from automatically waking and brightening when they raise their wrists.
Apple's latest software update also adds SiriKit to allow developers to provide more Siri-based capabilities through third-party apps built for the Apple Watch. The addition of SiriKit also makes it possible for watch owners to use the digital assistant to book rides, send messages, make payments and handle other tasks.
Haptic Notifications in Theater Mode
The developer documentation for watchOS 3.2 was first published by Apple last week. While the beta software is now available to developers, it's unclear when the update will be released to the general public.
With the new Theater Mode, users will be able to "quickly mute the sound on their Apple Watch and avoid waking the screen on wrist raise," Apple said in its software documentation.
While the device remains dim and quiet in Theater Mode, users can continue to receive updates via haptic notifications, i.e., vibrating alerts. To check on a notification while the watch is in Theater Mode, users can either tap the screen or press the device's Digital Crown navigation tool.
Q1 Results Due Later Today
In September, Apple also opened up its digital assistant to third-party app developers for the iPhone and iPad when it released iOS 10. Such apps have also been supported on the Apple Watch, but to date users haven't been able to control the functions of those apps using Siri's help.
With the introduction of SiriKit for the beta version of watchOS 3.2, developers can now build new intelligent capabilities into their Apple Watch apps. Siri will be able to understand and respond to user commands in a number of domains, including messaging, payments, ride booking, workouts, calling and photo searches.
Meanwhile, Apple is preparing to announce its Q1 2017 financial results during a conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern time today. In its previous quarterly report, released in October, the company reported Q4 revenues of $46.8 billion, including more than $28.1 billion from iPhone sales and nearly $2.4 billion from the sales of Apple Watch, Apple TV, iPod, Beats and accessories.