When will Apple release watchOS 4 for the Apple Watch in the UK?
Apple's watchOS 3 brought a number of new features and improvements to the Apple Watch, from the ability to unlock your Mac with your watch to improved app loading times. But we're looking ahead to 2017's variant of watchOS: watchOS 4. What new features will watchOS 4 bring to the Apple Watch, and when are we likely to see it launched in the UK? We answer these questions and more in this article.
Update, 30 January 2017: It's emerged that we won't have to wait until watchOS 4 to use Siri to activate third-party apps on the Apple Watch. Apple will roll out SiriKit for Apple Watch in the watchOS 3.2 update.
watchOS 4 release date rumours: When will watchOS 4 be released?
Before we go any further, let's first discuss when we're likely to get the watchOS 4 update in the UK. Apple is a company of tradition, and generally likes to stick to its yearly upgrade cycle for both software and hardware - iPhones are generally released in September, while the Apple Watch gets refreshed in April.
While there are sometimes exceptions to this rule, Apple generally announces the new versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS during its annual WWDC event in June. This means that in theory, we'll get our first look at watchOS 4 in June 2017. Following the event, developers will be able to download the software before it's released to the general public a few months later, usually in September alongside the next version of iOS and macOS.
watchOS 4 new feature rumours: What can I expect from watchOS 4?
So, what can we expect from watchOS 4 in terms of new and updated features? While watchOS 3 hasn't been available to the general public for long, the rumour mill has already churned out rumours regarding Apple's next variant of watchOS. Keep on reading to find out some of the latest watchOS 4 rumours.
Apple developing sleep tracking app
When Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 2 at its September 2016 event, it marketed the Apple Watch as a fitness tracker. As we know, many fitness trackers feature sleep tracking functionality that'll monitor your movement while asleep and offer you some kind of stat reflecting your sleep when you wake up - a feature that up until now has been missing from the Apple Watch.
Not for much longer though, if a recent report is to be believed. Bloomberg reports that Apple is working on a number of new apps for the Apple Watch, including one that tracks a user's sleep, and that this feature would be supported across all existing models of Apple Watch. While this seems like a good idea in principle, the Apple Watch battery life isn't great and many owners opt to charge the Watch overnight, something that couldn't happen if they wanted to track their sleep.
One saving grace is that it doesn't take long for the Apple Watch to charge, so owners keen to track their sleep could charge the Watch during the evening before bed, for example.
Read next: Best iPhone sleep apps and alarm clock apps
watchOS 4 wishlist: What we want from watchOS 4
Despite watchOS 3 bringing a myriad of improvements to the software, there are still a few features we'd like to see introduced:
Custom watch faces
This is one of the most-talked about features that's headlining around the world for watchOS 3. With the current watchOS, we've only got the option to select a few stock watch faces, but we would like to ability to create our own and more so, share with the community so that others can use custom watch faces.
Having a Batman or Battlefield watch face would prove to make the Apple Watch truly unique. This is currently the case with Android Wear, so we expect Apple to at least give registered developers the ability to create their own watch faces and make them available to the public.
For the time being you'll be limited to the Apple-provided watch faces, whilst also being able to edit the ones which are currently available.
See also: How to change Apple Watch faces
Digital Crown button customisation
The Digital Crown button, found on the side of the Apple Watch would be a great way to provide extra functionality to Apple Watch owners. We don't see this realistically being an update Apple would push, but we would like the ability to change the default behaviour of the button.
Pressing it could open a certain app, or directly send you to the clock screen. More customisation through the button would definitely be a healthy addition to the watch.
We don't see this software update immediately introducing new supported apps, but we do hope to see developers create more Apple Watch-specific applications.
Better still, we would like to see Apple include more stock iOS apps in its watchOS update. For example, having the News app or even Notes to be natively compatible with the Apple Watch would be a great start.
We highly doubt Apple will release this update in watchOS 3, but we would like the new software update to enable us to synchronise an Apple Watch to multiple different iOS devices. For example, having the watch paired with your iPad and iPhone at the same time would be a great addition.