I first started writing this article before WWDC 2016, then I stopped. For starters watchOS 3 was announced and I wondered if a lot of my initial points would be resolved by the speed increase it sounded like we’d get there. And then I just got busy and didn’t manage to update my post. Such is life. But we’ve had watchOS 3 for a while now, and we’ve gotten the new Apple Watches, Series 1 & 2, with the improved S2 SoC. While we did get the speed increases from watchOS 3 we were promised (in the new and old hardware) looking back, I think a lot of my points still stand. So here we go, take 2 of this post.
So let’s face it watchOS 1 & 2 were a good start for the platform, but they were way too slow. watchOS 1 had limitations due to the fact that the main part of each Watch app was still running on our iPhones, and where watchOS 2 fixed that point the limitations that Apple had in the OS on the amount of available memory and resources was too stringent 1. With watchOS 3, Apple fixed that though, with the addition of the dock and keeping more apps in memory, apps became a LOT more responsive when opening (if they’re in your dock), but in my mind they’re still not fast enough.
Apple have said to developers since the watch first came out, interaction on the watch should be kept to a minimum. So much so as to be only a few seconds 2. In that respect, opening an app and waiting for it to update is still too slow. I know with watchOS 3, the majority of that lies on the shoulders of us developers 3, but it still stands that it’s still too slow for the types of interactions we generally have with the watch. That is to say, trying to have an interaction with an app, like it’s an app on our iPhone or iPad.
Where I feel the Apple Watch excels is in passive activities. When I say passive activities, I mean things that the watch just does, without input from the user. In my mind such activities range from counting steps and taking heart rate readings over the course of the day to receiving notifications and viewing complications on the Watch face.Read more →