John Gruber on Apple Watch Series 2 and WatchOS 3

“WatchOS 3 fixes most of Apple Watch’s problems,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball. “The Series 2 hardware fixes nearly all the rest (the off-by-default display will need at least one more leap in battery life and/or display technology). It is clear that Apple recognized what was wrong — not just the obvious issues like slowness, but the abstract ones like the user interface’s conceptual mushiness — and addressed them.”

With watchOS 3, “everything is faster. More stuff is cached in RAM. At WWDC Apple admitted that the original software was far more stingy with memory use than was necessary. The original hardware was more capable than the software team expected, which led them to write software that resulted in the hardware feeling less capable,” Gruber writes. “I’ve been running WatchOS 3 betas all summer on my original Apple Watch. So much better. Original Apple Watch owners do not need to buy a new Series 2 watch to get a faster watch. They just need to upgrade to WatchOS 3.”

Apple Watch Series 2 with built-in GPS and water resistance to 50 meters
Apple Watch Series 2 with built-in GPS and water resistance to 50 meters

“I think WatchOS 3 and Apple Watch Series 2 are a very simple story. Apple Watch had clear strengths but equally clear weaknesses. Apple identified what was flawed and went back to the drawing board. They identified what people liked best — health and fitness tracking — and made them even better,” Gruber writes. “Here’s what I propose as the triumvirate of tentpole functions for Apple Watch: a stylish timepiece, a notification display and quick response extension of your iPhone, and a comprehensive health and fitness companion. That’s where Apple Watch should have been focused from the start, and that’s where it is, correctly, focused now.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: All throughout this Apple Watch saga, from the moment it hit our wrists and never left 16+ months ago on April 24, 2015, we haven’t been able to shake the thought that IOSWH (If Only Steve Were Here), the Apple Watch would have been sent back to the drawing board a few more times before its initial release.

After all, that’s what Steve did best: Use a product, see it from the users’ eyes (not the engineers’, not the designers’ – although he was intimately aware of both viewpoints), but from the users’ eyes only and make it work best for them. Steve would have handed the original Apple Watch “Series 0” and watchOS back to Kevin Lynch & Co. with notes about what worked and what didn’t. What was convoluted and what wasn’t. What was useful and what was superfluous. That’s what he did with the iMac, and the iPod, and the iPhone, and the iPad, and all of the products released under his watch. Steve’s track record was unmatched; so many, many home runs and so few mishits.

But, okay, it is what it is and, unfortunately, Steve’s not here. So, we early adopters had to serve (gladly) as guinea pigs for a year. In that time we got to use Apple Watch and we have 16+ months of activity, workout, health, and other data that no later adopters will ever have.

In that time, in the order of importance, here’s what we found we do with our Apple Watches:

1. Time
2. Temperature (Dark Sky)
3. Fitness
4. Alarms
5. Weather forecast (Dark Sky)
6. Sports scores
7. Apple Pay
8. Stock prices
9. Timers
10. Turn-by-turn navigation
11. Quick texts (mainly replies, Siri works remarkably well for dictation)
12. Quick news via 3rd party news apps
13. Music while running/working out
14. Apple TV Remote
15. Basic email (reading, deleting, marking unread)

By adopting on Day One, we got to see the evolution from watchOS 1.0 to watch OS 2 and, now, to watchOS 3. What a massive evolution it’s been: Just upgrading our Apple Watch Series 0 hardware to watchOS 3 was like getting whole new Apple Watches! We can’t wait for “late October” to get our new Apple S2-powered Apple Watch Nike+ units!


  1. Agreed, watchOS 3 is a remarkable improvement. Agree with Gruber on the honeycomb also, I don’t know what UI design to used instead though. Still ordered the ceramic edition series2, it looks gorgeous and my current Hermes is being given to the other half. I am so glad they killed the gold models.

  2. Holy crap Apple stock is up nearly $5 so far today. Market finally realizing maybe SamSplode put a nail in their own explosive fiery coffin coinciding with the release of way better Apple products? Now bring on the new Macs and Mac Pro’s and let’s get it on! Then maybe the concept of languishing product lines (and giving the pro market what it wants and not what Ives wants) will be no more!

    Well I can dream can’t I?

  3. The new watches are thicker and heavier?

    Apple’s hubris in fancying themselves as a “luxury brand” has left them with egg on their collective faces. I never again want to hear Sir Jonathan extolling the virtues of an Apple Watch with one hand on his old fella.

    So, Apple, you’re done with the phone and the watch. How about focusing on the Mac before this decade ends?

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