The Apple Watch has been a smartphone companion since it first launched. But the next version of watchOS changes that.

For the first time, Apple says its smartwatch will support standalone apps that run only on the Apple Watch itself — no iPhone companion app required.

Developers can also use new APIs including a streaming API to bring new types of apps to Apple Watch, which means that you’ll be able to do things like listen to music, podcasts, or live sports or news programming using just your watch when you leave your phone at home.

And while you can still use an iPhone to find and install Apple Watch apps, you don’t need a phone anymore — because starting with watchOS 6, the Apple Watch is getting its own on-device App Store.

Apple says you’ll be able to search the App Store using your fingertips or voice, thanks to Siri integration. And you’ll be able to browse, read descriptions, purchase, and install apps from your wrist.

Other new watchOS features include updated fitness tools such as activity trends, a bunch of new watch faces from Apple, and a few new apps including Voice Memos, Audiobooks, and a calculator app with an integrated tip calculator, among other things (that bit got a big cheer from the crowd at Apple’s WWDC keynote… even if it’s not exactly a new feature for gadget you wear on your wrist).

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3 replies on “Apple Watch is becoming a standalone device with its own App Store and more”

  1. I tried a cheap Chinese ‘smartwatch’ that uses a SIM card to make phone calls. There weren’t many apps available for it, but the phone works well. I’m 60 years old and it was difficult for me to use a tiny watch size screen. Even a 4 inch screen on an iPhone SE is difficult for me to use. Maybe a voice interface like Siri would help. If I do buy a smartwatch, I’ll probably get a Samsung so I can use MP3 ringtones.

  2. This is great news, but there’s still stupid UI choices in the Apple Watch.
    Not to mention that its a rectangle, not square, and asymmetrical with the extra-button as a bad choice.
    From a style/jewellery point of view, it doesn’t cut the mustard. Maybe they will start from scratch and have a second crack at it with an actual Circular Watchface few years down the line?

  3. After not having a watch for 10 years now, I really don’t miss it at all. I would like to get rid of my car keys, but I don’t want to pay a lot of money for that.

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