Proposals and wishes for watchOS 5

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Matt Birchler has published a very interesting wishlist for the Apple Watch and watchOS 5. I couldn‘t resist to comment on most of his proposals and add a few of my own.

 

Third-party apps for Siri watch face
Every proposal with Siri and third-party apps in it has my full support. Since I don‘t use many Apple services and apps Siri isn‘t very useful in my life. I only use it to set timers and turn the lights off. For the same reasons I never use the Siri watch face. It‘s just not useful to me - yet. I‘ve been hoping for a Google-Now-like watch face since day one. The watch should know what information is useful at which moment and adjust accordingly. With third-party support, the Siri watch face would be a step in that direction. 

Always-on watch faces
From a practical point of view, I fully support that proposal as well. Turn to wake usually works flawlessly. But still, there are situations when it doesn‘t. That‘s when I sometimes have to use my nose to activate the screen. Always-on watch faces would solve that problem. From an aesthetic point of view, I have to admit I like the Reverso-like empty watch face. It‘s black, quiet and only turns on when I want to. An always-on screen might be a bit of a distraction or an eye catcher. 

Third-party watch faces
Having seen some of the ugly or copyright infringing third-party watch faces on Android Wear or Tizen I see why Apple is very cautious in that regard. As a watch nerd, I love new watch faces and can‘t get enough of them. But I‘d rather see third-party developers come up with decent complications first. As a second step, I could see myself paying for new watch faces or maybe a digital version of the hands of a famous mechanical watch. By the way, did you notice the Apple Watch uses the same hands as the famous Nautilus from Patek. Update: I wrote a whole article about this topic. 

Automatic workout detection
That's dearly needed. I really don‘t want to tell my watch, that I‘m going for a run. It has plenty of sensors and smarts to know it.

Winter activities
Living in Switzerland I fully agree. Shoveling would be especially helpful.

More seasonal activity badges
I love earning badges! 

„Rest day“ function
I have asked for that quite a few times in the past. I have a suspicion that‘s very high on many users list. You could even make it fun by letting users earn rest days by completing certain goals or tasks. 

Sleep tracking
I really don‘t know what Apple is waiting for. It‘s one of the best features of wearables in general. Thanks to apps like AutoSleep I‘m already tracking my sleep with an Apple Watch. But I‘d prefer a built-in and therefore more secure version for such an important function.

Podcasts
Can‘t happen soon enough.

Always listening to „Hey Siri“
I really don‘t like always listening microphones. Maybe I‘m a bit old-fashioned. 

Custom notification sounds for third-party apps
That’s a smart (and maybe a bit annoying) idea! My watch is always on silent though. 

Improve Dock with some sort of grid system
I‘m really happy with the new Dock. I just wish all the Apps would open faster and not just the ones that have been automatically or purposely placed in the Dock. 

Improve Breath app
I used the app quite regularly when it was new. But soon forgot about it. 

Read full Apple News articles on Apple Watch
Apple News isn‘t working in Switzerland yet.

Display iPhone battery life
That has been on my list since the very first watchOS. Back then I used an Android phone. To use the Apple Watch I always carried an iPhone in my backpack. The iPhone often ran out of battery because I forgot about it. A little warning on the watch would have been helpful. Today I would like to know on my watch when the phone is fully charged and ready to go.

Custom colors for flashlight
I would really like that. I use the flashlight a lot. Usually white. But sometimes white is too bright. So I use red. But it looks really scary. The option to pick a friendlier and less bright color would be very welcome. 

Theatre mode should activate „Do Not Disturb“
Absolutely! Whenever I go to bed I have to swipe up and press these two buttons. Coupling these two buttons would be very helpful. But I have an even better solution in my own suggestions below.

Ability to watch Youtube
This is indeed a rather crazy request. But hey, why not? Don‘t think I would use it much though.

 

Now for my additions I already mentioned in my review of the Apple Watch Series 3:

 

More brightness options and Night Shift
In direct sunlight, the bright screen of the newer models is very handy. At night it's way too bright. I would love to have more options in the brightness settings. Whenever I go to bed I activate Do Not Disturb and Theatre Mode. The Apple Watch should do that automatically and dim the screen. It should either be possible to set a certain time to activate this Night Shift mode or even better the Apple Watch should use sleep tracking and all its other sensors to activate it automatically when I go to bed. 

Gesture control
It happens at least once a day: The Apple Watch displays a red dot to tell me there’s a notification waiting for me. But I can't open it because my other hand is occupied with carrying an umbrella for example. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to turn your wrist twice to open notifications? Some kind of finger tracking with radar like Googles Project Soli would be even cooler. But that's still a few years in the future. It might eventually end up in watches as the Android Wear boss recently hinted at in an interview with me. Can't wait for better control/input options for smartwatches.

Independence
I would really like for the Apple Watch to become completely independent from an iPhone so you could use it even with an Android phone. I doubt though that Apple likes that idea as much as I do. But what about the iPad? Wouldn't it at least be great if the Apple Watch would work with an iPad? Just like it does now with the iPhone. Having an iPad in your backpack could replace the need for a connected smartphone. If you need the big screen get the iPad. For everything else, you have your watch and Airpods.