Apple Watch to get huge UI change – as watchOS 10 brings the widgets

Widgets, cycling and hiking chances – and new mental health features
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watchOS 10 will herald a huge UI change, with Apple overhauling the look and feel of its smartwatch, according to new rumors.

We have already reported on rumors of a big UI change, but now we have a clearer idea of what those changes will be.

In Mark Gurman’s PowerOn newsletter, he revealed that the watchOS 10 UI changes will center on widgets and glances, which will offer snippets of information to users, without having to fire up Apple Watch apps.

Early users of the Apple Watch will remember widgets were part of the original watchOS, but these were phased out with watchOS 3.

Apple went on to put the emphasis on its apps, but also on Complications, which puts glanceable information on Apple Watch faces.

> watchOS 10 – everything you need to know

> Apple Watch Series 9 rumors and features

But according to Gurman, glances are back in watchOS 10. 

He claims that the new glances will resemble the Siri watch face, and take design cues from widgets that were introduced in iOS 14.

These will act as overlays on any watch face, which users can cycle through to get key information from Apple Watch apps.

Wareableglances watchOS 3Apple's old glances which were removed in watchOS 3

This could reduce the emphasis on apps on the watchOS experience, and enable users to get more useful information, without having to go to the home menu and fire up specific apps.

And this could also mean that Apple offers users the chance to remap the crown to show widgets instead, which would be a major reconfiguration of how the company envisages people using its smartwatch.

Wareable says

Apps are a hugely empowering part of the Apple Watch experience, that can enable it to act as a golf watch, specialist sleep tracker, or anything you want it to be. That’s the key difference between the Apple Watch, and other mid-range smartwatches.

But they are not easy to use, the Honeycomb interface is fiddly to navigate, and the experience of discovering and installing Apple Watch apps feels disjointed. 

Glances will make the Apple Watch feel more useful, and it feels like one area where Apple is taking a leaf out of the Wear OS 3 book.

It seems that Apple is set to unleash a huge raft of improvements, that may take the focus off a lack of hardware changes slated for this year.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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