(Pocket-lint) - Apple has announced a new version of its Apple Watch operating system dubbed watchOS 2.

The new watchOS 2 now offers new time piece functions, better comms, health and fitness, maps, Siri and even more control for developers.

The full watchOS 2 update will roll out this Autumn for free but is available in beta from today.

Native Apps

Apple is now allowing Apple Watch developers to create native apps that can sit on the watch without the need for the iPhone to be connected. The move which is like to have a huge affect on the quality and speed of the apps available will also mean that you won't need the iPhone all the time. To help developers further, Apple has also given them greater access to the functions of the Watch like the use of the speaker and microphone, as well as some of the sensors built in like using the Accelerometer to be used to measure golf swing, for example. To combat the need for the phone to be paired the Watch will now work directly with known Wi-Fi networks. Taptic feedback and digital crown access is also opened now so apps can use all inputs for controls and feedback. For example you could rotate the crown to change the temperature in your car.

New Faces and Complications

Watch face offerings are expanded with Photo Face to make a watch face out of your pics or Photo Album so you can rotate through a selection of your photos instead getting a new photo each time you raise your wrist.

Then there is time-lapse that is a video of five major cities with the lapse correlating to the time that it is. Cities featured include London, New York, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Each city focuses on a major landmark so London gets Big Ben while New York gets the Empire State. 

Complications, which are Apple's way of saying further details like battery power or the date, will now be opened up to other apps meaning you could have a quick shortcut to your favourite apps straight on the watch face. That could be Flight times, home control system, electric car charge, sports scores and more.

Time Travel

A new Apple feature called Time Travel will lets you rotate the digital crown to speed forward in time (on the watch) to see what is coming up in the day ahead. It will also show you how your battery is going to be based on current usage to you'll know if you'll need a charge. It sounds very similar to one of Pebble Time's key features, so we are looking forward to seeing how it works in the flesh. 


Nightstand mode

Nightstand mode now shows the time side-on while charging at night. It will also offer a chirpy alarm to wake you up in the morning with the digital crown and "Friends" buttons used as snooze and off controls when on charge. 


Realising you perhaps have more than 12 friends or contacts, you'll now be able to have multiple "Friends" circles to separate them into categories like Work, Friends, and Friends with Apple Watch. 

Multiple colours have been added to Digital Touch for sharing more in depth doodles.

Email reply has also been added to respond right on the Watch via Siri, a feature we've already noticed some developers adding to their email apps. 

FaceTime audio is now supported on the Watch.

Health & Fitness

Fitness apps now work on the Watch and when using a third-party app it'll add to your daily step count within the Apple metrics.

Siri can now start apps. You can say things like "go for a 300 calorie bike ride" and it'll start it for you. Achievements are also available as icons that can be shared.

Apple Pay

The Watch now allows you to pay using your card via your watch. That includes claiming on reward cards too.


Transit lines now appear on the wrist to find stations. Step by step directions are offered to find stations too.

Siri will also be able to offer directions to a place directly.


Siri can control the home from the Watch. 

Activation Lock

Apple's new watchOS 2 includes a new feature called Activation Lock. The new security feature will mean that to activate your watch will require your iCloud Apple ID and password, so in the event that your Apple Watch is lost or stolen, your information remains safe.

Writing by Luke Edwards and Stuart Miles.