The Apple Watch can now run apps on the device itself, letting users tap into more features. CNET
You’re going to have to wait longer for your Apple Watch software update.
Apple on Wednesday delayed the WatchOS 2 software update for its wearable device, citing bugs. It didn’t specify when the software would be available.
“We have discovered a bug in development of WatchOS 2 that is taking a bit longer to fix than we expected,” Apple said in a statement. “We will not release WatchOS 2 today but will shortly.”
The company said iOS 9, the latest version of its operating system for mobile devices like iPhones and iPads, will arrive Wednesday as planned.
The delay follows a similar issue last year, when iOS 8 launched with numerous bugs that caused problems with Wi-Fi, TouchID and other functions. The company released an update that caused even more issues and finally resolved the problem more than a week after iOS 8 first launched.
WatchOS 2 lets apps run directly on the watch, allowing them to tap into features like the heart-rate sensor, microphone and video playback. Previously, all apps had to run through an iPhone, which limited their capabilities and caused many Apple Watch users to complain about slowness and lack of functionality. Other features include new watch faces, a special Nightstand mode and a Time Travel feature to look at upcoming appointments, alarms and events.
Some apps taking advantage of WatchOS 2 include the AirStrip patient monitoring app; CNN; Facebook Messenger; the GoPro that acts as a remote viewfinder for the camera; the Kayak travel booking app; the iTranslate language translator app; and the Strava fitness tracking app.
iOS 9 incorporates changes that make iPhones and iPads far more able to predict an owner’s needs and interests. The iPhone can learn about someone’s habits at particular times of day or in certain locations. For instance, the device could load up music selections ahead of regular morning runs or bring up an audio book someone is listening to while in the car. The operating system can automatically suggest apps to load or people to contact based on a person’s usage patterns. iOS 9 also comes with updates to Siri to give the voice assistant a new interface and allow it to remind a user of appointments without being told to ahead of time.
In addition to the predictive features of iOS 9, Apple’s Maps app was enhanced with more mass transit information, including schedules and subway station entrances, for certain major cities such as New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Mexico City and Beijing. The Notes app was refreshed and new multitasking features for iPads were created. And Apple also created an app called News, which is designed to aggregate various news sources into one easy-to-read interface.
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Apple, which updates iOS every year, needs to continually keep the system fresh to maintain customers’ interest in its products and ensure software developers keep making apps for its platform. The refreshes are also vital to keep Apple in step with competitor, like Google — whose Google Now and Google Now On Top provide predictive capabilities to Android device users.
A high percentage of Apple’s device owners update their phones and tablets within a few weeks or months after the software hits the market. As of August 31, 87 percent of Apple mobile device users had upgraded to iOS 8. Another 12 percent were still using iOS 7, 2 percent used older versions of Apple’s mobile software. By comparison, As of September 7, only 21 percent of Android device users had installed Lollipop, the latest version of Google’s mobile software that launched in late 2014.
But since the introduction of iOS 8 last year had some hiccups, it showed it’s not always the best idea to download the new software the minute it’s available. iOS 8 launched on September 17, 2014, with some glitches that caused Wi-Fi connectivity problems, battery drain and slow performance in the Safari Web browser. A bug in the operating system also prevented developers from launching HealthKit apps in the App Store.
What’s new in iOS 9 (pictures)
Apple released iOS 8.0.1 on September 24 to fix the issues, but the update caused even worse issues. Many users immediately reported problems after downloading the update, including their iPhones no longer connecting to a cellular network. iPhone owners also reported issues with Touch ID after downloading the update, with some noting that the feature — which allows people to unlock their phones using their fingerprints — was no longer working.
Apple ended up pulling iOS 8.0.1 about an hour after it first became available. The company later published instructions for users who downloaded iOS 8.0.1 before Apple scrapped the update. The steps help users downgrade their devices to iOS 8 as Apple worked on a fix for the software. The company released iOS 8.0.2 on September 25 to fix the problems.