Apple Watch Series 5 and watchOS 6 certainly brought improvements and new features last year but they didn’t really bring any major changes. That means watchOS 7 has the opportunity to really push the world’s most popular wearable forward and today, Matt Birchler has shared a very sharp and thorough visual concept for what that could look like. From sleep tracking and customizable Activity rings to new communication options and quicker interactions, and new features like “Weekend Getaway” read on for a look at this great watchOS 7 concept.

Matt prefaced his new concept with the following:

Below is basically what I would pitch to my boss if I worked on the watchOS team at Apple on what I thought we should be doing. Since I don’t work there, though, this is my public wish list for the platform and I hope you agree and pass this along so it’s more likely to get in front of someone on the actual team as inspiration.

It includes lots of great ideas for making watchOS and Apple Watch even more compelling and useful. Here are the main categories Matt focuses on in this robust concept:

  • Fitness enhancements
  • Communication optimizations
  • Battery life
  • “Weekend Getaway” feature
  • Always-On display improvements
  • Third-party watch faces
  • Quicker interactions
  • Better wireless speeds
  • Shortcuts
  • iPad and Android sync

Fitness enhancements

For fitness improvements, Matt reiterates from his request last year that Apple should bring sleep tracking to watchOS 7. 9to5Mac discovered last fall that Apple is indeed working on bringing the support to Apple Watch. Hopefully, it will arrive in 2020.

I’m going to keep asking for this until it happens, but I think Apple should add native sleep tracking into watchOS. Apps like Autosleep and Napbot already do this, but there is so much headroom to do more in the space.

A major health and fitness improvement Matt features in his concept is customizable Activity rings that would allow users to add mindfulness or sleep.

Another great feature would be the option to Edit Workouts on iPhone after they’ve been recorded.

One of the things I run into on a semi-regular basis is forgetting to stop a workout after I’m done, and then getting a 60 minute workout on the books when I actually just walked for 20 minutes. Auto-stop should catch this, but it doesn’t always, and if you miss the notification that confirms you’re still working, then you can have an abnormally long workout.

Here’s a minor but neat idea for Workout support on iPhone:

Finally, and this is a small one, but I would love to be able to perform the basic mid-workout actions from a notification on my iPhone as well. I’d have this live as a persistent notification on my lock screen with some interaction, similar to the Now Playing controls. This is rarely an issue since the watch is already on my wrist, but sometimes it would be easier to use the phone.

Finally for fitness upgrades, Matt notes a couple more ideas like accessing Workout data from iCloud.com and being able to easily export it to a CSV file. Oh and let’s not forget about some kind of solution for a day off.

This has been a request for a long time as well, but the Apple Watch should allow us the ability to be human and take a day off every once in a while. People get attached to their streaks, and breaking one because you’re either sick or in a situation where you can’t work out should be more okay. Activity++ addresses this by giving you a rest day every week so you can take a break on Sunday and get back to it on Monday and not lose any active streak. This would be completely fine by me, but any solution that makes it so streaks don’t terminate after a single bad day would be great.

Communication optimizations

A couple of the major improvements in the concept for communication on Apple Watch include better response suggestions for Messages and Scribble with autocomplete.

At the bottom of every iMessage thread, there are dozens of options to reply with a single tap. I love these sometimes, but they’re not always useful, nor do they match my style of speaking in messages. Here’s a great example: my wife just texted me “my head hurts” and the top reply options are:

  • Thank you
  • Thanks
  • Ok
  • Yes
  • No
  • Talk later?
  • Hold on a sec…
  • BRB

None of these are right, and some of them are going to result in a conversation with my wife later if I accidentally chose one of them.

And the idea for Scribble with autocomplete on Apple Watch just makes sense and would be a natural extension from iOS.

One tap less

This one is pretty vague, but Apple should make a run through of the things you do on the watch and try to remove one tap from the process. This “one tap less” initiative would look at analytics for what people do on their watches most and would simply try to remove one tap from the process. We’re not rewriting the whole OS yet, but optimizing flows so people are more likely to do them on the watch than pull out their phone would help a lot.

Possibly related here, Matt features what looks like a new Dock/app manager screen in the top image that could definitely remove some taps.

Battery life

Matt also offers other great ideas like something in between normal and Battery Save mode to improve battery life without losing everything but the time.

Normal mode promises 18 hours and typically gets a bit more than that for most people . Battery saver mode effectively makes the watch useless, even as a watch since it takes about 2-5 seconds for the time to even show up after you press a button, which feels like an eternity. There should be a new mode between these that makes the Apple Watch useful, but sucks up a lot less power.

Another sharp idea is a “Weekend Getaway” mode

With these things removed, that basically leaves your watch face and essential notifications. You will be able to raise your wrist and see the time, basic complication data, and messaging notifications are they come in. It’s pretty basic, but for many people I bet it wouldn’t be too big of a change from how they use their watch most of the time. The biggest hit would come from activity tracking disappearing, but if you’re going to be out of town for a few days (and you’re not obsessed with your streak), that might be worth sacrificing.

There’s lots more in this concept like thoughts on Always-On display improvements, third-party watch faces, quicker interactions, better wireless speeds, Shortcuts support, and also iPad and Android sync.

Matt closes out the concept by noting:

I still think there is a chance for Apple to make a bigger change to the Apple Watch’s fundamental interface than what I proposed here. My concept is an evolution, not a revolution in smartwatch design. If Apple decides to make a more dramatic change this year, I’ll be on the edge of my seat, just like you.

Check out the full watchOS 7 concept for all the great ideas and images.

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