WatchOS 6 brings Watch App Store, new watch faces, taptic chimes, independent apps, and streaming audio

Some significant updates to watchOS were announced at today’s WWDC. The emphasis here seems to be on making the Apple Watch more independent and less of a companion device to an iPhone. Part of this process includes launching the Apple Watch App Store, allowing apps to run on the watch independently, and allowing developers access to the streaming API.

Up until now, the Apple Watch, even the cellular models, has been mostly dependent on a connected iPhone for apps and data. Leaving your phone at home is feasible for some things, but the limitations imposed by watchOS means you only really have access to Apple’s core apps and basic functions. With the changes coming with watchOS 6, those who opt for the cellular model can get much of the functionality of the iPhone right on the watch without the need for a connected device.

Other new features coming with watchOS 6 will be:

  • New watchfaces
  • Taptic chimes: Chimes which play on the hour.
  • New activity features

There’s no word yet on when watchOS 6 will release to the public, but if the past is any indicator, developer builds will be up after the keynote.