Apple seems to be in the process of untethering the Apple Watch from the iPhone with watchOS 6. The inclusion of an on-watch App Store is part of that process, and now it seems clear the company is working to make on-device software updates possible, too.
With the release of watchOS 6 beta 1 Apple added a new option in the Settings app that allowed users to check for a new software update, just like on iPhones and iPads. That feature was put to the test when watchOS 6 beta 2 was released earlier this week.
However, while it’s clear that Apple is moving towards removing the Apple Watch’s reliance on an iPhone, Jeremy Horwitz noted that the current implementation still requires users to give the OK for the update on their iPhone. That will presumably not be the case in the future.
Currently users must update their Apple Watch via their iPhone, with he update downloaded there before being transferred to their wearable. However, if Apple can remove that step then the update scan be downloaded directly to the Apple Watch itself, removing the need for the additional transfer time.
Apple has already taken steps to remove the iPhone from the Apple Watch by adding cellular capabilities with the Apple Watch Series 3 back in 2017.
Sure seems like the stage is being set for direct-to-Apple Watch software updates in watchOS 6, though it hasn’t been fully freed quite yet from the need to approve things on the iPhone. pic.twitter.com/pf3wBC3vU5
— Jeremy Horwitz (@horwitz) June 17, 2019
With the arrival of watchOS 6 later this year the signs are good that the iPhone will become even less of a requirement for Apple Watch users.
The watchOS 6 update is currently in developer beta and will likely be available to the public this coming September.
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