Native app support is coming to the Apple Watch this fall, allowing developers to make not just extensions of games and apps for the iPhone, but standalone software for the wrist.
The announcement was made during the keynote for the week's World Wide Developer Conference by Apple, the company's twenty-sixth.
The 2.0 WatchOS update, which is available to developers today and hits the watch for free this fall, will allow full programs to run on the watch and also unlocks a number of the watch's inputs and controls for developers to work with.
With the new OS, developers will be able to use the built-in microphone, play audio on the watch speaker, play short videos, use the accelerometer, use the taptic engine and use the crown.
The plethora of new input methods, as well as the ability to have apps and games run without the need for the iPhone, will likely spell an explosion of innovation on the diminutive device.
The new WatchOS also brings with it updates to a number of other things including watch faces, the health kit and how the watch charges.
New watch faces shown off during the event allow users to create a face out of a single photo, an album or a series of timelapse images. There will also be new information that can be added to a face pulled from supporting apps. That includes things like flight times, electric car charge levels and appointments. The face also supports the ability to move through this new information by turning the crown to fast forward time. For instance, using the crown to look at what appointment you will have in a few hours.
The iOS update also turns your watch into a nightstand alarm when you have it charging at your bedside. Friend categories are coming to the watch, allowing you to have way more friends loaded into your watch. Other updates include multiple colors for messaging and being able to reply to an email from your wrist.
Apple officials also announced the latest version of the Mac's operating system: OS X El Capitan. The new operating system, which introduces new user interface experiences and performance tweaks, is free for download this fall. The upcoming iOS 9 Apple phone update was also detailed. It includes an improved Siri, upgraded Apple Pay, a slew of tweaks to popular built-in apps and split-screen and picture-in-picture support. The iOS upgrade hits this fall for free.