Apple WatchOS 4.3 Developer Beta brings some new usability features
In late 2017, Google released Android Wear 2.8 based on Oreo that included a dark mode to try and improve battery life. Now it is Apple’s turn as they introduce the developer’s beta for WatchOS 4.3 with a few handy new usability features, as reported by Macrumors in the video below.
The ability to navigate, control, and select the music playing from your Apple Music library has returned. While Apple Music is the only service supported by this feature, music playing via other methods such as the music player or Spotify can still be controlled by the conventional play/pause, skip, and so forth.
Users of Android Wear or Samsung Tizen have enjoyed the ability to select custom watch faces that display miniature step or calorie counters. Apple’s watch face allows for several means of customization including a couple with activity information, but this wasn’t possible if you wanted to use the Siri watch face. The 4.3 update now adds an activity card to the Siri watch face with this information.
Lastly, there is now a portrait version of nightstand mode so you don’t have to charge the watch on its side. Not a huge change, but options are always nice.
As for the state of the smartwatch market, it is still relatively small but Apple is clearly dominating. A report from May 2017 found that Apple had a 57 percent market share, Samsung’s Tizen was in second at 19 percent, while Android wear slipped to third place with 18 percent. The remainder was made up of a small number of other ecosystems.
WatchOS enjoys good manufacturer support, modern hardware, and a strong app market. Tizen is comparatively behind in app availability, but Samsung’s software and hardware (SoC) support help to create devices with pleasing performance. The future of Android Wear could be interesting from here since many OEMs comprise its smaller market share. The app market isn't as well developed as WatchOS and generally older SoC technology is used and this limits performance and reduces battery life.