Apple appears to be untethering the iPhone’s Apple Watch with watchOS 6. The inclusion of an on-watch App Store is part of that process, and now it seems clear that the company is also working to make software updates on-device possible.
Apple has added a new option in the Settings app with the release of watchOS 6 beta 1 that allows users to check for a new software update, just like iPhones and iPads. That feature was tested earlier this week when watchOS 6 beta 2 was released.
While it is clear, however, that Apple is moving towards removing the reliance of the Apple Watch on an iPhone, Jeremy Horwitz noted that the current implementation still requires users to update their iPhone to the OK. This is probably not going to be the case in the future.
Users currently have to update their Apple Watch via their iPhone, with it updating downloaded before being transferred to their wearable device. If Apple can remove this step, however, the update scan will be downloaded directly to the Apple Watch itself, eliminating the need for additional transfer time.
By adding cellular capabilities with Apple Watch Series 3 back in 2017, Apple has already taken steps to remove the iPhone from Apple Watch.
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
The signs are good with the arrival of watchOS 6 later this year that the iPhone will become even less a requirement for users of Apple Watch. The update of watchOS 6 is currently in the beta developer and is expected to be available to the public next September.