While it won’t be available for end-users to securely install for quite some time, watchOS 5 developer beta 2 is now out for testing. Those who don’t currently have Apple Developer accounts will have to wait a little while before the latest versions of Cupertino’s wearable operating system becomes available as a public beta release. Software experts are hoping that public betas for both watchOS and tvOS come out later in the week, though they may be delayed until early next week.
It seems that Apple wanted to ensure that no one bricked devices due to security or kernel-related problems, however, which means that the beta profile offered even to Apple Developer site members was initially for the first beta version even after the second came out. This level of caution might be the reason that public beta versions are a bit delayed, as Apple’s engineers more than likely don’t care to cause any hardware-related issues to equipment purchased by end-users.
Most of the new features have more to do with enhanced functionality than security or performance improvements, but one recent statement from Apple’s technical core has proven very interesting to those who keep an eye on watchOS developments.
On June 13, Apple told journalists from Reuters that iOS 12 devices would get locked in USB Restricted Mode to protect user’s personal data. While watchOS, tvOS and other Apple embedded platforms don’t come with the same concerns that iOS devices do, it will be interesting to see if there’s any new major security or privacy feature when the general public beta comes out.
Wearable computing privacy issues have been something of a hot topic lately, so Apple may wish to focus on this in the near future. For now, developers were treated to new features like a ‘Now Playing’ indicator on the watch face and independent volume control for Siri.
Other changes in beta 2 include the Walkie-Talkie app finally showing friend suggestions, which is an improvement that many users have been asking for. This is in additional to new competitive social activity sharing as well as an increased list of different workout types that now includes yoga and hiking.