There is no doubt that Apple’s Watch OS has evolved significantly since the introduction of the first-generation device back in 2015. While the original Apple Watch was still a step above the competition when it was released, the wearable was nonetheless bogged down by its software and lack of “killer apps,” which pretty much made the device into a very expensive accessory and very little else.
One notable aspect of the Apple Watch that its first users have grievances with was the fact that its operating system was not fully optimized yet. Users mostly praised the device for its sleek design and physical controls, but its software was a completely different story. Over time, however, Apple’s Watch OS managed to find its stride, and the Apple Watch began standing on its own.
Watch OS 4, the current iteration of the wearable’s operating system, is already leagues better than the first OS the device shipped with back in 2015. If Apple’s announcements earlier this month during the WWDC 2018 are any indication, it appears that Watch OS 5 would be even better, according to Apple Insider.
Among the standout features of Watch OS 5 is its walkie-talkie feature, which essentially enables a short call to be initiated between two Apple Watches through either WiFi or cellular data. Apple’s demo for the feature during WWDC 2018 was lighthearted enough, but the potential of the technology is actually pretty vast.
Establishing contact between two Apple Watches requires merely an invite from one user to another. Once the invitation is accepted, all users have to do is to press the “Talk” button on the Apple Watch’s face to speak a message. Releasing the “Talk” button automatically sends the message to the other user’s Apple Watch, as noted in a Forbes report. Messages are played through the device’s speakers, or through AirPods, if users are using them at the moment.
One notable advantage of Watch OS 5’s walkie-talkie feature is the fact that it uses very little data. Since the messages do not constitute a voice call, the connection and the content of the messages between two devices are kept safe. No audio files are stored since neither of the paired devices actually record messages. This allows Apple to avoid privacy implications of push-to-talk voice messaging. Considering the value of privacy in the mobile industry today, features like Watch OS 5’s walkie-talkie could very well prove to be far more than a gimmick.
Walkie-talkie is included with the Watch OS 5 update that is coming to Apple Watch owners later this year. All Apple Watches, from Series 1 to Series 3, will be able to access the new push-to-talk feature. Watch OS 5 would be unavailable for the pre-Series 1 Apple Watch.