The new features in watchOS 2 were revealed earlier this year, but now the operating system has a shipping date: September 16. Apple also announced additional Apple Watch bands and finishes, available today in 24 countries, and revealed a partnership with luxury-goods maker Hermes to bring its Double Tour bands—along with classic Hermes faces—unique to those bands.
WatchOS 2 allows apps to run natively on the Watch and access hardware directly, such as tapping into the microphone, health sensors, and speaker. It can also display video, and will offer third-party complications—the little details on watch faces, like moon phases—and handle transit directions.
Apple showed two new finishes for the anodized aluminum Sport edition: gold and rose gold. And the popular black Sport band is now available for the higher-priced stainless-steel watch model. An update to the leather brand makes it two-toned, and Apple added a product(red) band; a portion its sales will be devoted to AIDS research. Special Hermes bands will appear in select stores in October.
Apple brought health-care firm Airstrip One on stage to briefly show off the capabilities of a doctor-oriented Watch app that allows assistance with bringing up patient data on rounds, as well as an app to allow an obstetrician to pull up remote information when a pregnant woman runs tests with a supported monitor, including the fetal heartbeat.
Apple CEO Tim Cook also quickly showed Facebook Messenger and a remote video view for GoPro cameras running natively on the Watch. He noted that the App Store now has over 10,000 Watch-enabled apps.