Apple Inc. introduced revised software for its watch on Monday, making it easier for engineers to develop new, faster applications for the product released for sale in April.
The new version of the watch’s operating system is “a giant moment” that provides “even more time to develop apps,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said Monday at Apple’s annual software developer conference in San Francisco.
The operating system will allow for new watch faces, put new information such as stocks, weather and sports scores on the screen and allow a wearer to reply to e-mail, said Kevin Lynch, head of software for the product.
Apple hasn’t released sales results for the watch. UBS recently reduced next year’s revenue estimate for the product and said a survey of shoppers found the percentage of people “highly likely” to buy the device fell to 8 percent from 10 percent a year ago.
Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, had said the company would preview a new software development kit at the conference that would give engineers the ability to write programs on the watch and provide access to the device’s sensors. The ability to write code natively may help improve the speed of third-party applications, something that has drawn complaints.
The slow-app issue was mentioned in 10 evaluations by major publications reviewed by Bloomberg. The Guardian, for example, wrote that third-party apps were “infuriatingly slow to launch,” while the Verge said, “Sometimes apps take forever to load and sometimes third-party apps never really load at all.”
Unlike other Apple products, the company worked to tame expectations for the introduction of the watch, offering it for demonstrations only at its stores when it debuted and sending people online to purchase it. Delivery times quickly pushed past April 24 for times four to six weeks later, in some cases into June, when Apple began taking pre-orders on April 10.
The new operating system will be available to users for free in a few months, Lynch said Monday.
Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in April that the company was working to get supply and demand in balance by the end of June.
The company on June 4 announced that the watch will be available in its retail stores in two weeks and that it also will begin selling the device in Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan on June 26.
The watch is currently available in nine countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Australia, China and Japan.