Hands-on with watchOS 3.2 beta 1

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Theater Mode finally makes its way to Apple Watch in watchOS 3.2 beta 1.
Theatre mode finally makes its way to the Apple Watch.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s latest beta software for Apple Watch brings two new handy features in addition to the general bug fixes we expect to see with each release. Check out the video below to see watchOS 3.2 beta 1 in action.

What’s new in watchOS 3.2 beta 1?

Two big changes in watchOS 3.2 beta 1, which was released to developers Monday, will likely have the biggest day-to-day impact on your Apple Watch experience.

SiriKit support for Apple Watch

The first is Siri support for third-party Watch apps. The SiriKit framework, which arrived with iOS 10 last year, and has now made it over to Apple’s wearable platform.

SiriKit allows developers to make their apps better by incorporating Siri interactions for things like messaging, booking rides and searching photos. We’ll obviously have to wait a while to see how this one plays out, but it’s definitely something a lot of people are rightly enthusiastic about.

Theater Mode for Apple Watch

The other big update is the new Theater Mode, which a lot of people incorrectly thought would arrive earlier. Theater mode (or “Cinema Mode,” as it appears here in Blighty) is designed to make keep your Apple Watch from disturbing other people when you go to the movies, a play, etc.

Theater Mode puts your Apple Watch into silent mode, then keeps the screen dark until you tap it or press the Digital Crown or side button. However, you will still get alerts via haptic feedback, which you can easily read, so it’s not the same as turning off your Watch altogether.

watchOS 3.2 is still in it’s first beta, so it’s likely to be a few months before it hits a public release. As always with beta software, it’s likely that some features will get polished up (or possible scrapped entirely) before the final release.

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