1. Apple Watch Programming Guide Offers Tips on Leveraging This Year's Hottest Wearable
2/11/2015 9:01:40 AM
Apple Watch Programming Guide Offers Tips on Leveraging This Year's Hottest Wearable
Apple Watch Programming Guide,Notifications,Messages,WatchKit App,WatchKit Extension
App Developer Magazine

Apple Watch Programming Guide Offers Tips on Leveraging This Year's Hottest Wearable

Richard Harris Richard Harris in iOS Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A look into the Apple Watch Programming Guide, which provides a “preliminary” overview, tells you all you need to know when taking a developer-centric look at Apple’s upcoming wearable as they say: Rather than pull an iPhone out of a pocket, a user can glance at Apple Watch and get important information quickly. Apps written for Apple Watch support these brief interactions by providing only the most relevant information in the most straightforward way possible.

The key phrase here is “brief interactions.” So the new device will really just be an extension of an iPhone, providing limited access to that iPhone's apps. So the million dollar question is how do you leverage the functionality of your iOS app through the Apple Watch so that it adds true value that your app users will want to utilize based on this limited functionality? 

Like most of the smart watches out today, the main way that app developers will probably use the Apple Watch will be for notifications and messages, at least in the beginning. How far you go from there is based on your app type, its value proposition, and how it leverages the Apple Watch technology (screen size, monitors, connectivity, etc). 

What most consumers who buy an Apple Watch will not want is their wearable blowing up with messages and notifications every second - that will get old really quickly. So the Apple Watch real estate will be most competitive indeed and should be carefully considered when developing for. I think a lot of watch apps are going to be "tried and trashed" on the Apple Watch than any other device before it because consumers are going to be more picky about functionality.

As the guide points out, creation of a third-party app requires two separate bundles. (1) a WatchKit app that runs on Apple Watch and (2) a WatchKit extension that runs on the user’s iPhone. The WatchKit app contains only the storyboards and resource files associated with your app’s user interface. The WatchKit extension contains the code for managing the WatchKit app’s user interface and for responding to user interactions.

Apple explains how a user interacts with a WatchKit app in the following ways:

- The user interacts with your app’s full interface by launching the app from the home screen. Your app’s full interface can have multiple screens of content and can facilitate interactions with your app’s data. You must always provide a full app experience.

- A Glance is a read-only interface that you use to display the most timely and relevant information from your app. Providing a glance is optional.

- Custom notification interfaces change the way local and remote notification content is displayed to the user. Use a custom interface to incorporate graphics, additional content, and a custom layout to your notification content. Providing custom notification interfaces is optional.

How do you provide a “full app experience”? That will be the fun part (i.e. challenging!). To get the full rundown offered through the guide you can read it directly here.

Read more: https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios...

Subscribe to App Developer Magazine

Become a subscriber of App Developer Magazine for just $5.99 a month and take advantage of all these perks.


  • - Exclusive content from leaders in the industry
  • - Q&A articles from industry leaders
  • - Tips and tricks from the most successful developers weekly
  • - Monthly issues, including all 90+ back-issues since 2012
  • - Event discounts and early-bird signups
  • - Gain insight from top achievers in the app store
  • - Learn what tools to use, what SDK's to use, and more

    Subscribe here