Watch Apps

WatchKit is now available. Which means, it’s time to develop innovative Watch Apps. But, before we begin, we must comprehend what a Watch App is and how it’s different from other iOS apps.

Apple’s intentions are clear: Watch Apps will be iPhone-based with a unified design scheme. Watch Apps, therefore, will not replace iPhone apps. But instead, Watch Apps will augment iPhone apps, making them more accessible and powerful, by giving Apple Watch wearers fluid access to extensive, relevant data.

Watch Kit Design and Development

With WatchKit, developers should aim to create a lightweight experience. Interactions will be brief, so interfaces must be simple. And since the processing will take place on the iPhone, a Watch Apps’ main function will be rendering an iPhone apps’ UI.

Apple has provided particular templates for creating simple, dynamic interactions. First there’s Glances, a quick and lightweight view, that gives wearers an abbreviated form of timely, relevant data from an iPhone app. Glances are meant to be read-only snapshots of information, like sports scores and weather updates. Additionally, Apple introduced Actionable Notifications, which allows users to take specific actions or transition to a specific area of a Watch App.

Creating a Watch App that’s simple yet vital will require meticulous care, so developing for Apple Watch will be, unsurprisingly, design-centric. But since a Watch Apps’ functionality is derived from its iPhone app, developers will use many of the same tools, such as Storyboard, when developing with WatchKit. With the exception of new objects like the separator object, which provides a visual break between UI elements, WatchKit’s objects will also be similar to those used with the iOS SDK.

Apple Watch introduces new gestures. For example, Apple Watch senses pressure, so Watch Apps can use Force Touch to display onscreen menus. Also, a twisting knob on the side of the watch face can be used for scrolling and, supposedly, by simply raising your wrist, you’ll be able to transform a short notification into a long one.

Apple Watch is designed for continuity and the use of the Handoff, so it’s not surprising that all Watch Apps are required to have a standard black background, minimizing clutter. This sense is furthered because, although Watch Apps should use key title colors for their titles and status notifications, Apple encourages limiting logos.

Apple Watch’s Implications

Whether or not Apple Watch disrupts and transfigure our world remains to be seen. But Watch Apps will engage though a modern-medium that has compacted technology like never before. Remember seven years ago, when smartphones felt foreign? I don’t, and that’s because true disruptive technology is a natural solution. Once we have it, we can’t remember not having it.

iPhone apps are personal, but Watch Apps, will utilize modern, innovative sensors and collect data subconsciously. Watch Apps will be a new kind of app, an app that integrates and transforms existing technologies. Watch Apps promise to obtain accurate personal data and expand usability. With Apple Watch, there’s, literally, infinite possibility, so it’s most powerful uses will develop over time.

When introducing WatchKit, Phil Schiller, Apple’s Worldwide Marketing senior vice president said, “Apple Watch is our most personal device ever, and WatchKit provides the incredible iOS developer community with the tools they need to create exciting new experiences right on your wrist.” In this statement, Phil Schiller is being ambiguous. Most personal device ever, what does that really mean? Isn’t feel subjective? How can Apple Watch feel personal if we haven’t even used it yet? All these questions are valid, but Phil Schiller’s ambiguity is calculated. Apple has always created devices that foster creativity, open-ended tools that, with guidance, allow users and developers to realize their amazing potential. And Apple Watch is no different.

Right now, it may be easy to say that Apple Watch is just a watch, how powerful can it be? But, in 2007, the iPhone was just a phone.

-Andrew Gaylord



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