November 20, 2014
Developers can now start creating apps for Apple’s new wearable, the Apple Watch, with the company’s newly released development platform. WatchKit includes the Xcode 6.2 beta and the iOS 8.2 software development kit. Apple also provided design and user interface guidelines, so that developers can craft seamless apps for the Apple Watch. The iPhone itself will actually do most of the processing in the apps, but the watch will receive the user’s input and display output.
Developers will be able to develop WatchKit apps with a full user interface, reports TechCrunch. They can also code supplementary Glances, which are read-only notifications, and Actionable Notifications, which allow users to interact with the app by making quick replies to messages or controlling the connected iPhone.
Most of the processing of the apps will actually take place on the connected iPhone, not the watch, to help preserve the battery life of the wearable.
“Interactions need to be brief and interfaces need to be simple,” according to Apple’s development site. Apple also suggests that the app take advantage of the watch’s ability to track movement with a heart rate sensor and accelerometer. Apple Watch apps should seamlessly combine hardware and software.
Apple also offered some design tips to help developers take full advantage of the watch’s functionality. The design for an Apple Watch is much different than the design for a smartphone or tablet app. Apple Watch has a bubble-based menu, so the design tips include suggestions on home screen icons, size, layout, fonts, and text size.
Apple Watch will go on the market early next year.