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What the Apple Watch Will Do For App Development

Posted In Apple, SmartWatch - By Techtiplib on Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 With No Comments »

The Apple Watch, announced in September, is Apple’s first, and much anticipated, foray into the digital wearables market. The Apple Watch brings with it a handful of new implications, not only for the wearers of the watch, but also for the software developers building apps for the watch.

This new medium for app development is very different from both mobile phones and tablet devices. While many consumers have both of those items within an arm’s reach, the Apple Watch will be on that arm, making it an extremely intimate object.

apple watch

What It Won’t Do

One of the best ways to determine how the Apple Watch will affect app development, is to look at what it won’t do. If you look back to when the iPad was first being announced, you saw implications for impressive videos, gaming, and productivity tools. The iPad’s large screen allowed to be a handheld game device while at the same time allowing users to edit documents on the fly. 

Well, the Apple Watch will not do that. You won’t find Joe Businessman typing away at his wrist in order to get his presentation ready. You won’t find Candy Crush addicts swiping itty-bitty candy pieces around a board. The next “Game of Thrones” novel will not be read by scrolling down your Apple Watch.

All of these types of interactions are much more suited for phones, tablets, and computers. Anything involving extensive writing, reading, or intricate gaming will probably not be readily adopted by Apple Watch wearers. 

The Apple Watch also won’t be for everyone, at least not yet. With any new technology based device, there are early adopters. The early adopters for this particular device might be a little more affluent than the people that jumped on the new iPhone. For one thing, it comes with a $350 price tag, but it also seems to be just a supplement to a phone at this point. Most people are going to purchase a phone before they purchase a watch as the phone provides more utility. So while it may be adopted widespread in the future, you certainly cannot expect mass adoption in the first year.

New Operating System

Apple Watch also introduces a new operating system to the Apple family. Ever since the inception of the iPad you’ve had to develop for multiple screens and systems. The iPhone 5 and now the iPhone 6 Plus have also introduced new screen sizes, affecting how you developed your app.

Due to the fact that the Apple Watch introduces a new OS, you can expect to spread your development team even farther or put together a team solely focused on Apple Watch development.

Interactions and Gestures

The Apple Watch introduces a new way to interact. Essentially this is related to the OS but it is important to point out this very different form of gesture.

The Apple Watch will use a pressure-based gesture as a way to interact with apps. So instead of swiping left or right, a user might need to push down softer or harder based on what they want to accomplish. 

Provide Utility for Everyday Life

One of the biggest things that the Apple Watch will do for developers is force them to think differently. As mentioned before, not every app or game in its current state will be directly transferrable to the watch.

A lot of apps that are currently in the works are geared towards providing utility for everyday life. For example BMW owners will be able to unlock their cars using the watch and Starwood guests can unlock their rooms using the watch. 

Additionally, the watch will monitor physical activity such as how many steps you take or how long you are standing for. This obviously offers some great health implications for the watch. Can you monitor pulse, heart rate, etc.? 

Fresh Start 

The Apple Watch should be looked by developers as a fresh start. A clean slate. Developer’s shouldn’t just be trying to figure out how to resize their app for the Apple Watch. They should looking at it from a perspective of “How can my app benefit users on a daily basis?”.

If offers app developers a new way to interact with their users. A watch is typically a much more personal item than a phone. After all, the watch will be on their wrist the entire day.

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