Apple releases WatchKit developer tools for creating Apple Watch apps & more

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2014
Apple on Tuesday announced the availability of WatchKit, allowing developers to begin creating custom third-party applications, Glances and actionable notifications for the upcoming Apple Watch, before the wrist-worn accessory hits the market in early 2015.




Developers can now begin creating WatchKit apps before the Apple Watch becomes available, along with actionable notifications and Glances. The tools are available along with the new iOS 8.2 software development kit available at Apple's developer website.

A 28-minute-long video is also available at Apple's website, bringing developers up to speed on how they can get started with WatchKit and begin building apps and more for the Apple Watch.

"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," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "With the iOS 8.2 beta SDK, developers can now start using WatchKit to create breakthrough new apps, Glances and actionable notifications designed for the innovative Apple Watch interface and work with new technologies such as Force Touch, Digital Crown and Taptic Engine."




WatchKit apps will come in two parts: A WatchKit extension that runs on iPhone, as well as a set of user interface resources that are installed on Apple Watch. When an app is launched on Apple Watch, the WatchKit extension on iPhone runs in the background to update the user interface and respond to user interactions.

WatchKit also provides three opportunities for developers to extend an iPhone app to Apple Watch: WatchKit apps, Glances, and actionable notifications.

With WatchKit, developers can create notifications that allow users to take action or respond right from their wrist. These include turning the lights off after a user has left their house, quickly accessing flight details at the airport, or rerouting transit when a train or bus is late.

Developers can also incorporate Glances, which quickly show users information they care about most, such as the latest news and sports scores, alarm system status or the next step of a favorite recipe.




"Fans crave real-time and personal information, and the ESPN app for Apple Watch gives us the ability to deliver live scores and information for their favorite teams," said John Kosner, executive vice president of Digital and Print Media at ESPN. "Glances provide fans with a snapshot of live games, and if there is no game taking place, they'll get valuable game-time information or the final box score. With actionable notifications, the experience becomes even more personal, as fans receive alerts on score changes, news and more."

The WatchKit site includes programming guides, human interface guidelines, templates and more. And starting later next year, developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch, which will not require an iPhone component. Apple Watch will require users to have an iPhone 5 or later.

"Apple Watch allows us to make the Instagram experience even more intimate and in the moment," said Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram. "With actionable notifications you can see and instantly like a photo or react with an emoji. The Instagram news and watch list allows you to see your friends' latest photos, follow new accounts and get a real-time view of your likes and comments."

WatchKit and the iOS 8.2 SDK are both included in a newly released Xcode 6.2 beta released by Apple on Tuesday. Creating software for Apple Watch requires a membership in the iOS Developer Program.

"The American Airlines app on Apple Watch reminds you when it's time to head to the airport via pre-trip notifications, and provides updates for gate changes, connecting gate info upon arrival, and will notify you when boarding begins if you're not at the gate yet," said John Gustafson, American Airlines vice president of Digital. "Travelers can also ask 'Where am I?' in-flight and get real-time location information at 30,000 ft."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18

    Oh man, I never even considered being able to keep an MLB game on my watch screen...that'll be great! And MLB's apps are first rate, so I expect that to happen.

     

    Just another reason I want one of these.

  • Reply 2 of 18
    Boom. Downloading now.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    Notifications. I can see it now. "LinkedIn update: Mike Smith, Sarah Anderson and 2 others just connected with Donna Paige. Swipe to read more..."

    Ugh, gives new meaning to the old expression: "not on my watch."
  • Reply 4 of 18

    So I guess we know 8.2 will enable Watch support, and we shouldn't expect it until probably February at the earliest.

     

    Well, this is the first time we've gotten to a .2 release in iOS since iOS 4...that's a good sign, I suppose. Bout time we stop the version # burn.

  • Reply 5 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,931member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    Ugh, gives new meaning to the old expression: "not on my watch."

    Hah, I like this.

  • Reply 6 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    Notifications. I can see it now. "LinkedIn update: Mike Smith, Sarah Anderson and 2 others just connected with Donna Paige. Swipe to read more..."



    Ugh, gives new meaning to the old expression: "not on my watch."



    After enjoying early experiences with Apple Pay, I decided (don't mock) to install google wallet just to hold my 'loyalty' cards. Now when i drive past a certain Walgreens, my pebble notifies me about paying with google wallet. I trust the Apple Watch interface will allow you to determine specifically which apps can notify the watch,

  • Reply 7 of 18

    And so it begins.

     

    I don't think the Android watch makers are prepared for the onslaught of high quality Apps and the features they bring that iOS developers will come up with for the Apple Watch.

     

    I, for one, am looking forward to seeing new ideas. Right now I'm not sold on getting a smartwatch, but I could be convinced if I see something new and go "wow, I never thought of that".

  • Reply 8 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post



    Boom. Downloading now.



    Same here!

  • Reply 9 of 18
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    So much for the theory some had that apps wouldn't drop until WWDC. Looks like the SDK is glances, notifications and apps. I agree with Ben Bajarin who tweeted that others lack of integration will make it difficult for them to compete with Apple.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    So much for the theory some had that apps wouldn't drop until WWDC. Looks like the SDK is glances, notifications and apps. I agree with Ben Bajarin who tweeted that others lack of integration will make it difficult for them to compete with Apple.

     

    The preliminary WatchKit documentation indicates that more features will be available "later next year."

    So maybe iOS 9 will have deeper Apple Watch -> iPhone integration.

    Or maybe Apple Watch will be able to do more without iPhone.  We'll see.

  • Reply 11 of 18

    YES.

     

    I've been waiting for this since they announced WatchKit

     

    I can not fing wait for this massive download to complete.

  • Reply 12 of 18
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,998member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Looks like the SDK is glances, notifications and apps

     

    Apple is very good about only releasing things when they're well conceived and ready.  Just like the iOS SDK became more powerful and took advantage of new technologies in each iteration, so will the Watch SDK.

  • Reply 13 of 18
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,312member
    This API is not the full deal as the app need to run most of the code on the phone

    But for now it's good enough.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,831member

    Same here!

    I would but my MBP refused to boot up yesterday. Talk about timing.
  • Reply 15 of 18

    Quite why Apple see fit to display a snot-green strap in their advertising material is beyond me.

  • Reply 16 of 18
    shsfshsf Posts: 302member

    It's really interesting and shows the care that's been put in the product, how two sizes and the different bracelets give a completely different look to the watch. 

  • Reply 17 of 18
    Notifications. I can see it now. "LinkedIn update: Mike Smith, Sarah Anderson and 2 others just connected with Donna Paige. Swipe to read more..."

    Ugh, gives new meaning to the old expression: "not on my watch."

    Now THAT was funny!
  • Reply 18 of 18
    Actually, WatchKit allows you to make extensions for iPhone apps, so you can have some of their functionality and information display on the Apple Watch.

    You can't create new Apple Watch apps right now.
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