Secret Apple lab allows early Apple Watch access to developers from Facebook, BMW, others

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited March 2015
Apple reportedly granted developers from big-name companies monitored access to Apple Watch at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., in hopes of building out a solid initial app offering when the device launches in April.




Speaking on the condition of anonymity, sources told Bloomberg that representatives from Facebook, BMW, Facebook, United Continental Holdings and others spent weeks camped out at a secret Apple lab, testing to test their bite sized apps on Apple Watch hardware. The first batch of apps are expected to ship alongside the device next month.

As can be expected, Apple instituted stringent security protocols to ensure secrets stayed within company walls. Sources said the rooms have no Internet access and people moving in and out of labs with test Watch hardware are prohibited from bringing in outside materials, including notepads.

One person said companies had to bring in app code on a computer that stays at Apple's campus. Apple is even storing source code locally and only intends to release it to the companies closer to Apple Watch's debut.

After working with Apple Watch, sources said the hardware is slow at times, especially when interacting with an iPhone via Bluetooth. It is unclear if these issues will be resolved by launch, or are indicative of what users can expect, as developers are assumedly in the midst of optimizing their software.

Apple is widely expected to detail Apple Watch capabilities, as well as launch apps, at a special event on March 9. AppleInsider is attending and will provide live coverage starting at 10 a.m. Pacific.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Facebook is popular
  • Reply 2 of 21
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,038member
    And this is what you call doubling down on security, for those that always mock Cook about that statement. Clearly Apple's security policies are as stringent, if not more, than ever.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,691member

    BMW? They've not even bothered to get their act together with CarPlay. Supposedly, they were one of the early signers-on, and were slated to have it in their 2015 models. Yet, nothing so far (in the US).

     

    A wasted effort on that front, I am guessing.

  • Reply 4 of 21
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    BMW? They've not even bothered to get their act together with CarPlay. Supposedly, they were one of the early signers-on, and were slated to have it in their 2015 models. Yet, nothing so far (in the US).

     

    A wasted effort on that front, I am guessing.


    Maybe but they do have a couple iPhone apps already. 

  • Reply 5 of 21
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,691member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    Maybe but they do have a couple iPhone apps already. 


    Meh.

  • Reply 6 of 21
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     
    Meh.


    Yeah, I get it, you want a new BMW but with CarPlay.

     

    Love my 2015 535, but you know the 2015 models came out like mid year 2014

     

    I bought mine in July 2014.

  • Reply 7 of 21
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,691member
    mstone wrote: »
    Yeah, I get it, you want a new BMW but with CarPlay.

    Love my 2015 535, but you know the 2015 models came out like mid year 2014

    Yes, I do. :-D

    That said, it's a bit more. In general, I am very unimpressed by BMW's software skills. Their dashboard is primitive software-wise (In all fairness, they're not unique in that respect). They really would serve their customers better if they outsourced their dashboard to a great software company like Apple. I have no idea whose asses they're trying to cover, or what they're holding out for, when it comes to CarPlay.

    I don't know where you live, but in the US, the new year's models don't come out until the Fall of the prior year, and often later than that depending on the particular configuration, color, etc (e.g., the delivery of mine went out all the way to December, even though I had pre-ordered it in July).
  • Reply 8 of 21
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post



    That said, it's a bit more. In general, I am very unimpressed by BMW's software skills. Their dashboard is primitive software-wise (In all fairness, they're not unique in that respect).

     

    That would be BMW's supplier's software skills, Harman International (the Harman Kardon people). If you're talking about the speedometer panel, that would be a separate supplier, which I'm totally guessing, is likely to be Bosch or Continental.

  • Reply 9 of 21
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    Maybe but they do have a couple iPhone apps already. 


    Meh.


     

    Oh boy, your iSeries charge status on your wrist! How innovative. /s 

  • Reply 10 of 21
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     
    I don't know where you live, but in the US, the new year's models don't come out until the Fall of the prior year, and often later than that depending on the particular configuration, color, etc (e.g., the delivery of mine went out all the way to December, even though I had pre-ordered it in July).


    Bought it off the lot mid july 2014 in Irvine, California. Just lucky I guess because it was fully loaded and in metallic gray with black interior. Exactly what I was looking for. They only had one and I got it the same day is was delivered to the dealer.

     

    EDIT: Well not exactly off the lot it was in the warehouse all covered in plastic.

  • Reply 11 of 21

    Wish I discovered this website when the iPad was going to be launched... I would have loved to see what the ratio of optimists to skeptics was back then.

     

    I have a trip scheduled to the UK shortly. It would have been nice if it was a couple of weeks later and co-incided with the release of the Apple Watch in the UK. I would have picked it up in a hurry!

  • Reply 12 of 21
    blazarblazar Posts: 270member
    My audi $70k vehicle has crap for a user interface. It's like the iphone was never invented... It feels like 2005 still.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    Yeah, I get it, you want a new BMW but with CarPlay.

     

    Love my 2015 535, but you know the 2015 models came out like mid year 2014

     

    I bought mine in July 2014.


     

    Curious what your opinion is on Tesla (it's no secret I don't like them at all).

     

    I'm intimately familiar with BMW electronics and your car would be far more advanced than any Tesla in so many regards (depending on what options you have).

     

    BMW is like Apple - lots of technology going on underneath but they never really advertise it or talk about it. Where other manufacturers would list them all so they could show a huge long list of check marks.

  • Reply 14 of 21
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    slurpy wrote: »
    And this is what you call doubling down on security, for those that always mock Cook about that statement. Clearly Apple's security policies are as stringent, if not more, than ever.

    Apple did the same with the original iPad. It's not just big brands who have access; it's anyone with a (very!) good relationship with Apple and a proven track record of delivering great software.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    Hmmm, 'Facebook' went twice and "testing to test their bite sized apps" all in the first paragraph!
  • Reply 16 of 21
    dugbugdugbug Posts: 283member
    Curious what your opinion is on Tesla (it's no secret I don't like them at all).

    I'm intimately familiar with BMW electronics and your car would be far more advanced than any Tesla in so many regards (depending on what options you have).

    BMW is like Apple - lots of technology going on underneath but they never really advertise it or talk about it. Where other manufacturers would list them all so they could show a huge long list of check marks.

    I really like bmw interior sw. They forego touch screens and give you real knobs and whatnot but they are all digital and work very well. Their hud is a little too minimal though.

    If still would use CarPlay if they updated the car to support it.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,691member
    konqerror wrote: »

    That would be BMW's supplier's software skills, Harman International (the Harman Kardon people). If you're talking about the speedometer panel, that would be a separate supplier, which I'm totally guessing, is likely to be Bosch or Continental.

    I am talking about their core interface, the iDrive.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    So the Apple Watch is slow at times and has trouble communicating with the iPhone via Bluetooth. Perhaps taking on an Adobe employee wasn't the wisest move.

    Time is running out for Apple. I trust Tim Cook still has some fingernails left.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,691member
    blazar wrote: »
    My audi $70k vehicle has crap for a user interface. It's like the iphone was never invented... It feels like 2005 still.

    I agree. My previous car was an Audi, and MMI (if that's what it's still called) is worse than iDrive.

    As I said, I don't understand why they aren't embracing Apple's software with open arms. I am quite impressed by what Jaguar and Volvo are doing.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,172member
    So the Apple Watch is slow at times and has trouble communicating with the iPhone via Bluetooth.
    Short battery life, limited to basic features -- sounds like a typical 1G device offering.

    And that doesn't include all the as yet unknown real world issues that will crop up once it ends up on the wrists of consumers.

    I'm just hoping all the nifty watch activation features, like raising your arm to illuminate the display work better than some of the similar Siri-based implementations on the iPhone.

    Should be a very cool toy for earlier adopters, but not one that I think will sell as well as everyone is predicting.

    BTW, the picture used for this article with the rainbow app, is perhaps the most unflattering picture of the ?Watch I have seen.
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