With the countdown for the Apple Watch’s hotly anticipated spring release well underway, iOS developers have already started mapping out use cases and laying the groundwork for possible future app ideas.
Over the last several months details have emerged about Apple’s latest device. We know, for example, that the smartwatch will feature basic (and obvious) functions like, message alerts, photos, email notifications and maps. You’ll be able to check the local time (duh) as well as the time for a city halfway across the world. The watch will also allow you to play music, talk to Siri and use Apple Pay all with your wrist.
But what else? Well, unless you count the limited number of confirmed third-party developers, like Instagram, Twitter, Nike+, Facebook, Pinterest, who are working on apps that will work in conjunction to the Apple Watch, then it’s sort of a waiting game.
Apple has placed a numbers of tight restrictions on third-party developers. So if you are eager to develop an app for the newest smartwatch to hit the market, you’ll need to keep Apple’s restrictions in mind while brainstorming ideas, says Vojta Stavik, one of STRV’s lead iOS developers.
“You should discuss your idea with a developer before moving forward with it,” Vojta says. “This is a completely new platform. So that means it will take a while to get everything running smoothly. No one has actually held an Apple Watch yet. There is just a lot of speculation right now.”
What is known, however, is that “all apps, glances and notifications will work as app extensions for the moment. You need to have an iPhone app first, and then you can add extensions for the Watch,” Vojta explains, jokingly adding: “So really, the question isn’t ‘what can your Watch do for you,’ but rather, 'what can your current iPhone app offer the Watch?'”
Another point to consider, Vojta adds, is user interaction. “I don’t think people will want to engage with the Apple Watch for long time periods. Looking down at your wrist for 10, 15 minutes is not natural, which is why notifications and glances will be the most prominent features in the first generation. Also, the battery life will be very short – just a few hours when the watch is in an ‘active’ state. ”
“Certainly, they will get more complex later,” says Vojta, “I expect we’ll see a lot of apps related to your health and sports activities; apps that will measure heart rates or tell users how far they’ve walked.”
Vojta Stavik will act as the chief mentor at STRV’s Apple Watch Hackathon, which will take place in late April or early May. The event, part of the new STRV Labs research platform, is open to iOS developers and designers interested in coming up with innovative app ideas for the Apple Watch.
Each member of the winner team will walk away with their own Apple Watch. Admission is free, though teams must register beforehand. We will be posting more information in the coming weeks.