Apple has announced that beginning on June 1, 2016 all watch OS apps submitted for approval to the App Store must be native apps. This means developers must use watch OS 2SDK or later in their development or their apps will be rejected.
When Apple initially launched Apple Watch, watch OS apps were reliant on the iPhone in order to run on Watch. With watchOS 2, Apple added support for native apps. This allows developers to build apps that run properly on Apple Watch. For the end user, the idea is that the apps will operate smoothly and quickly for a better user experience.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference begins on June 13, when it will very likely being introducing new versions of iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS. The Worldwide Developers Conference is the main reason for the June 1 drop-dead date.
With many people still disappointed by the Watch, this development is a positive for users. One of the biggest complaints by Watch users is how dependent on the iPhone the Watch has turned out to be, meaning that using Watch requires users to carry around an extra device. That betrays the promise of having one device that can rule your life.
Apple’s commitment to SDK 2 means that all apps will need to run on Watch alone, without a component linking it to iPhone. That will mean more autonomy for Watch, which is probably the biggest thing Apple can do to motivate more users to purchase the wearable technology.
The most significant software update for watchOS 2 came last September. That update gave Apple Watch the ability to connect to Wi-Fi on its own, where it had previously been tethered to iPhone in order to use Wi-Fi. The new Software Development Kit (SDK) was in testing throughout the fall and winter, giving developers a good idea of what they could do with the Watch.
Now speculation turns to the Apple Watch 2 and what users can expect from the device. Investors are still confused about the relative success of the Watch. Some users rave about the wearable, but reviewers are only moderately impressed, since many expected Apple to deliver the breakthrough technology that would dramatically change the landscape of wearables. At least one leading investor and Apple analyst, Ming Chi Kuo, recently told investors he expected only minor improvements in Watch 2, which is due out later in 2016. he likened Watch 2 to the S-series follow-ups Apple adds as part of its two-year iPhone cycles.
However, Brian White of Drexel Hamilton published an investor note contradicting some of Kuo’s predictions. White said Apple Watch 2 could be between 20 and 40 percent thinner than the original Watch, which is now a year old. White thinks Apple will discuss this with more specificity at the Developers Conference. Some even expect the Watch to launch this summer, which makes sense if its improvements are only modest and not blockbusters. Apple will likely want to reserve its fall launch season to lavish attention on the upcoming Apple iPhone 7.
Although smartwatches have the potential to revolutionize technology in the medical sphere, development of these features has been rather more complex than many initially realized. That may be one reason Apple is limiting its resources to design elements, at least for now.