The Apple watch is changing the way people do things and solving some of those pesky first world problems. I’m looking forward to seeing who’s calling without having to dig through my purse. Oh, and switching tracks during a run without having to fool with an armband.
When Apple releases a new device, it always has a HUGE impact on developers. It’s great new market with lots of new opportunities. Developers have the chance to build something amazing.
Getting in early with the Apple Watch will give you a leg up on the competition. In this article, we’ll talk about what you need to know to get started.
The Apple Watch is basically an extension for the iPhone. But that doesn’t mean that developers will be limited in what they can do.
There are already tons of cool Watch app ideas that change the way people shop, travel, exercise, and communicate. Some developers have released interesting demos like:
- Pipes. Lets you track subjects you’re interested in via keywords and trends.
- Home Remote. A home automation app that unlocks doors and controls lights.
- Slopes. This app is essentially like Runkeeper for skiers and snowboarders.
If you’re interested in developing an Apple Watch app, study the market to see what’s possible and look for opportunities. A good place to start is to check out watch apps in the Android Market for inspiration.
Keep your eye on the top developers
Retailers are excited about Apple Pay with the Apple Watch. They’ve been looking forward to a quick, convenient, seamless payment system and now its here. Now you can pay for purchases with a wave of your wrist.
Many retailers also use location-based apps to interact with customers in new ways. Target has developed an Apple Watch app that will detect when wearers are in the store and guide them towards items on their shopping list.
Other leading merchants such as Expedia, Fandango, and eBay have developed geo location apps to make it easy for users to access important information like show times, flight, and other reminders.
Heavy hitters like Uber are using the Apple Watch to take their services to the next level. Users can get real-time updates and information with just a glance at their wrist.
If you’re in eCommerce, or looking to get into it, Apple Watch users are the ideal target for your product. Keep up with what the major players are doing to stay on top of the latest Apple Watch app trends.
Learn Apple Watch development basics
If you’ve built iOS apps for iPhone or iPad, there will be many similarities. But there are also some differences to look out for.
For starters, the Apple Watch has a much smaller screen. Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines gives a full report including, the 38mm model with a resolution of 272 x 340 and the 42mm model with a resolution of 312 x 390.
Apple refers to the Apple Watch display as “Retina,” and tells developers to use 2x image assets. We’re already used to this especially after the iPad retina and iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Icons will have variable sizes based on screen size and type. There’s a handy chart in the guidelines.
Apple asks developers to be mindful of certain concepts when creating Apple Watch apps. They suggest that all apps should be lightweight and optimized for brief, frequent use on a small screen.
Remember that Apple can weigh in our your app’s success based on how well you’ve followed their development instructions.
Notifications also work slightly differently. Short-look notifications are briefly visible while long-look notifications provide more details. Successful developers are taking advantage of new gestures like glances to help users quickly access important content.
Developers area also mastering communication between the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Most Watch code has to be written as an extension of an iPhone app to save power. Apple says that developers will be able to create fully native apps later next year.
For now, Apple has blocked some features, including the gyroscope and the accelerometer. That means that more possibilities will open up for developers down the road.
Making money with Apple Watch apps
This is an exciting new space for advertising and monetization strategies. You’ll have a smaller audience, but Apple Watch users will generally be more affluent.
The Apple Watch is designed to be a deeply personal device. It collects and stores data about the wearer. Advertisers can use this information to improve targeting and tailor ads to specific users.
There are lots of ideas out there about how the Apple Watch will continue to work for advertisers. Concepts like surfacing coupons when a customer walks by a store could be interesting. Will it be effective or annoying? We’ll see how these ideas translate to revenue.
Jump in now while the technology is in its infancy
It may take a while to fully realize what this technology can do. By jumping in now, you can get in on the new frontier. Not many people have actually held the device in their hands yet. When it’s released, it will be easier to develop awesome apps.
The field is currently wide open for developers. The possibilities are almost endless. Your app can be whatever you imagine it to be. There isn’t a lot of competition right now, so a killer app that grabs attention will be able to penetrate the market quickly.
Tell us about your plans for the Apple Watch in the comments section.