Back when the iPhone was new Apple ran a commercial saying, “We have an app for that.” It was those apps that made the iPhone a huge success and changed the way we use cellphones. Now Apple is launching its first smartwatch and is looking for the right apps to make the device truly revolutionary.
Just a few days ago Intel released the MICA smart bracelet, which looked pretty classy but was dissed for putting “style over substance.” Apple needs to avoid this pitfall by making a smartwatch that will actually do something besides tell you that someone called or texted your iPhone.
That’s where apps come in and Apple has put out the call for innovative applications that could make the Apple Watch the best selling device on the market. On Tuesday, Apple released WatchKit, a tool kit for software developers that will allow them to create new apps for the smartphone using iOS.
Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of worldwide marketing stated, “WatchKit provides the incredible iOS developer community with the tools they need to create exciting new experiences right on your wrist.” Early suggestions to the developers from Apple have included apps for checking flight schedules, turning off lights after leaving home, alarm system status, news and sports scores.
Much more than the looks, it will be the functionality of the Apple Watch that makes it a hit or another failed product. This smartwatch needs to be smarter than the rest of the pack and be adaptable to the needs of the individual user. That’s the formula that worked for the iPhone and the one that will make (or break) the Apple Phone.
Not every iPhone app can be adapted to work for the Apple Watch because of the much smaller screen but the device does need to do more than just forward the messages and texts sent to the users iPhone. Since the processing power for the watch is coming from the iPhone, it works only in tandem with the Apple smartphone. According to Apple’s instructions with the Watch Kit, “A Watch app complements your iOS app; it does not replace it. If you measure interactions with your iOS app in minutes, you can expect interactions with your Watch app to be measured in seconds.”
So the Apple Watch app is expected to be a smaller, faster companion to the iPhone app? It will be interesting to see what Apple’s developers can do to make the Apple Watch a must-have addition to the iPhone rather than just a vehicle for passing along information.
The Apple Watch already has a slew of features that let it do much more than tell time, track fitness activity and purchase items with Apple Pay. Other built-in apps include Maps, Calendar, Passbook, iTunes, Apple TV, Alarm, Stocks and Weather.
We’ll get a look at what those developers create when the Apple Watch hits stores in spring of 2015.