Improved Apple Watch SDK will drastically improve third-party apps this fall

Apple logoWe've always known that Apple would release a native SDK for the Apple Watch, something third-party developers could use to make more useful applications than the WatchKit ones that are currently shipping. In a talk at Re/code's Code Conference today, Apple SVP of Operations Jeff Williams shared some new details about the native SDK and when we can expect to get it.

Apple will provide a beta version of the SDK a week after its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote on June 8, which means that we'll probably get more information about it during the keynote. A final version will be distributed in the fall, which is when we'll begin seeing our first native watch apps from developers.

Improved Apple Watch SDK will drastically improve third-party apps this fall

While WatchKit apps and Glances are limited, mostly static screens that rely entirely on the connected iPhone for processing, native third-party apps should be a bit more flexible. Williams says that native apps will be able to access the watch's sensors (which would hopefully include the heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and barometer) and the Digital Crown, and that the native SDK would include more tools for game developers. Game developers are already experimenting with WatchKit, of course, but working around its limitations is challenging.

What we still don't know is whether native apps will be able to function when out of range of the paired iPhone or keep data on the watch's internal storage, something that Apple's first-party applications support to varying degrees. Don't expect the Apple Watch to become completely untethered from the iPhone anytime soon, but fitness, music, and podcasting apps in particular could benefit from phone-free operation.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple, Apple Watch

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