Author: Sayali Gujrathi

Posted On Jan 21, 2015   |   4 Mins Read

Apple has opened up a new chapter in another frontier with the announcement of its wearable device – Apple Watch. The device is scheduled for release in spring 2015 and is compatible with iPhone 5 and later models running iOS 8.2 and above. Let us look at some of the ways through which an Apple Watch can enrich our lives:

Apple pay: The user can integrate Apple pay and purchase items directly from the store by simply double clicking a button while facing your watch to the payment reader.

Fitness tracking: Apple watch can help you lead a healthier life with its host of sensors like accelerometer, GPS, heart rate sensor, etc installed in the watch, further setting up personalized goals

A whole new set of interactions: With the Apple watch you can waltz in a hotel with the device on your wrist acting as key, currently this can be experienced in Starwood hotels. The watch also allows the user to access Apple TV and iTunes loaded on a Mac or PC. One of the striking features of the watch is that it is loaded with Siri for seamless interaction.

The watch comes in 3 editions which include – Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch edition. It has 2 sizes: 272 x 340 and 312 x 390 spread across 3 editions and 34 individual models. The display is well protected by using Ion X glass and polished sapphire crystal, along with anodized aluminium and a doubly strengthened 18k gold case, for the sports and watch edition respectively.

Developing apps for the Apple Watch

Apple has recently released the beta version of WatchKit, a software development framework for the Apple Watch, in order to give hands-on experience to developers.

As of now an independent or dedicated app for the watch cannot be developed, it has to be complemented by its companion app on the iPhone. Apps developed for the Watch can be accessed with the help of extensions running with its partnering iPhone app and hence it requires two bundles, a WatchKit extension running on the iPhone and a set of user interface resources installed on the Apple Watch.

When the user launches a particular application on the watch, its extension on the iphone ensures the partnering app is launched in the background to update the user interface and respond to the user interactions. Also, since the extension resides on the iPhone, it can correspond with the iOS app to perform more intensive tasks. The above mentioned communications between the WatchKit app and the extensions happen seamlessly in the background using Bluetooth, further enhancing user experience.


Compatibility with HealthKit

The Apple Watch syncs seamlessly with iPhone Health app, a recently released app for iOS8 and above. The watch comes with two built-in apps dedicated for health and fitness.

Activity app:

The Activity app tracks or monitors all the activities performed by the user throughout the day. The accelerometer and other such various sensors help in measuring the total body movements of the user along with its intensity too. GPS and Wi-Fi helps in calculation of the distance covered by the user. The watch is equipped with a heart rate sensor to measure the user’s heart rate through the pulse generated at the wrist.

Workout app:

Workout app, unlike the fitness app, allows you to set specific goals like burn 5K calories, or walk for 30 minutes, etc. Workout app helps you to set these specific goals and encourages you to achieve those planned goals.

Apple Watch not only measures the quantity of user’s movement but also the frequency of movements, thus providing a comprehensive analysis. And the good part is that all these movements are synced with the iPhone Health app, hence any data on Apple Watch can be read from the iPhone’s health app.

Although, HealthKit APIs cannot run on Apple Watch, the health data gathered with Watch can be synced with HealthKit data store, which in turn can be accessed by other applications as well from iPhone,unlocking many opportunities for developers. Interested developers can deliver the most innovative experiences to users with Apple WatchKit and HealthKit combo.

With the watch,Apple continues its tradition of providing seamless interactions of apps and devices within their ecosystem Many people, like me, have placed high expectations from Apple Watch as its maker firm, Apple, is considered to be a serial disruptor in human technology interaction. In our next blog post in this series, we will discuss the user interactions available with the Apple watch and the types of apps one can develop with WatchKit. Stay tuned…