Ahead of the launch of the Apple Watch, due early next year, Apple has made WatchKit available to developers who want to create apps for the new platform.
The iOS 8.2 SDK beta including WatchKit is available for immediate download by iOS Developer Program members. The WatchKit site includes programming guides, human interface guidelines, templates and more. Starting later next year, developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch.
"Apple Watch is our most personal device ever, and WatchKit provides the incredible iOS developer community with the tools they need to create exciting new experiences right on your wrist," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "With the iOS 8.2 beta SDK, developers can now start using WatchKit to create breakthrough new apps, Glances and actionable notifications designed for the innovative Apple Watch interface and work with new technologies such as Force Touch, Digital Crown and Taptic Engine."
Apple is keen to get developers to think outside the box when it comes to developing apps for the Apple Watch.
"Developers can create notifications that allow users to take action or respond right from their wrist such as turning the lights off after they've left the house, quickly accessing flight details at the airport, and rerouting their transit when a train or bus is late. Developers can incorporate Glances, which quickly show users information they care about most, such as the latest news and sports scores, alarm system status or the next step of a favorite recipe."
And some big names are already in with the platform.
"Apple Watch allows us to make the Instagram experience even more intimate and in the moment," says Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram. "With actionable notifications you can see and instantly like a photo or react with an emoji. The Instagram news and watch list allows you to see your friends’ latest photos, follow new accounts and get a real-time view of your likes and comments."
"The American Airlines app on Apple Watch reminds you when it’s time to head to the airport via pre-trip notifications, and provides updates for gate changes, connecting gate info upon arrival, and will notify you when boarding begins if you’re not at the gate yet," said John Gustafson, American Airlines vice president of Digital. "Travelers can also ask 'Where am I?' in-flight and get real-time location information at 30,000 ft."