One of the main complaints in nearly every review of the Apple AAPL -0.94% Watch so far: for the most part, third-party apps have been slow and clunky. One reason for this is that the apps essentially perform as extensions of the iPhone. All of the processing happens in the phone and then is sent to the watch. This ultimately results in apps that have long syncing times and limited functionality.
Apple is hoping to change that. Today, at its World Wide Developers Conference, Apple showed off watchOS 2 that will allows developers to create native apps for the Apple Watch, meaning the apps will work directly on the watch and won?t have to go to the phone to do all the processing and data retrieval. Apple is also giving developers more access to the internal sensors and features of the watch, including the Digital Crown, the heart rate sensors, the Taptic Engine, accelerometer and microphone.
?The biggest thing this update does is it turns the watch into its own platform, as opposed to being just an extension of the phone, which is ultimately what the watch has been up until now,? said Michael Facemire, an analyst at Forrester Research.
Of course you?ll still need an iPhone to get an Apple Watch up and running, but by opening up more internal capabilities of the device, new kinds of apps will emerge that wouldn?t have otherwise been possible.
Fitness apps are an obvious space for app developers to explore more deeply with the Apple Watch. Almost anything to do with fitness or exercise would work better than on the iPhone. You don?t want to pull out your phone every time you start exercising. And with access to something the accelerometer in the Apple Watch, users could download an apps designed to, say, track your golf swing.
?It?s like the early days of the iPhone,? said Facemire. ?There still needs to be lots of folks using it so we can have one big collective human brain storming session for what cools things you can do with it. We never thought the iPhone would be a great way to hail a cab. Now we do. I think it?s in the early days with the watch.?
Read more at?FORBES