Apple has been working with several third-party App Store developers at its Cupertino, California offices to assist developers in finishing up applications for the upcoming Apple Watch. Development and design representatives from dozens of different development firms have visited Apple last week, or are coming to Cupertino this week, to work with Apple engineers to finish up WatchKit-based applications. One source claims that Apple is holding workshops for over 100 different developers across February. Apple also met with a smaller number of developers to assist with WatchKit development and discuss future plans in early January…
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The developers invited by Apple to Cupertino range from those behind titles for sports applications and productivity software. Apple has also been meeting with banks to work on WatchKit applications that assist with the Apple Watch’s Apple Pay functionality. Besides U.S.-based banks, Apple has been working on WatchKit apps with developers from Germany-based banks, which indicates Apple is likely in talks with more foreign banks to expand Apple Pay to more countries across the world. We reported earlier this year that Apple is in talks to expand Apple Pay to Canada as soon as March.
A report from January claimed that Apple had asked at least one developer to finish up work on an Apple Watch app by mid-February, but it appears that Apple’s plans for Apple Watch app development are actually far broader. Apple is said to have asked developers to travel to Cupertino on an urgent timeline, which indicates that Apple is likely readying the Watch apps for either an upcoming marketing effort or media event to show off more details about the Apple Watch. Developers in attendance say that a sense of secrecy surrounds the meetings. The different developers in the room were not identified by name in order to keep each other’s plans private, but they were instead labeled by unique number identifiers.
Developers in attendance this week called the Watch’s Digital Crown “really nice,” but one said that Force Touch “takes time” to get used to. Another developer said that the Taptic Engine vibrating feature is not as impressive as expected, but, still, another developer called it “super impressive.” Another developer familiar with Android Wear called the Watch OS more sophisticated, but added that functionality for sending emails directly from the Apple Watch is not yet active. The developers in attendance praised the upcoming Apple Watch application ecosystem by saying it will be “great” and the opportunity is “huge.” Part of what makes the opportunity “huge,” the developers say, is that the built-in Watch features are limited akin to the iPhone before the App Store.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has indicated that the Watch will ship by April. Sources say, that while notable developers have been finishing up Apple Watch apps, Apple retail employees have been learning about the device in secret workshops in Los Angeles, Cupertino, Austin, and Atlanta. Apple has also been preparing its retail stores by installing new safes to hold the watches as well as weight scales to determine how much gold are in individual Apple Watch Edition units.