Big improvements will be coming to Apple Watch apps later this year, Apple SVP of Operations Jeff Williams revealed during an interview at the Code Conference. In the current version of the Watch OS software, apps need to run on the iPhone rather than the watch itself, which puts a serious damper on performance.
However, that will change this fall, Williams said, when native watch apps are finally made possible…
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Unlike current watch apps, native apps will run directly on the watch, increasing performance and allowing them to run even while the iPhone paired with the watch is dead or out of range. Developers will be able to start work on their native apps as soon as next month.
Williams revealed that Apple will be releasing a software development kit to enable creation of native watch apps during its Worldwide Developer Conference which starts on June 8th. The company is also expected to unveil the next-generations of its OS X and iOS operating systems, which will likely debut in the fall, so it’s safe to say that these updates will be part of iOS 9.
The native watch SDK will be able to tap directly into the hardware’s sensors and Digital Crown. He provided an example of the Strava running and cycling application being able to use the watch’s sensors rather than relying on the iPhone’s.
Games will also be able to run right on the watch, providing a big increase in performance and enabling new types of games to be created.
The executive also called cars “the ultimate mobile device,” giving a not-so-subtle wink at hints that Apple is currently working on a car of its own for release in 2020 under the name “Project Titan.” Of course, Williams simply played this off as a reference to the existing CarPlay software in iOS 8.
Several other key features are currently being planned for iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, including a new “personal assistant” feature with a limited Siri API, a Beats Music-based streaming service, a refreshed UI featuring a new font, improved security features, a new iOS keyboard along with improvements to its messaging system, split-screen multitasking on the iPad, and a new app for managing HomeKit devices.