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Apple releases developer kit for Apple Watch developers

19 Nov 14

Apple has today announced the availability of WatchKit, software that gives developers a set of tools to easily create experiences designed specifically for Apple Watch.

Developers can begin developing WatchKit apps before Apple Watch becomes available.

“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,” says 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.”

Developers can create notifications that allow users to take action or respond from their Apple Watch, 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 favourite recipe.

Apple says developers who have previewed the WatchKit tools and APIs are eager to start building on the personal and immediate experiences Apple Watch will offer users.

“Fans crave real-time and personal information, and the ESPN app for Apple Watch gives us the ability to deliver live scores and information for their favourite teams,” says John Kosner, executive vice president of Digital and Print Media, ESPN. “Glances provide fans with a snapshot of live games, and if there is no game taking place, they’ll get valuable game-time information or the final box score. With actionable notifications, the experience becomes even more personal, as fans receive alerts on score changes, news and more.”

“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,” adds John Gustafson, American Airlines vice president of Digital. “Travellers can also ask ‘Where am I?’ in-flight and get real-time location information at 30,000 ft.”

The iOS 8.2 SDK beta including WatchKit is available immediately for iOS Developer Program members here. 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.

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