How Apple Watch will change apps forever

Next steps

Naturally, any limitations that may infuse Apple Watch apps with this sense of sharp focus – and even influence apps elsewhere – won't last forever, and developers are already looking forward to the next step.

"In the current SDK, there are only two supported navigation styles – hierarchical and page-based – and the entire app needs to run as an extension on an iPhone," says Müller-Simhofer. "I suspect apps which define this new platform will be those that run natively on Apple Watch, with full access to hardware sensors. But that will have to wait for the native SDK – hopefully later this year."

Officetime's Stephen Dodd hopes Apple will let developers do more

OfficeTime founder Stephen Dodd is also eager for when Apple will let developers do more. "What we're seeing is the infancy of Apple Watch development, and we'll look back on it as we do now on early iPhone apps. They did their job, but in retrospect could be cumbersome and lacking in variation. However, they also helped people get accustomed to a new device." But with full access to haptics and Siri, or devising custom gestures, he says "we could create a whole new class of apps".

Jamie Maison believes third-party developers will be key to the Apple Watch's success

For now, though, we simply have what Dodd calls a "magical, minimalist platform", where developers will have a huge part to play in its success. "Third-party developers will be key, because it's their creations that will shape what the device is all about," asserts developer Jamie Maison. "Right now, Apple doesn't really have a marketing focus for Apple Watch, because no-one really knows what it will be most useful for."

He says when the iPhone was released, Apple called it a phone, music player and internet communication device, yet today its main focus is not necessarily any of these things: "Its success instead stems from the sheer magnitude of innovative and useful apps produced by developers around the world. The same will be true of Apple Watch."

Words: Craig Grannell

Craig Grannell is a writer, designer, journalist and long-time contributor to net magazine. Follow him on Twitter @CraigGrannell.

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