It may be a little while before we can get our hands (or should that be wrists?) on the Apple Watch, but the mobile app development community can get a sneak peek at what the tech-giant has in store by downloading the latest iOS beta, which comes loaded with an early version of WatchKit. This handy tool allows developers to start planning their apps, and get them up and running before Apple's wrist-mounted sensation hits the store shelves. Not only that, it also gives us a some idea of the Apple Watch's capabilities and just what form experiences on the device will take.
Since its grand unveiling at Apple's September media blitz, which offered mobile app developers a tantalising glimpse at the interface and overall function of the device, the company have kept the watch out of the public's hands. The WatchKit SDK then, is the first real chance a lot of developers have had to dissect the tech and find out just what makes the device tick. Early reports indicate the simple, unified design philosophy Apple embraced with the iPhone has made the transition to Watch intact.
As part of the release, Apple has outlined a series of guidelines for mobile app development that determine how third-party apps on the Apple Watch should look. The company is taking great pains to preserve a sense of continuity across the device by incorporating black backdrops on all apps as standard. They have even introduced a new, Apple Watch specific font, dubbed “San Francisco”, for developers to use. Unlike backgrounds though, developers aren't limited to one choice of font and can implement customs solutions should they feel the need.
It's early days, and as more developers get their hands on WatchKit and peel back the layers of code, we'll finally begin to build a better picture of what the Apple Watch can do, as well as the kinds of experiences it offers. Impressions from members of the mobile app development community are already rolling in and early impressions are positive, with one developer claiming the device is "much more capable than I was expecting."