With a press release, Apple just announced the availability of WatchKit, a set of tools that will allow developers to extend their apps to the Apple Watch before the device's release. WatchKit is available alongside a new iOS 8.2 beta for registered iOS developers.
“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,” said 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.”
In the press release, Apple included quotes from ESPN, Instagram, and American Airlines, which are already building apps and features for the Apple Watch.
“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.”
Apple also launched a WatchKit website and confirmed that developers will be able to create “fully native apps for Apple Watch” later next year.
The WatchKit website includes design guidelines, programming guides, templates, and more. As explained by Apple, WatchKit apps consist of an iPhone app extension and other assets loaded directly on the Apple Watch, and developers will be able to start building Glances and actionable notifications with WatchKit and the iOS 8.2 beta today.