Apple never said the Apple Watch is supposed to work as a standalone device, and that’s even clearer now that the Apple WatchKit has been released for app developers. The company has posted detailed guidelines for developers, revealing the Watch will need an iPhone or iPad to actually run apps.
“A Watch app complements your iOS app; it does not replace it,” Apple writes in the Human Interface Guidelines document available online for developers.
As 9to5Mac points out, the Apple Watch isn’t performing any coding logic for apps, which is done on the connected iPhone or iPad through a WatchKit extension. “For instance, animations are pre rendered as an image sequence on the phone GPU before being sent [over-the-air] OTA to the watch for display,” the publication writes.
Apple said that fully native Watch apps will launch in 2015, without revealing more details about such apps. For the time being, Apple might be interested in conserving battery life on the Apple Watch, by passing all app processing to the iPhone or iPad.
Furthermore, Apple is also limiting the powers of developers when it comes to Glances and Notifications, which are the two types of notifications that will be displayed on the Apple Watch, and is encouraging them to use black as the background of their apps, Business Insider reveals, so it “blends seamlessly with the device bezel and maintains the illusion of there being no screen edges.”
More details about how Apple Watch apps will initially work are available at the source links.