Mobile Opinion

Apple Watch: the role of developers and the reason-why question

Like everybody else in the tech world, we at Robosoft too watched the Apple Keynote of Sep 9, with great interest. As developers we were doubly keen in fact to watch what the announcements meant for developer community and consumers alike. Of particular interest to us was the Apple Watch.

As Tim Cook said in an interview on the Charlie Rose show, one reason for the lead time between the announcer and actual launch is that Apple wants developers to play around with the WatchKit developer platform. WatchKit will allow custom notifications, home screen apps, watch faces and customised versions of an app. The possibilities are fascinating and virtually endless. While Apple mentioned a few of the use cases at the event (Starwood Hotels app which will allow guests to unlock their hotel room doors by just waving the Apple watch got everyone excited) the fertile imagination of developers & designers will be at work over the next few months getting more customised applications ready for the Apple Watch.

Imagine being able to unlock the door of your car with your watch or being able to withdraw cash from an ATM without inserting a card…there will be new innovative ways to use the Apple Watch in the future. Also, another fascinating challenge for developers & designers is to create unique, new interactions and interfaces for the Apple Watch. An e-commerce app or a news app will have to be completely re-imagined for the screen and the interactions. Add to it the thousands of face designs which will be created – and it promises to be a land of opportunities for developers. Admittedly, Apple is yet to give access to the WatchKit to all developers – only a handful of high profile companies have access to it. Maybe Apple can consider a simulator for the Apple Watch?

Which brings us to the question of reason-why for the Apple Watch to exist and bought by the consumers. Many have alluded to the fact that specific reference points were given for the iPhone and iPad during the reveal. In comparison, it is said that there was a lot unsaid about the need to buy an Apple Watch…the real need it fulfils. One of the points about the Apple Watch was that “It also enables some entirely new, intimate ways for you to communicate with other Apple Watch wearers”. In our view, the intimate nature of the interactions is bound to be a major hook to attract the non-believers. There was a glimpse of such interactions at the Apple event through customised Emojis, sending heartbeats and the haptic feedback.

The impact of Apple Watch is definitely likely to be higher in the western world first as it requires iPhones to work. Given the relatively lower base of iPhones in this part of the world, developers have to think of the global market first, which maybe a good thing.

Going by the website, the intro videos and the imagery associated with Apple Watch it is clear that the product will be positioned along a fashion product – that of style, followed by substance. In such cases, the decision is always led by the emotional brain, justified later by the rational brain. All in all, it promises to be an exciting pre-launch and launch phase for the Apple Watch, in which developers will play a crucial role.

This post originally appeared on NextBigWhat.

Rohith Bhat
MD and CEO - He is a firm believer in ‘made in India’, fond of movies, emerging technologies and new gadgets.
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