Apple just released WatchKit, which is the developer resources that go into building apps for the upcoming Apple Watch. While the device hasn't been released just yet, the information details the capabilities that will be available for third-party apps when the watch hits the market in "early 2015."
The important point is that there will be four types of capabilities provided by the Apple Watch to extend the main iOS app:
- WatchKit Apps: these are custom apps that have their own user interface, but the logic is processed on your iPhone. As a result, user interactions are communicated back to the phone through wireless communication (presumably Bluetooth).
- Glances: This is the equivalent to the iOS Today view. When the user swipes up from the bottom of the watch screen they are presented with a list of available Glances. Each Glance is a static screen that displays the most pertinent information from the app at that time.
- Actionable Notifications: These share overlap with iOS notifications introduced in iOS 8 that allow for associated custom actions. Users can view the notification and then select from 1 -4 custom actions to make quick updates.
- Fully Native Watch Apps: This capability was not released today, but was hinted at in the Apple Press Release:
"Starting later next year, developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch."
We can only speculate on what additional functionality will be available, but this will most likely involve running code directly on the Apple Watch (unlike WatchKit apps which require the iPhone to operate) and access to the device hardware, such as the heart rate sensor or accelerometer.
So what will this mean for Roobiq?
We can already see several use cases to extend Roobiq functionality onto the Apple Watch. Notifications generated by Roobiq can now be displayed on the Apple Watch and the associated actions can be used to make quick changes, such as marking a task complete.
More interesting though will be making use of the user interface capabilities to drive Roobiq workflows. Imagine walking out of a meeting and completing your follow-up workflow entirely from the watch by dictating your notes and swiping through a few screens. All of this will be possible.
Most speculation suggests Apple will release the watch in March or April so there is still a lot of time, but we plan to have Roobiq's own Apple Watch app available the moment the device hits store shelves.