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Adam Venturella

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A Marketer's Quick Guide to the Apple Watch

Tim Cook has said that the Apple Watch is the most personal device they have ever created. Here is what you should know if you plan to tap into Apple’s latest product category. The Nuggets: Watch apps are convenience extensions of an existing iOS App. In other words, you must have an iPhone application in order to have a Watch application. Watch applications, at this time, do not stand alone. The Watch application and the iPhone application can share data, and the iPhone application can perform work on behalf of the Watch application. We cannot currently access any of the sensors on the watch. We can only access the sensors available on the iPhone. The heart rate monitor and the taptic engine are currently out of bounds to all but Apple. We cannot play sounds on the Watch We do not have access to the APIs that allow the watch to control music. Rotation of the Digital Crown cannot be distinguished from the user scrolling. We can only use the Digital Crown for scrolling purposes. The watch does not support multi-touch gestures, such as pinches. We can take advantage of Force Touch to display contextual menus for the current screen. We do not have access to the CPU on the watch, in other words the application that exists on the watch is not allowed to execute any code. UI State: Backgrounds, Images, Labels, Colors, Timers, and Image Sequences are pretty much all developers can control on the watch itself. Put another way, only Apple can do apps like the Sketch, Tap and Heartbeat Apps. Design and Layout Rules Custom fonts are supported. UI Elements cannot be arbitrarily placed on the screen. Items stack vertically. There is one exception, Groups. Groups can be instructed to layout their children horizontally or vertically. Groups can also hold other Groups. Custom views are not supported. Applications are limited to the Apple provided UI elements. Background images will be your friend for Buttons and Groups. While the application on the watch is active, you: CAN change the size of an object CAN change the transparency of an object CAN Show or hide an object CAN set or update data values CAN change the visual appearance of objects that support such modifications CANNOT add new objects to the interface or change the order of objects already there. One caveat here is that you can hide and show objects. Hiding an object will collapse the space it occupied allowing the things below it or to the side of it to fill the space the hidden object occupied. CANNOT get values of interface elements from the watch. The phone extension tells the watch what to do, not the other way around. CANNOT update the watch interface values without user interaction. The exception here is interval timers. When an interval timer expires and the watch app is active, it can change the value of something. Navigation Paradigms There are 2 kinds of navigation allowed on the watch: Page based Navigation based (Push/Pop) Page based navigation is swiping left and right, think browsing photos. Navigation based is more dynamic, pushing and popping views in response to user interaction. The most important thing to know going into Apple Watch application development is that the watch is currently very limited from an API perspective. The good news is limitations tend to breed creative solutions. The other good news is that BLITZ isn’t just talking about Apple Watch development, we are doing it. Drop us a line with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your marketing or development initiatives around the Apple Watch and we will be happy to answer them for you. We trust you can figure out how to contact us.

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