Developing Your First Apple Watch App

Apple's new wearable is finally making it out to users, which means now is the time to start building apps for it! First, let's take a look at the different pieces that make up a watch app.

  • Watch App: While you might think that this is where most of your app logic will live, watch apps actually offload all real work to their parent apps. The watch app itself effectively contains just the user interface and not any of the code behind it.
  • Parent App: This is the normal iOS app you're already familiar with, and what users will download from the app store. Even if your app is meant to only target the Apple Watch you still need a parent app that lives on the user's iOS device.
  • Watch Extension: Similar to other extensions on iOS, a watch extension is used to connect the watch app with its parent app, and also contains the code that drives the watch app's user interface.

When defining your watch app's interface there are three interactions you can take advantage of:

  • Normal: the main UI that users can interact with when the app is active
  • Glances: a non-interactive view of the app that can give users important information quickly. Tapping on a glance will result in launching the full app
  • Notifications: Watch apps leverage the normal iOS notification system by default, but apps can choose to provide a custom interface to use for displaying notifications

Only the normal interaction mode is required for a watch app, but you can choose to add customized glances and notifications to help enhance your user experience as appropriate. In this article I'll focus on just the normal mode.

Read the full article over on Visual Studio Magazine.

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