As Apple hammers out a needed infrastructure it's also releasing the tool kit for its upcoming Apple Watch to entice developers to start building smart apps for the smart watch.
Developers were given a preview of WatchKit, but now they're able lift the lid and push ideas to fruition ahead of the launch next year of the $349 Apple Watch.
"Apple Watch represents a new chapter in the relationship people have with technology," states Apple. "Starting early 2015, you will be able to deliver innovative new experiences to your customers on their wrist."
WatchKit gives developers all of the tools and templates needed to build apps that leverage Apple Watch's user interface, read-only Glances and actionable notifications.
Developers will begin Apple Watch development inside the Xcode projects they used create the iOS stand-alone.
Each Apple Watch app must also support iPhone, as the parent iOS app is responsible for installing and managing the Watch app. From there, developers will select an Apple Watch target that will provide them with the tool necessary to compose apps.
Apple Watch developers will set up the Watch app extension to run on iPhones. The Apple Watches will harbor the side-loaded bundle, which contains the storyboard information for the apps.
Right now, WatchKit is available to developers in iOS 8.2's software development kit. Developers will have the ability to create native Watch apps sometime in 2015, though Apple didn't specify if that ability would become before the launch of the smart watch.
"With the iOS 8.2 beta SDK, developers can now start using WatchKit to create breakthrough new apps, Glances and actionable notifications designed for the innovative Apple Watch interface and work with new technologies such as Force Touch, Digital Crown and Taptic Engine," says Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.
Apple has supported the release of WatchKit with a programming guide, framework reference and a microsite for developers. For some companies that have already gotten WatchKit, the reviews have been positive for the platform.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom says Apple Watch enables his company to make for a more intimate experience on Instagram.
"With actionable notifications you can see and instantly like a photo or react with an emoji," says Systrom. "The Instagram news and watch list allows you to see your friends' latest photos, follow new accounts and get a real-time view of your likes and comments."