Apple doesn’t want its smartwatch to depend on the iPhone. According to a recently-published note on the developers’ site, from June 1, the iPhone maker requires all the apps on the WatchOS App Store to be native, reported Engadget.
The current variant of Apple Watch requires a smartphone to function and access the Internet. However, the company now wants the watch experience to be less cumbersome by allowing the applications on the wearable to work without pairing it with the iPhone. It says that such apps should be developed using the WatchOS 2 SDK and submitted from June 1. This feature may be fully functional on the Watch’s next variant. When the apps become native on the Apple Watch, the wearable could be connected over Wi-Fi only.
The smartwatch market has expanded in the last few years. Many analysts believe that it has more potential to grow. Apple Watch debuted just last year, when competitors such as Sony, Motorola, and LG had already launched their smartwatches. Even then, it was able to capture a significant share of the market. This is because Apple fans preferred Apple Watch over others, just like they do for every other Apple product. We believe there is no unique feature that sets it apart from rival smartwatches, except for the immensely expensive Hermes band, which gives it a more premium look. It also compensates for the not-so-attractive design.
Native apps for the watchOS 2 may set the Apple Watch apart from its rivals. Smartwatches ideally should be untethered; they should not require the support of a smartphone to function. Samsung Gear S and the Sony SmartWatch 3 give users the liberty to ditch their smartphone and use certain functions without a smartphone. These include health tracking functions while users are working out, jogging, or riding a bike. Samsung Gear S also offers cellular connectivity of its own, but still requires the smartphone to be near to receive texts and calls from the network on the handset.
It looks like the Apple Watch will soon join its competitors and offer similar features. However, the iPhone maker might enjoy a competitive advantage, since it already has a significant chunk of the market. The addition of native support will not just push the sales of the current iteration but also of the variant, the Apple Watch 2.
The announcement of the native apps does not mean that Apple Watch will completely ditch the phone. If it makes the next variant as rumored, it might be able to entice new users. The Watch could be a real companion if the smartphone is not there, and this is something every user would want. It might not replace the complete functionality of smartphones, but could prove to be of great help in times when the user loses or forgets the handset.