Developing Apple Watch apps is extremely frustrating and
limited for one big reason: unlike on iOS, Apple doesn’t give
app developers access to the same watchOS frameworks that they use
on Apple Watch.
Instead, we’re only allowed to use WatchKit, a baby UI framework
that would’ve seemed rudimentary to developers even in the 1990s.
But unlike the iPhone’s web apps, WatchKit doesn’t appear to be a
stopgap — it seems to be Apple’s long-term solution to
third-party app development on the Apple Watch.
I long ago gave up on using any third-party apps on my Apple Watch, and I am so much happier for it. A year or two ago I would have been “Hell yeah”-ing this piece by Arment, but at this point I half feel like Apple should just get rid of third-party WatchOS apps and be done with it.
The one type of app I think most people want is the one type of app Apple is never going to allow: custom watch faces. After that, the only good thing on Apple Watch is receiving (and responding to) notifications and fitness tracking.
I do think Arment is exactly right though that WatchKit will never be “good” until it’s more or less the same set of APIs that Apple uses for their own apps. Apple needs to eat its own cooking.
★ Tuesday, 27 February 2018