Apple's Watch and the return of the app gold rush

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Last year's first unveiling of the Apple Watch was a big event, to say the least. Getting a glimpse of Apple's latest big product since the iPhone and iPad excited consumers and software developers around the world. The opportunity for developers on this new platform is far more apparent than before. Think back for a moment to the iPhone and iPad app gold rush and the countless overnight success stories of many developers. The next few months will provide the same set of opportunities, thanks to a  level playing field for development outfits both big and small.

The differentiating factor in success will be the question  of who can learn Apple Watch development the quickest, in order to release a unique and polished app that can satisfy the anticipated demand. To do this, you can either spend months going through Apple's development guides and experimenting with the concepts or you can take my Apple Watch Fundamentals course to cover the same ground in a single day, allowing you to start throwing paint at the canvas much faster.

During the recent March keynote, we got more insight into Apple's Watch including the urgency and demand for new apps. A number of apps were demonstrated as part of the keynote, each highlighting the huge possibilities on this new platform, from taking calls to remotely opening garage doors. The features of the Apple Watch far exceed the expectations from the initial impression last year. The battery life is longer than expected, the possibilities for apps are mind-blowing. The ability to talk to your watch to search the Internet or text or call someone puts the future at our fingertips. All these "wow" features offer an exiting opportunity for developers, giving us a new way to express our digital creativity in a personal way.

It's time to start writing Apple Watch software. The WatchKit software development kit is already available and Apple is ready to take pre-orders for the Apple Watch as early as April. This means that by late April you could see your apps on people's wrists! The pricing makes the Apple Watch highly accessible, meaning we really shouldn't be wasting any time. What will you create? A sports app, data logger or something that fetches or generates data from the Internet? The possibilities are only limited by your imagination;  creative and unique thinkers will easily succeed on this platform.

Initially, people were concerned the Apple Watch app development was limited to basic apps with limited functionality, when it's actually the opposite. Apple has done an amazing job of providing the ability to write apps with full interactivity and offering the ability to tap into the processing power and Internet access of the accompanying iPhone. Demonstrations of many possibilities, and how to create them in the Apple Watch Fundamentals course, is proof of what you can achieve.

Early rumors and impressions suggested developers could only create static information summary apps and interactive notifications. We now know these two implementations are actually supplementary components that you can incorporate into a complex native-style watch app that can have interactive buttons, tables, animation and the ability to send and retrieve information via the iPhone. In the Apple Watch Fundamentals course you'll learn how to develop a complete application that uses the WatchKit development kit and these types of exciting features.

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The official name for the rumored summary information app is Glance. Glance is an optional supplementary view related to a fully interactive watch app. In the Apple Watch Fundamentals course, not only do we create a fully interactive app, but will also create a Glance as a supplementary quick view of the information related to the app.

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The official name for the interactive notifications is Actionable Notifications, and these are also optional supplementary features that you can implement as part of your Apple Watch app project. Your app can schedule a local or remote notification that is received by the Apple Watch with an attached action, in the form of buttons that can send instructions to your app to trigger further custom processing. This level of proactive interaction with the user opens up a huge amount of use cases for creative developers. In the Apple Watch Fundamentals course you'll see exactly how this is achieved, because not only do we supplement our watch app with a Glance view, but we also implement actionable notifications.

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Another feature available as part of WatchKit  is the ability to off load heavy processing tasks to the iPhone. You can create a watch app featuring a button, for example, that triggers an action at the iPhone end for background processing, cleverly saving the Watch's battery, and at the same time giving you complete functionality of the iPhone's features. (This is also covered in detail in the course.)

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You can download Xcode and the WatchKit SDK now and start developing Apple Watch apps. Your Apple Watch app will be part of an overall environment that impacts the user and the iOS ecosystem. Your app could span the iPad, the iPhone and the Apple Watch, and your solution could be brought together by the power of the cloud and integration of the iOS platform. You could store data using the watch, and edit the data using the iPhone, and then finish up by analyzing it all on the iPad. Given the multitude of possibilities and the beauty of the watch itself, it's safe to say that the Apple Watch will be a huge hit in the wearable technology domain.

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Rag Dhiman

has over a decade’s experience of working with clients to develop solid solutions to their problems. With a Microsoft and iOS background, he specialises in a range of technologies including XCode, Objective-C, OS X, Windows, HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, C#, .NET and SQL Server. Rag enjoys problem solving using up to date technologies; his current interests include the iOS Sprite Kit and the new iOS framework. He has developed multiple apps for mobile devices. In his spare time Rag likes to develop his photography skills and he is a petrol head who particularly enjoys motor car racing.