Apple is now clamping down on the way Apple Watch applications are being developed, and has told its developer community that all new watchOS submissions must be native applications starting June 1.
Apple shared the news on its Apple Developer website, explaining that “starting June 1, 2016, all new watchOS apps submitted to the App Store must be native apps built with the watchOS 2 SDK or later.” Presumably, applications which don’t meet this requirement will not be approved by the App Store team.
As early adopters of the Apple Watch will remember, the first iteration of the smart watch’s watchOS operating system relied on applications to run (and execute code) on a connected iPhone, before mirroring the process on the Apple Watch itself. Because of the back-and-forth nature of this kind of setup, launching apps, and executing even the simplest actions, proved to be lengthy, buggy, and frustrating (that spinning “loading” wheel is something many of us got used to seeing day in, day out).
Apple changed this, however, with watchOS 2: this version of the smart watch OS allowed developers to build apps which ran natively on the Apple Watch itself. This meant that applications ran a lot faster, but also could access the smart watch’s microphone natively, as well as other hardware components.
Apple isn’t requiring that all Apple Watch apps are updated to support watchOS 2 (something we’re expecting to see further down the line). Rather, new submissions need to be native apps designed for watchOS 2 or later.
Of course, Apple’s forthcoming WWDC 2016 could see a preview of watchOS 3 (as well as the release of an SDK for developers). Though, it seems a new hardware release from the Apple Watch team isn’t going to land until September, and even then, internal upgrades (instead of a hardware redesign) seem to be in the cards.
For now, developers of new Apple Watch apps need to make sure their software runs natively under watchOS 2. You can read Apple’s original post by clicking this link.