Apple Watch apps are about to change in a big way

Apple is making a significant change to the rules that govern how developers built Apple Watch apps.

From June 1, all watchOS apps submitted to the App store need to be native to the platform.

Initially, watchOS depended on a nearby iPhone to power apps running on the Apple Watch. This changed in watchOS 2, when Apple introduced native support i.e. the Apple Watch could run its own apps.

When the rule change goes live, developers will need to ensure that all new apps can run on the Apple Watch without the need for a nearby iPhone.

This also means that any new apps will need to be built with the watchOS SDK (developer kit) or later.

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Apple Watch 2 23

The Apple Developer site update reads:

“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.”

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The Apple Watch was announced on September 9, 2014, and began shipping on April 24, 2015. It quickly became a market leader in the smartwatch space, selling 4.2 million units in the second quarter of last year.

Apple is expected to unveil a successor to the Apple Watch – rumoured as the Apple Watch 2 – in September, alongside the mooted iPhone 7 launch.

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Do you think Apple is right to make this change to its watchOS rules? Let us know in the comments.