Apple, being the undebated leader in the smartwatch market continues to make inroads towards its numerous position globally. It is evident from the fact that its overall share is 55% in the first quarter of 2020 as per a report from Strategy Analytics. The report also mentions the YOY escalation of the overall smartwatch market by 20%. It also highlights that the growth of Apple Smartwatch grew by over 22% as compared to the same duration previous year. Samsung and Garmin are following at second and third position respectively.  

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The continual ascend of iWatch sales has generated a new market for iOS app development companies. However, it is drastically different from traditional mobile app development. The ideation, practical usage, and potential market are the primary criterion for commencing the development stage of an iWatch application. The iWatch app development company should focus on solving small real-life problems. Imagine one's smartwatch working as a smart token for accessing his laptop, or as a car or home key. The iWatch is laced with various valuable features along with its applications. Hence, creating a useful app with novelty is a daunting task for an iWatch developer. This blog post suggests some practical and useful tips for iWatch app development.

Finalize Target Application Category

The category of the target iWatch application should be finalized before initiating the development process. The well-liked categories include fitness apps, social media, and communication and productivity tools. The pandemic situation highlighted the importance of being physically fit to common people making fitness the most preferred category amongst iWatch app development companies. The fitness apps display critical health parameters to the user including pulse, heart rate, oxygen level, etc. These apps also exhibit steps taken during a day, calories burnt apart from monitoring the sleep patterns. The social media and communication apps target the incorporation of well-known social media accounts in iWatch to enable ease of social media access. The productivity tools are used to simplify the normal human life to make him more productive. These tools include group collaboration features, meeting reminder features, to-do list, etc. to name a few. One can also opt for a new category unheard of so far.

Small is Beautiful but Challenging

Being the smallest device available in the market, it poses certain limitations for an iWatch app developer. Moreover, this mini screen is further fragmented into sections for different things. Owing to this, a lot of thought goes into the amount of text and color combination. The irrelevant notifications and alerts should be avoided as it unnecessarily clutters the minimalistic screen. The appropriate theme and UI should be chosen to enrich the user experience.    

Understand the iWatch App Architecture

The iWatch app is comprised of the iPhone App, WatchKit App, and WatchKit Extension. The WatchKit app is the sole part of the app that runs on the iWatch. Apple doesn't allow any sort of computations to be performed with the WatchKit app. The WatchKit app is made up of static objects like images and the UI that is visible to the user.

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The WatchKit extension is needed to run computations in the paired iPhone device. The WatchKit extension is useful in setting the UI elements like text for text field elements and so on. The WatchKit extension facilitates user interaction by calling associated actions. The communication with the WatchKit app is managed via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The iPhone app acts as a deployment agent for WatchKit apps. The WatchKit extension and the iPhone app cannot use shared process space making their data inaccessible to each other. This necessitates the need for a channel of communication between them. The advanced calculations are performed in the iPhone app only.  .  

Comprehend the App Interactions

An iWatch developer can interact with the UI via WatchKit apps, glances, or actionable notifications. The glances act like widgets that present information like weather, news, calendar, etc. The Apple templates are used to define glances. Actionable notifications, as the name suggests, facilitates actions like responding to a notification, viewing notifications, etc. The notifications can be either of Short Look or a Long Look type. The Short Look notification just displays the notification and disappears whereas the Long Look notification gives additional options to the user.      

iWatch or Simulator

An iWatch app development company might go for testing the iWatch app on a simulator rather than on the device itself. It is important to know the pros and cons of both approaches to testing. The iWatch app executes faster in simulators as it doesn't have to compete with other applications. Moreover, the response time in simulators is also pretty fast. In addition to this, app development and testing are comparatively easier on simulators. The flip side of using the simulators for testing is that the iWatch app may face performance issues on the actual device as it has never been tested on the actual device. It is advisable to use simulators in the early stages of development and the actual device for thorough testing before launching the iWatch app.      

Intelligent Complications

There are various complications available with different UI elements and unique displays. The complications can be used wisely by the developer to display valuable information at a glimpse. While designing complications, the developer can focus on the relevant content, especially that of dynamic nature. However, information of a sensitive nature should be avoided in complications. Another important parameter would be the time of updating data as one size fits all approach will not work. The meeting alert is fine one hour earlier but bad weather alert needs to be displayed at least one day earlier.

Simplicity is the Key

Simple is the new black. The iWatch developers should not experiment too much with the design. The limited space for displaying information necessitates a simple UI with only relevant information. Experimentation can be done with innovative graphics wherein more information can be revealed. Conveying the message is more important than fancy graphics.

Real-time Information is the King

The iWatch developers should focus on delivering real-time information by using gyroscope and accelerometer data. The motion data is used to track specific body part movement such as the arm. However, it is advisable to use motion data only when it is offering direct benefit to the user. The usage of gyroscope or accelerometer data should be avoided for using the app as it might be difficult for some users to replicate motion gestures.  

Wrap Up

The iWatch app development is a tedious task for an iWatch app development company but to make it a delightful experience, the developers should focus on simplicity and providing real-time and relevant information. Before diving into the development cycle, it is critical to understand the iWatch app architecture and the type of interactions required. Some key decisions to be taken are the type of complications to be used and whether to use a simulator for testing the app. To conclude, the clarity in understanding the purpose of the app and an effective and simple UI are the critical success factors for an effective iWatch app development experience.    

Rahim Makhani
CEO and Managing Partner
Nevina Infotech
Rahim makhani CEO and managing partner at Nevina Infotech which is Enterprise Mobile App & Web Application Development Company, helping global businesses to grow by Iot development and iWatch app development services

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Important Tips for Successful iWatch App Development