Reports are emerging that a number of prominent app developers are focusing their attention on building apps for the soon to be released Apple Watch. Apple recently held a media event to explain to developers how the Apple Watch works and released information on developing apps for the device. Preorders for the devices will start April 10, and the watches will officially go on sale on April 24.
At its event, Apple demonstrated an app from ride-sharing service Uber that shows users a map that pinpoints the driver’s location and allows the user to place a phone call to the driver if necessary. A watch app developed by Starwood Hotels was also part of the demonstration, showing how it sends a notification to the watch wearer when near the hotel, shows the room number when the guest arrives at the hotel, and can unlock the user’s room door with a hand wave over the electronically enabled lock.
The development of apps made by other companies is key to the success of the Apple Watch. Apple learned this lesson after the release of the iPhone in 2007. When the App Store opened a year after Apple released the iPhone, the smartphone became the ultimate Swiss army knife of gadgets. With consumers expecting a slew of apps for their new devices, the Apple Watch will not sell well without the help of a whole lot of app developers.
Developing apps for the Apple Watch will be more complex than developing apps for the iPhone. The Apple Watch is not a stand-alone product and relies on an iPhone to operate fully. Developers working on apps for the watch will have to first make an iPhone app and then expand it to include support for the watch. Apple has not clarified whether developers will be able to charge customers for the iPhone app, and then charge them again for the watch extension of the app.
Apple will offer three models of the Apple Watch in two case sizes — 1.5 inches and 1.65 inches. Each watch model is made with a casing made of a different material. The Apple Watch, which has a stainless steel case, costs $550 to $1,040, depending on the band. The cheapest model is the Apple Watch Sport, a version with an aluminum case with pricing that starts at $350. The high-end Apple Watch Edition, which has a case made of 18-karat gold, has pricing that starts at $10,000.
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