Last month Apple released WatchKit, its software building tool for Apple Watch, and developers are already lamenting its limitations.
One iOS developer summed up those limitations perfectly, comparing development for the Apple Watch to building a car.
“It’s like saying you can build and design any car you want, but ultimately it has to go inside one of two body styles,” said our source. “You can still do a lot of great work with the engine and interior, but if in the end it looks like everything else … then where’s the fun.”
In this analogy, the two body styles are the two app navigation styles that Apple has made developers choose from: hierarchical, and page-based:
- The hierarchical style is like a choose-your-own-adventure. Users will make one choice on each screen until they reach their destination.
- Page-based apps will be better for horizontal swiping through data that’s not related to what’s on other screens.
It’s important to remember that Apple has told developers they will be able to do more with WatchKit down the road.
“Starting later next year, developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch,” Apple said in a press release last month.
Nonetheless, our source said he was frustrated with Apple’s limitations on how people could use Apple Watch.
“The [user interface] limitations, at least for me, put a damper on the Watch,” he said.
That said, there are still ways for Apple to entice developers to work on the Watch. Our source said virtually anyone developing on WatchKit would love “more sensors (you can never have enough sensors) and access to the underlying graphics engine.”