WatchKit is the SDK for developing Apple Watch apps which comprises an extension that runs on iPhone plus a set of UI resources which are installed onto the watch itself. At the same time developers are able to use WatchKit Apps, Glances, or Actionable Notifications in order to deliver their apps to the watch itself.
The WatchKit link includes resources for building apps including architecture, APIs, interface elements and more. For those interested in having a look at the kit without using the kit, go to Apple Watch Simulator on Github which allows you to prototype apps.
The first WatchKit Hackathon took place at Sandbox Suites, SF the same week the WatchKit was released, getting together developers and designers to see what they could come up with for the device which has obvious limitations, primarily, for the moment at least, the fact that the code actually lives on the iPhone.
How many units Apple will sell in 2015 is one of this years big questions and analyst forecasts differ massively, those predicting lower sales finding it hard to see the value watch apps will deliver over phone apps.
The judging criteria revolved around what more could be done beyond just giving notifications. The Design category was won by Audio Kit which takes sensor data and matches the heart rate with the BPM of the music you’re listening to rather than just being information that shows on a screen.
Technical winners were a team called Watch Set that built a multi player game, Innovation category was won by Red Alert which gives alerts on the safety of geographical areas the wearer is in based on crime data and the overall winner was It’s Raining which lets you know when it is going to start raining and when it is going to stop.
This highlighted the fact that perhaps where watch apps can position themselves over phone apps is alerts based on live data but at the same time developers have to work within display constraints and the fact that code is still held on phones.