For those who don’t already know, I have Repetition Workout Counter in the AppStore for iPhone and iPad. The most recent release – version 2.0 – added support for Apple Watch from day one.
I didn’t quite know what to expect out of the Apple Watch. It’s quite an elegant piece of hard ware and software engineering. That is, until you start using third-party apps. The issues I (well, and many others) have is that running the app as an extension on the phone and communicating UI changes over Bluetooth has been problematic. It’s slow. Sometimes it doesn’t connect.
In the case of Repetition, it only does two things – increment a counter, and control the stopwatch function. At times even these are painfully slow – and I’m only sending minimal payloads (most often a single key:value pair) over the air to the Watch.
Now, enter watchOS 2, announced yesterday at WWDC. This is what we developers have been waiting for – the ability to run apps natively on the Watch, some UI improvements, access to hardware components, complications, and more.
For apps like Repetition, that means some key advantages over WatchKit:
- Immediate UI updates. (counter and timer are immediate)
- Haptic feedback from the taptic engine (say, a little buzz every X minutes)
- Better heart rate monitoring
- No need to be near your phone during workouts.
- Watch face complications with the current reps and timer w/o having to open the app
So, you can see why we’re excited for these enhancements. I really think the watch is perfect for two things – notifications and exercise. With Apple pushing the Health aspect so much, I wouldn’t be surprised if they felt the same way.