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How to develop an App for the Apple watch

Published on 04 May 18
The smartwatch domain of the wearable market offers one of the most alluring prospects. It is a key part of the market growth that will be driven by the apps available for the devices. However, developing apps for smartwatches isn’t a simple exercise of merely taking an existing application and then transferring it to a smaller screen. Rather, you need a different approach to gauge the expectations and engagement of the customers with the application along with the specific use cases in which these customers will use it.
How to develop an App for the Apple watch - Image 1

Creating an app for Apple watch can be a bit tricky if you don’t know the essential aspects of apple watch app development.

In case you don’t have any experience in working with iOS, here we will discuss how you can develop Apple watch app.

The first steps is getting acquainted with WatchOS. In order to create an Apple watch app, you need to add a new target to your project by following the below-mentioned process.

File> New> Target

This step creates two folders namely App name WatchKit App and App name WatchKit Extension. The WatchKit app only consists of Storyboard as well as image resources. The logic has to be written in the WatchKit extension.

Now, we move to WatchKit Life Cycle which is an essential part of iWatch app development. There are two distinct methods through which you can initially call before you can first see the User Interface or UI which are, init and awake With Context. Even though you can create UI elements in init, when there are numerous elements, it is suggested to do in awake With Context. In case you are using init, you need to call super first. Calling super creates the UI elements and then assigns them the properties which you have declared.

Now comes the WatchOS Storyboard. The views are subsequently divided into 3 x 3 grid. Everything is duly positioned as per a horizontal parameter, i.e. left, centre and right, along with a vertical parameter, i.e. top, centre and bottom. There is no existing concept of constraints, and you can’t use the coordinates to position anything. Height, as well as width, can easily be set to a particular fixed value which is related to the content or the container. This is similar to wrap_content and match_content in Android.

Now you require communication between the app and the smartphone. Ever since WatchOS2, this communication is done using WCSession. In order to have simultaneous communication, the iOS and WatchOS have to create a WCSession instance as well as activate the session. Once both of these sessions are activated, the apps can easily communicate with each other, instantly. In case one of these apps has active WC Session, it can keep on sending actualizations as well as transferring files, but these actions will only occur in the background and will follow the iOS politics. It essentially means that you can’t be sure when will they completed their task, given that the OS will be assigning times as well as priorities based on its own criteria.

Now comes, the steps for the creation as well as activation of a session. They are:

1. At first, check that the WC Session is duly supported by the OS.

2. Create a default instance of WC Session.

3. Establish yourself as delegates.

4. Call the method activate Session.

Once you have completed these steps, it is time for Background communications. There are three different ways for establishing background communications. They are application context, file transfer and user info transfer.

After background communications have been established, it is time for interactive messaging. When you wish the messages to be delivered instantly, you require he sessions to be activated in both the devices. In order to check that, you have to look at the reachable state of the given objective device. This is an important step in mobile app development for Apple watch.

For iOS app, the paired Apple watch must be duly connected through Bluetooth, and the watch’s app should be running in the foreground.

For Watch app, the paired smartphone needs to be connected through Bluetooth.

Once you have checked the state, you will have two possible distinct methods that you can call depending on whether you want to pass, either is aNSData or NS Dictionary.

In order to receive these messages, you need to consider if you want an answer or not. In case of NS Dictionary, you have to use session: did Receive Message: reply Handler: or session: did Receive Message:

In case of NS Data, you have the same choices which depend on whether you want an answer or not. You can use session: did Receive Message: reply Handler: or session:didReceiveMessageData:

With this above guide, you will be able to get started with mobile app development for smartwatches. But you need to remember the fact that a smartwatch isn’t a smartphone. There are different ways in which people utilize the application on a smartwatch for different purposes. Generally, they will just want to look at their watch for a few seconds instead of using it for a much longer period as they would do for a smartphone. All these aspects need to be considered in iWatch app development and create an app for Apple watch.
This blog is listed under Gadgets Community

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