Wearable technology continues to advance in use and scope, and developers are constantly releasing new apps that work with the Apple Watch. However, there are some differences between submitting a watchOS app and an iOS app, along with key App Store Optimization factors developers must consider.
The big news from WWDC 2015 was the release of Apple Music, new Mac OS El Capitan, and the announcement of iOS9.
Our favorites – new OS for Apple watch that allows for native apps, and an expanded Siri.
The implications to mobile marketing and mobile apps are significant as both Apple and Google (and Facebook) have made it clear they recognize the market loves apps.
Siri is just one end point for a user to access search. Spotlight being another.
Apple wants to be sure users can reach the value in the mobile apps on their device with deeper integrations with content in the “mobile app silo”.
Enabling users to access content in an app from another app.
Enabling users to search (via Siri or Spotlight) with results that include app content.
Federighi said Siri — “has quietly become popular.”
Each week, Apple’s voice recognition software answers more than 1 billion requests.
Proactively suggesting apps based on various inputs and user behavior – weather app in the morning, music app on a run, calorie tracker after run or at cafe.
Having a mobile app means tapping into how users are interacting with their devices, like a website can’t.
Native Apps for the Apple Watch
Apple Watch apps are about to take a big next step.
“Performance will be great. Responsiveness will be great. It’ll be a great new frontier for your Watch,” Apple’s Kevin Lynch
The new OS allows developers to access the watch microphone, speaker, and accelerometer. Currently, Apple Watch apps run on an iPhone and are displayed to the watch.
Not only does native watch apps mean much better, creative, faster apps – but more likely than not, we can expect to see an Apple Watch specific app store coming soon.
Since Apple Watch apps are really iPhone apps that are compatible with the watch, the app store has a curated list of Apple Watch compatible apps.
Expect this to change as developers start to release apps built specifically for the Apple Watch.
Another opportunity to collect and optimize app store meta data and tap into what your target market is looking for from the app stores.
Already sold out, the Apple Watch landed in Apple Stores today.
With the new Watch comes new Apps!
For now, Apple Watch apps only work as companion apps to the iPhone.
Found via the Apple Watch icon on devices running the latest version of iOS, and via the App Store.
While these apps can be built specifically for Watch use, they must be installed and paired with an iPhone.
Search on the Apple Watch version of the App Store looks alot like a the version accessed from an iPhone:
No Trending or Game Sub-categories yet.
Our early favorites
No one can say for sure where wearables is headed – and how big the opportunity is.
If nothing else, the Apple Watch release challenges mobile app publishers to simplify their UI, create experiences using inputs from the wide range of data inputs available and unique to mobile (phones and wearables) , and be there when a users is likely to need them.
How cool is the Apple Watch release? Sales are by appointment only. Here are the important dates:
- WatchKit Tools was released to developers November 18th, 2014
- Apple Watch pre-orders begin April 10th, 2015 at 12:01am PST (essentially late Thursday night). In-store fittings begin April 10th as well (reservation only!)
- Available for pick-up in Apple Stores April 24th. Again – only for those with reservations for fittings or pickups.
- Starts at $349 and goes as high as $17,000.
Features do not differ by watch regardless of cost. Face size is either 38mm or 42mm. The main driver of price differences are the materials used for the body, display and back. You can read what some of the top tech and Apple bloggers have had to say about the Apple Watch here. To get a sense for how early-adopters will be using their new Apple Watches, take a look at the featured apps.
Apps that seem to offer something new
- the fitness related apps
- any platform that utilizes notifications
Could be email, Twitter, airlines, sports scores and breaking news.
Over the long-run – I am not so sure I can see myself or anyone else using their Apple Watch to navigate a Target store. Using your watch to access your room instead of your room key at Starwood Properties – which is already available via their iPhone app – may be good for PR, but solves a very small problem if any at all.
But does utility matter?
The most exciting thing about the Apple Watch is that we do not yet know what it is or will become. Part watch, part computer, and part fashion – the Apple Watch may be the ultimate hub for “smart notifications”. Automatic, real-time, actionable and targeted for user segments that are created dynamically. This is more than buzzwords. The way users interact and what they require – of what is essentially the 1st device – in this new category is yet to be seen. Once the initial shine of the “new” wears off, the utility of these devices is likely to be a better way to stay connected without your eyes glued to your smartphone. And that happens with smarter notifications.
The implications for App Store Optimization
Apple Watch apps share the name, description, keywords and icon with your iPhone App. You can show off your new WatchKit app with 5 WatchKit screenshots – explained below by Apple and found here.
You can upload up to five screenshots of your WatchKit app in addition to five iPhone app screenshots. WatchKit app screenshots used on the App Store are 312 x 390 pixels. Use the full space for the screenshot — do not frame the screenshot in an Apple Watch.
Aside from opportunities to be featured as an app that supports Apple Watch – there does not appear to be an advantage to releasing an Apple Watch app for the ASO benefit alone.