The Apple Watch Has Created a New Lucrative Market For App Developers

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A world of fresh and profitable opportunities for app developers has been opened up by the recent launch of the Apple Watch. Whilst die-hard Apple fans, and tech obsessives alike, are always just desperate to get their hands on whatever the company has to offer, Apple executives know that the Watch’s mainstream popularity, longevity and sales potential will depend heavily on the apps that outside developers create for it. How do they know? Well, this proved to be the case with the iPad and the iPhone.

Apple needs the skills of the best in the business to turn what is currently an expensive timepiece, merely complimenting the user’s iPhone, into the latest ‘must have’ gadget rivaling the desirability of its other bestsellers. This makes designing apps for the Watch an exciting prospect. Here’s a rundown of the key challenges and opportunities for app development:

Size matters

The Watch’s tiny screens, the smallest of which is 38mm and the largest 42mm, top the list of things that will test the developer’s capabilities. Apple has been clear that they will want all apps to work equally well on both dimensions. So, consider the following:

  • Beware of putting too much information on one screen; don’t clutter it with extraneous detail.
  • Grouping items in a user-friendly way will help wearers find what they need quickly.
  • Make use of the full width of the screen wherever possible but ensure that text, such as conversations and instructions, are aligned to the left as this makes them easier to read.
  • Always use Apple’s own ‘San Francisco’ typeface, as this is the most legible font when displayed on the watch.
  • Use the built-in text styles, i.e. ‘Headline, Subhead, Body, Caption 1, Caption 2 and Footnote’, which automatically adjusts letter spacing and line height.
  • The colours you use are going to be even more important at this size of screen, so plan them carefully in advance. Always use black for your app’s background colour as it will help create the illusion that the screen is larger and ‘edgeless’.

Animation

The Watch’s small screen and compact processor presents a multitude of challenges for animation – but there are good reasons why developers should pursue solutions. Only 10 percent of the apps currently available on the timepiece are games, this is just half the amount on offer on iOS products overall – and games have proved some of the iPhone’s biggest, and thus most profitable sellers. What’s the best way to crack this market?

  • The good news is that the Watch is Apple’s most ‘intimate’ product yet. Users may feel even more committed to engage with a game or ‘event’ they are actually wearing on their wrist. Make a virtue of this.
  • When designing games, it’s important that they can be played in extremely short periods of play – think of the most common interaction as the time it takes for you to ‘glance’ at your watch.
  • Do users actually need to be ‘present’ during the game in its entirety?
    Ideally, the applications will become smarter in the sense that key decisions or artificial intelligence in games could be made based on impulses or habits that is done by the user of the Apple watch.

Simplicity of use

The Watch’s great advantage is that it doesn’t need to be dragged out of a bag or pocket for use. It is, quite literally, at hand. Some of the most popular apps might turn out to be the simplest, ones that fix the wearer’s ‘problem’ with one ‘tap’.

  • Think about creating apps that create solutions: accessing a taxi as quickly as possible, finding out when the next bus will arrive, etc.
  • Beware things that will require a person to hold their wrist in front of their face for half an hour at a time – not a good look!
  • A Watch app should be perfect for ‘sneak peaks’ – for those occasions when someone feels too self-conscious, or it’s inappropriate, to whip out their smartphone but needs or wants to check something quickly.

An opportunity for creativity

As with any new piece of technology, it’s easy to focus on its limitations and to forget that, sometimes, creativity is aided by constraints. Most problems are, after all, eventually overcome. It’s those who are at the cutting edge of finding solutions who usually reap the greatest benefits, both financially and by having their ingenuity applauded. So what are you waiting for? Start developing!

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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