Apple requires all new watchOS apps be native by June 1In an announcement to developers on Friday, Apple said come June 1, all new watchOS titles submitted to the App Store must be native apps built with the company's latest watchOS 2 software development kit.
The upcoming requirement, published on Apple's developer website, is the latest push by Apple to advance its wearables platform and address launch complaints regarding sluggish third-party apps.
Apple debuted watchOS 2 last June shortly after the device hit wide distribution. With newly gained access to watchOS 2 SDKs, developers were able to create their own custom watch face complications, as well as access Apple Watch hardware elements like the Digital Crown, Taptic Engine, microphone and loudspeaker. Software support for HealthKit, Apple's biometric data repository, was also added for apps to perform high-level functions like reading accelerometer data and writing workout data back to the Activity app.
The final watchOS 2 version officially rolled out last September with a host of improvements to user interface components, Siri, Apple Pay and Wallet, Maps and more.
Importantly for early adopters underwhelmed by the performance, or lack thereof, from third-party Apple Watch apps, watchOS 2 allowed developers to create native apps. The capability allows software to run on Watch without transferring data back and forth from a host iPhone, making for a snappier user experience. Today's developer requirement means users will soon be much less apt to encounter software with slow load times.