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Developer interest in Apple Watch eclipsed by iOS and tvOS, report says

As Apple works to build out software support for its nascent Apple Watch platform, a report published Monday claims developers have lost interest in coding for the wearable, and have turned their sights back to iOS and Apple's latest software product, tvOS.




According to Realm, which hosts a mobile database used by some 100,000 developers, coders initially flocked to Apple Watch when the device debuted —followed by the launch of WatchKit tools in 2014 —as can be expected of any new Apple hardware release, Business Insider reports.

More recently, however, that interest has waned, with efforts redirected back to iOS and the tvOS operating system powering Apple's fourth-generation Apple TV. With tvOS, developers are excited to nab a piece of a new market ripe for growth.

"On a weekly basis we're seeing very few Watch apps, compared to iOS apps," said Tim Anglade, VP at Realm. "For every 1,000 new iOS apps being built, there are ten tvOS apps and maybe one Watch app."

Anglade suggests developers have no interest in apps built for what amounts to an iPhone companion device. Without native app support, and limited access to Apple Watch hardware, watchOS app developers were initially forced to rely on a connected iOS device for core software functionality. Indeed, watchOS apps are only available for download via iOS, making Watch feel less like a standalone platform than an iPhone add-on.

Apple addressed performance concerns in September with the release of watchOS 2, which allows developers to create apps that run natively on Watch hardware. Along with the ability to complete native computational operations, watchOS 2 software is able to tap into advanced components like the heart rate sensor, microphone, Digital Crown and Taptic Engine.

Further bolstering against the threat of sluggish software, the company in April announced a new developer policy that requires all watchOS app submissions be native as of June 1.

Apple is expected to outline watchOS advancements, tentatively dubbed "watchOS 3," at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Less certain is the unveiling of second-generation Apple Watch hardware. Rumors claim the so-called "Apple Watch 2" will sport cellular capabilities, a faster S2 system in package chip and could ship this fall.