Sluggish third-party Apple Watch apps may soon be a thing of the past. Apple is preparing to offer native support on the device for software made by other companies, starting with a preview at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next month.
Speaking at Re/code’s Code event in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Apple Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams revealed Apple’s plans to open up the Watch to independent software developers. Currently, there are over 3,000 apps for the smartwatch. But unlike the built-in apps, which run directly on the watch, third-party apps are run off an iPhone and then mirrored back to the Apple Watch. When a paired iPhone is out of range of the Watch, third party apps will not run.
The move to native third-party apps will allow the apps to run without an iPhone and enable the use of Apple Watch sensors and the digital crown by developers. Following the preview period, Apple will officially support such apps in the fall.
The Apple Watch, which first went on sale on April 24, has continued to see supply constraints, with shipment times upwards of four to five weeks. This was partially due to a faulty Taptic engine produced by one of Apple’s supply chain partners, according to the Wall Street Journal. Unlike the vibration of the smartphone, the Taptic engine produces taps on an Apple Watch user’s wrists. Some analysts -- including KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo -- revised their projections for the watch as a result.
Apple’s WWDC kicks off June 8 starting with a keynote at 10 a.m. PDT. In addition to Apple Watch native app support, the company is expected to unveil a number of new products and updates, including developments for iOS 9, a streaming music service and a revamped Apple TV.