Is Apple Watch Development Worth an App Developer’s Time?

3 min read
Aug 23, 2017

Apple is typically a no-brainer for app developers. The products sell extraordinarily well, and an iOS developer who can deliver a unique, useful, well-working product is almost certain to cash in on the endeavour. But Apple Watch development is a bit different. First, Apple has provided surprisingly little support for Apple Watch developers, putting out a little software Apple app developer’s kit, but neglecting to allow developers access to the watch.

In addition, Apple Watch developers might not get their hands on one then, as current supplies placed for pre-order via Apple’s online venue have sold out, and backorders are expected to drone on for months. It is expected that Apple is actually exaggerating the shortage and will deliver the watches to customers early, but this isn’t much help for a developer needing to cash in on this device and develop Apple Watch apps quickly.

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The Pros of Developing Apple Watch Apps Now

Sales of the Apple Watch likely won’t ever reach that of the iPhone or iPad, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time to develop an Apple Watch app.

Apple sold about a million Apple Watches during the first weekend of pre-order, and few Apple products have failed to sell well. If you already have a successful app in the Apple App Store, developing for the Apple Watch is probably a good idea. Apple currently is not allowing stand-alone iWatch app development just for the watch.

Interestingly, Apple is marketing the watch as a luxury item, with prices running from £350 to over £700. Supplies are deliberately limited, the watches are only sold through Apple retailers (not third-party retailers like Best Buy), and customers are invited to visit stores to personally try on the various bands and faces — all tactics applied when marketing luxury items, such as exotic cars and high-end jewellery. So if your clientele is among the upper crust, Apple Watch app development might be an excellent fit for you.

The Cons of App Development for Apple Watch Now

On the flip side, if you don’t currently have an app approved for the Apple App Store, the wait time might be a hindrance to cashing in on your product. Aside from the aforementioned issues developers have faced getting an Apple app developer kit and enough information to develop Apple Watch apps, there are some unknowns. Like Apple Watch developers aren’t sure what in-app purchases and advertising should look like on this tiny display.

Apple is typically a no-brainer for app developers.Click To Tweet

Furthermore, the Apple Watch is only being marketed in 9 countries (compared to the 30 in which the last iPhone was launched), so developers seeking an international market when developing for Apple Watch will be significantly limited in their reach. Not even the best Apple Watch apps so far will be made available in the Apple App Store prior to the official rollout date, and some developers are waiting anxiously to see if their apps will even be approved.

Making Your Decision: To Develop or Not to Develop Apple Watch Apps

Apps are what sell mobile devices. Without Apple app development software and encouragement that yields a full complement of apps for the watch, nobody is going to remain interested after the initial excitement.

Strangely, the success of any mobile device is strongly tied to the number of apps available for it. People don’t need smartphones or tablets, what they need is apps to make the device useful, practical, and enjoyable.

So far, Apple Watch development is waiting on the sidelines. Getting in the game early as an Apple Watch developer makes it much easier to compete once the store is full of thousands or millions of competing apps. If you have the time and money to invest now and can wait until apps are approved and the watch is mainstream, developing for Apple Watch likely a smart investment. But for developers needing to break into a market quickly and profitably in the short term, choosing to develop and Apple Watch app probably isn’t the best bet.

If you have questions or concerns about app development for Apple Watch in London or another project, Talk To Us! We would be delighted to answer your questions!

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