12 things WatchKit tells us about Apple Watch

9. Animation is… restricted

Animation exists in Apple Watch, but the guidelines call for pre-rendered animations from a series of static images — much like an animated GIF. Dynamic animations might result in delays, apparently. There’s no mention of movie files, but then everyone had enough of stamp-sized QuickTime files in 1990s desktop browsers.

Integrated maps are static, too — devs define a set annotated snapshot, a tap on which launches Apple’s own Maps app.

10. Gestures are locked down

10. Gestures are locked down

You tap the screen to interact, tap hard for a context menu with up to four buttons, and use the digital crown to zoom through lists or rapidly scroll. Vertical swipes are for scrolling, and horizontal ones are for navigating page-based interfaces. Up and left edge swipes, respectively, bring up Glances and go ‘back’. And that’s it — there’s no customisation.

There's also no multi-touch, which is probably just as well, because you’d need to file your fingers to spikes for that to work.

11. Big devs are on board

Apple’s press release has quotes about apps from ESPN (live scores; team info; news), Instagram (latest photos; likes; comments) and American Airlines (gates; departures; boarding; in-flight info). The tip of the iceberg, we suspect; Apple Watch will almost certainly be well-supported from day one.

12. Apple’s looking ahead

The same press release adds: “Starting later next year, developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch”. This mirrors the iPhone’s early days: start with a very locked-down Apple experience; normalise device usage; gradually open things up. In the meantime, Apple’s recruiting an evangelist, to guide developers and “help them build platform differentiating, next generation apps for iOS, with a primary focus on Apple Watch apps”.

And anyone still thinking this all sounds a bit restrictive, be mindful of two things: first, this is a device designed for focus rather than in-depth interactions; secondly, current smartphones are significantly more capable than the original iPhone was on release. This is just the first step; who knows what the Apple Watch 3 or 4 will bring?

READ MORE: Apple launches WatchKit, letting developers create Apple Watch apps

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