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New Report Provides Look Into Apple's Secret Lab for Apple Watch Developers

Three weeks ago, it was reported that Apple was inviting developers to the company's Cupertino headquarters to receive help finalizing Apple Watch apps. A new report from Bloomberg Business provides a look into the secret lab where Apple is helping developers, offering a look at Apple's strategy for Apple Watch apps as well as the security around the project.

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Developers from Facebook, BMW, Starwood Hotels and others have been making multiple trips to Cupertino, with each visit requiring confidentiality.
Apple, which will share more details about the gadget at a March 9 event, uses extreme measures to keep the work secret. Internet access is blocked inside the rooms, and no outside materials can be brought in to the labs with the test watches, a person who attended said. The companies, sometimes sharing a room, must bring in source code for their apps on a computer hard drive that can't leave Apple's headquarters. To prevent information from leaking out, Apple is storing the code and sending it to the companies closer to the watch's introduction date, the person said.
The unreleased Apple Watch is also available for the developers to test out their apps, allowing them to check for glitches and optimize user experience for the Digital Crown and Force Touch, two of the watch's unique interface options.

One of the challenges for both Apple and its developers has been to balance the apps so that they are useful but not annoying. Apple has recommended that developers be "judicious" about interrupting users with alerts that would constantly buzz or drain the battery. Instead, they suggest that apps should be used for no longer than 10 seconds at a time.

Another challenge for developers has been working on an unreleased product, as developers have noticed problems that still need to be worked through. One developer tells Bloomberg that the Bluetooth connection between the iPhone and Apple Watch caused lag with some applications. Additionally, some developers like Starwood have had to use computer simulations and cardboard cutouts to explain to the designers who weren't invited to Cupertino how its app would work.

Apple is expected to show off the Apple Watch apps developers have been working on, as well as more information about the new device, at its "Spring Forward" event on Monday, March 9 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Apple plans to provide live coverage for the event on its website and through a channel on Apple TV, and MacRumors will also be covering the event with both a live blog on MacRumors.com and through our MacRumorsLive Twitter account.



Top Rated Comments

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23 months ago

This reminds me of the first iPads developers got to see that were bolted to a table in a windowless room.


For reference





The iPhone 4 was also leaked (while sitting onto of the iPad) but no one ever realized it, everyone just assumed it was an iPhone 3GS and focused on the iPad.
Rating: 18 Votes
23 months ago
some developers like Starwood have had to use computer simulations and cardboard cutouts to explain to the designers who weren't invited to Cupertino how its app would work.
Rating: 16 Votes
23 months ago
This reminds me of the first iPads developers got to see that were bolted to a table in a windowless room.

Apple certainly takes their secrecy seriously.
Rating: 13 Votes
23 months ago

Ah. Yeah I guess Apple wants to keep the hype at, well, being hype. Nothing piques the public's intrigue quite like secrecy and meeting in the shadows...


If Apple talks about a new product they are accused of hype. If they keep it a big secret, they are accused of stealth hype. All the hype talk is really just... hype.
Rating: 7 Votes
23 months ago

Why are they being so secretive about a product which we ALREADY KNOW EXISTS?


It suggests to me that there's some 'killer app' that they're hiding until the event in a few days. Because we know a ton about the outside, but less about the inside. But that's just a guess, though.

Apple's natural secrecy might also be a factor.
Rating: 5 Votes
23 months ago
Nice. I'd imagine Twitter is there as well. Twitter and Apple seem to have a super close relationship, and the official Twitter app is something Apple would make.

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Why are they being so secretive about a product which we ALREADY KNOW EXISTS? This isn't like the iPad or something where they really did need cloak and dagger to have a few developers create some software that could be showed off at its unveiling and keep things undercover until that time arrived.


Because none of us really know what the Apple Watch is like. Apple has only shown it working on their own wrists, and it hasn't truly been in the hands of any one else yet. There are many unfinished/secret features and specifications that haven't been worked out yet and they don't want released.
Rating: 5 Votes
23 months ago
Yes but it was a "stupid", "useless", "gimmick" technology that "99.9% did not need" then.

Then, everyone "evolved with the times" so that exactly at the point that Apple rolled it out, the stupidity and uselessness evaporated and the .1% quickly scaled up to become the new 99.9% "refusing to shop at any store that doesn't accept Apple pay". ;)
Rating: 4 Votes
23 months ago
Why are they being so secretive about a product which we ALREADY KNOW EXISTS? This isn't like the iPad or something where they really did need cloak and dagger to have a few developers create some software that could be showed off at its unveiling and keep things undercover until that time arrived.
Rating: 4 Votes
23 months ago
Probably because it's oh, so true.

If that's not enough, check back in about 3 years. By then Apple will have "invented NFC technology."

Someone like you or me might then counter, be challenged by 10 guys, show hard evidence, be called "trolls" and then the 10 will try to twist or change the subject with something like "but who has the most profitable smart phone" or, more commonly, "but Apple was the one who did it right."
Rating: 3 Votes
23 months ago
Par for the course. The overarching rule is whatever Apple has for sale now is THE one and only ideal, best option and all other competitors are "abominations", "stupid", "useless".

The only time that rule weakens is when the same rumor piles up enough to make us believe that Apple is going to change to something that we've historically ripped (stuff like screens bigger than 3.5" and then 4" or NFC). Once the rumors get thick enough that a bigger-screened iPhone or NFC is coming, the "abominations" transition through "wait and see" to "it's kind of growing on me" etc until Apple actually launches, confirming the rumors and initiating a wave of "shut up and take my money" and "best <thing> ever" evolving into "how did we ever get by with that former <thing>" (example: "how did we ever get by with those puny screens" which were never puny when they were the only screens available in iPhones-- then they were "perfect").

As soon as Apple launches the new thing, all the competitor's stuff that differs from whatever Apple has chosen to sell now becomes the new "garbage" and "stupid" and "99.9% don't want". Rinse & repeat.

Occasionally, you'll have the odd scenario where Apple will make seemingly conflicting choices such that we have to argue for and against something at the same time. For example, when an iPad with Retina launched along with an iPad mini without retina, "we" made passionate arguments for why a 9.7" screen had to have retina but a 7.9" screen didn't. Then, iPad Mini 2 with retina is launched and all that justification for why a 7.9" screen didn't need retina evaporated, replaced with how the retina mini was definitely worth the upgrade just for that beautiful retina screen.

Again, par for the course. I expect much of the same with this :apple:Watch. Before :apple:Watch rumors, all smart watches were "stupid", "I never wear a watch", "my phone has replaced my need for a watch". Then the rumors starting piling up that Apple might make a watch and the hedging positions passionately against smart watches began to post. Then, Apple revealed that it was indeed going to roll out a smart watch and we're in the "wait & see" to "I'm already in line" stage. It launches in a few days to "shut up and take my money" and "how did we ever get by without a smart watch before"... and all other watches will become "stupid", "useless", and "99% don't want".

It will be perfection in every possible way at launch... until next year or so when the second edition is launched and then it will be the new perfect and the first one will get the "how did we ever get by with that <negative punch>" as part of rationalizing why we all must upgrade to the new one.

At least, we're a consistent group.
Rating: 3 Votes

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