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.

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Top Rated Comments

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74 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.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 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.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 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.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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