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.

applewatch
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.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 8
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

saving107 Avatar
104 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)
Klae17 Avatar
104 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)
Michael Scrip Avatar
104 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)
IJ Reilly Avatar
104 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)
heeloliver Avatar
104 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.

----------

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)
Pakaku Avatar
104 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)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
magsafe duo perspective feature

Apple Releases New MagSafe Duo Firmware

Tuesday February 7, 2023 12:41 pm PST by
Apple today released updated firmware for the MagSafe Duo charger that is designed to work with the Apple Watch and MagSafe-compatible iPhone models. The new firmware is version 10M3063, but in the settings app, you'll see a 256.1067.0 version number, up from 186.0.0.0. The MagSafe Duo was first released in 2020 alongside the iPhone 12 models, and it has not had a firmware update before....
oneplus 11 3

Camera Comparison: Apple's iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. OnePlus 11 5G

Tuesday February 7, 2023 10:11 am PST by
Chinese smartphone company OnePlus today announced the official debut of the OnePlus 11 5G, which is the company's latest flagship smartphone. The device was already announced in China, but today marks the global launch so we thought we'd compare the OnePlus 11 5G to the iPhone 14 Pro Max to see how the camera measures up. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Apple's...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Orange

Apple Releases tvOS 16.3.1 and HomePod 16.3.1 Software Updates

Monday February 6, 2023 10:13 am PST by
Apple today released new tvOS 16.3.1 and HomePod 16.3.1 software updates, with the software coming two weeks after the tvOS 16.3 and HomePod 16.3 updates were released. According to Apple's release notes for HomePod software 16.3.1, the update includes general performance and stability improvements. Notes for tvOS 16.3.1 are unavailable as of yet, but are probably similar to the HomePod...
iPhone 15 Pro Blue Feature

iPhone 15 Pro 'Buttonless Design' Rumors: Everything We Know

Monday February 6, 2023 7:44 am PST by
The iPhone 15 Pro models will feature a "buttonless design" thanks to additional Taptic Engines, according to multiple corroborated reports, so what do we know about the change so far? Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was first to report that the volume and power buttons on this year's two high-end iPhone models will adopt a solid-state design, similar to the iPhone 7's home button, replacing a...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
iphone ultra concept daehnert

'iPhone Ultra' Concept Envisions Apple's Rumored Future Top-Tier Smartphone

Tuesday February 7, 2023 5:38 am PST by
Apple has reportedly considered releasing a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside future Pro and Pro Max models, tentatively referred to as "iPhone Ultra," and one designer has taken it upon himself to envision what such a device could potentially look like. German industrial designer Jonas Daehnert came up with this impressive-looking concept (pictured) by marrying design elements of the...
Apple iPad 10th gen Magic Keyboard Folio Apple Pencil Feature Blue

Apple Could Break an iPad Tradition This Year

Wednesday February 8, 2023 3:13 am PST by
Apple usually releases a new entry-level iPad every year, but the current lineup and rumors for 2023 may indicate that this will be the first year when the company breaks this convention. When Apple introduced the 10th-generation iPad last year, it added the device to the lineup above the ninth-generation model from 2021. As a result, Apple currently sells both the ninth- and 10th-generation ...