Apple Watch apps are about to get a lot faster

“The Apple Watch has a punctuality problem: apps are slow to load, which could defeat the whole point of having a gadget to deliver information at a glance,” Tim Higgins reports for Bloomberg.

“To fix that, Apple Inc. will unveil new tools for the programmers writing applications for the device,” Higgins reports. “The upgrade will be one of the key highlights of the iPhone maker’s annual conference for 5,000-plus software developers in San Francisco next week.”

“‘I’ve seen it take up to 20, 30 seconds for something to happen, and that’s not uncommon for me,’ Slaven Radic, chief executive officer of Tapstream Network Inc., an application marketing software company, said of the delays. The watch screen often turns off before apps get a chance to load, he said,” Higgins reports. “The software development kit that will be previewed next week will give engineers the ability to write programs on the watch and access to the device’s sensors, Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, said last week at the Re/code conference.”

Higgins reports, “The development kit could be ‘another catalyst for more apps on the device in the coming quarters,’ Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets & Co., wrote in a note to investors.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Someday soon, we’ll be reminiscing, “Remember when Apple Watch apps were dog slow because they weren’t native?”

Right now, the slow speed of some third-party apps is the single biggest drawback for Apple Watch.


      1. That makes sense.. But if there truly will be ‘native’, as used by MDN, Apps, those apps are going to take up a lot more memory on the AW in exchange for reducing the load time.

        1. Yes, native apps on the watch will take up storage space from the available 6 GB (after Watch OS use), and run in the 512 MB of RAM. So, that means less space for storing music and photos, and probably some serious memory management issues in RAM for running Watch OS stuff and third party apps.

          I expect to be extremely judicious about what native third party apps I permit on my watch, and certainly no games.

  1. ‘Infuriatingly Slow’ loading apps is inexcusable.

    But I have to wonder if this is because of limited RAM or drive space on affected watches. Too many things running at the same time is another cause. This scenario is very common on iOS devices. Been there many times. Clear out space for apps to run and its happy time again.

    1. Could be many different things. The fact that communication is accomplished wirelessly doesn’t help, as there are many, many factors that could degrade performance.

      1. I thought we all understood our WATCH would be dog slow to begin with. It’s normal behavior for any new device. So for the time being I try to enjoy the alarm and timer more than anything else yet. Although I have to say that the new Spark mail client is already outstanding.🎉🚀💥😃

    2. The onboard (“native”) Apple Watch apps seem responsive. The new API will speed up most third-party apps, depending on how much support they need from the iPhone and, probably even more important, how much data they need from the internet. If the app requires data retrieval or iPhone processing, then there will be lag.

      It is unreasonable to expect the Apple Watch to do everything quickly – your Mac does not, your iPad does not, and your iPhone does not. The computing capacity and battery storage in the Apple Watch is constrained by its small size. People need to be satisfied that it does a limited subset of things very well as an enhancement to the iPhone, not a replacement. If app developers get too ambitious with their apps and they end up running slow and hogging the limited memory space, then people are going to be disappointed. Unfortunately, that will reflect poorly on Apple and the Apple Watch, even if that is unfair.

      1. I can see we’re in a place that is comparable to the early era of the mass Internet. I remember very ambitious developers (such as Trilobyte, who created ‘7th Guest’ and ’11th Hour’) who wanted the-future-now! They thought they could program anything and it would just work. But the old ‘Version 1.0’ and ‘Version 2.0’ Effects still held sway on projects.

        In particular, I remember one developer wanting to create a racing car game, something on the level of a tame ‘Carmageddon’, that was run over the Internet between competitors. This was during the dark ages of 28.8k POTS modems with 33.6k on the horizon. OOPS. I don’t how he expected data, even minimal instruction data, to run across the Internet circa 1996 in real time. It just didn’t happen.

        Similarly, we now have a decent but minimal computer in a wristwatch. Off loading as much processing as possible to the iPhone, relying as little as possible on their wireless connection is critical. Toss the processing requests off to the iPhone, pick up the results when they’re ready with minimal communication in between. And so forth. It’s a chained two part system with a relatively weak master and powerful slave. That requires some new, different thinking.

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