Last Wednesday we held our very first Office Hours. Topics of conversation included the current wearables market and whether or not developers should care about the Apple Watch (spoiler alert: yes, we should). If you’d like see what you missed, you can always check out innagural Office Hours recording which takes a different format than we’ll have going forward. So don’t forget to register for our next Office Hours coming up next Wednesday, July 22nd.
Pebble came out with their first watch in 2012. Samsung launched the Galaxy Gear line in 2013. Google came out with Android Wear in 2014. Why, with smart watches having been around for years, should developers start to care now?
Answer: Apple Watch.
None of the previous smartwatches really captured the attention of the general public. Yes, we’d see them at our tech meetups up and down the 101 in Silicon Valley – but stroll through a mall in most American cities and you’d be hard-pressed to find a smartwatch. Regardless of your feelings about Apple, everyone would agree that they are the best at turning a normally techie toy into a global fashion statement. And that is a game-changer.
Enough talk. I don’t want to just blindly throw my hat into the Apple media cyclone, so let’s look at the numbers:
Android Wear sold around 720,000 units in its first year. Reports show that Apple sold more than that on their first day of preorders! As of now, and despite the latest dip, Apple Watch sales are still estimated to reach around 20-25 million units by the end of the year.
As developers, we need to always be aware of our target markets. If we are going after a market with a million or so total devices, we have to capture a healthy percentage in order to make our investment of developing a watch app worthwhile. If there are 20+ million devices (and that’ll just be this year), the investment is much easier to justify.
Multiple companies of all sizes and industries have selected the Apple Watch as a supported mobile platform – likely due to potential market size, but also the relatively low investment needed for an Apple Watch app if you’re already developing for iOS. This low barrier to entry allows companies and indies alike to get their features onto watches with minimal time and cost.
If you’re interested in learning how to build an app for Apple Watch, check out our open source tutorial here to create your first watch app in minutes.
And stay tuned for our next Office Hours, we hope to see you there!