Apple 2018 Software Wishlist (26/28): Xcode/Development – Native stand-alone watchOS and tvOS apps.

This is the 3rd last post in this series, and be rest assured I’ve saved one of the best till last.

I’m sure there are many developers that want to support watchOS and tvOS, but don’t want to have to build a whole iPhone and iPad app just so they can publish a watchOS and tvOS companion app.

On the other hand, there are other developers that have made apps for iOS, that can’t be bothered supporting watchOS and tvOS.

I do find that even I’m hardly using any 3rd party apps on the Apple Watch on a regular basis. My daily routine just uses the stock apps. A larger reason behind this, is that they are either badly made or are very slow since they require sending data via Bluetooth to the Apple Watch. It’s rare I am at home with my phone not near me and using 3rd party watch apps, which this scenario would then use Wi-Fi for certain tasks.

To me there are 3 things Apple need to do to make this better.

  1. Add support in Xcode 10 to make watchOS and tvOS apps separately from everything else. Published with separate Bundle IDs. Then if they want to make an iOS app down the track, then they can use that Bundle ID.
  2. Allow stand-alone watchOS apps to be downloaded via the Apple Watch iOS app (to manage and navigate etc.) along with making stand-alone tvOS apps visible in its App Store but stated as “tvOS Exclusive”.
  3. Apple relax their guidelines/publishing policies to allow this to all take place.

The way the App Store structure setup is perfect for large developers who have the time and resources to inject into these other platforms, but smaller developers have to go through the initial development of an iOS app just to then make a watchOS and tvOS app.

If it helps solve the data issues for each platform, Apple could add extra storage in future models and on current models they put a cap on the size of each watchOS and tvOS app. For example, max 30MB for stand-alone native watchOS app and 100MB for stand-alone native tvOS app that can have separate On-Demand Resources.

If Apple wants the Apple Watch and Apple TV to get even better (sales and technical features), it would do them a service to allow the above to happen.