As of June 1, 2016, all new watchOS apps that are submitted by developers to the App Store, must have been built with the native watchOS 2 SDK.

WatchOS 2 was available last June, and with the release of watchOS 2 SDK's, developers were finally able to customize:

  • Watch face complications
  • Access to hardware elements; like the Digital Crown
  • Taptic Engine
  • Microphone
  • loudspeaker

Developers were also provided with software support for HealthKit, and biometric data repository.

Before Native apps, the Apple Watch required the iPhone to do all of the processing in the background; this slowed down app loading and was poorly reviewed by the tech industry. At times, it made the app almost unusable. Native apps on the other hand will do some of the processing on the watch, which will likely affect battery life - depending on use. However, apps on the watch should be more responsive.

Fingers crossed that we'll start seeing more 'engaging' native watch apps.