Programmer and podcaster Marco Arment has recently shared his thoughts regarding the current state of Apple’s WatchKit, complaining how the development kit only allows him to create “baby” apps. He argues that unlike on iOS, Apple doesn’t give app developers access to the same watchOS frameworks that they use on Apple Watch.
Arment says that Apple only allows developers to use WatchKit, “a baby UI framework that would’ve seemed rudimentary to developers even in the 1990s”. He further notes that since Apple isn’t using the WatchKit, it isn’t aware of its limitations. “The bugs and limitations I report to them are usually met with shock and surprise — they have no idea”, he writes.
WatchKit is buggy as hell. Since Apple doesn’t use it and there are relatively few third-party Watch apps of value, WatchKit is far more buggy, and seems far less tested, than any other Apple API I’ve ever worked with. Apple will never have a very good idea of where WatchKit needs to improve if they’re not using it.
WatchKit needs to be discontinued and replaced.
The developer suggests that Apple should reimplement all of its own Watch apps with WatchKit instead of their internal frameworks, which will force them to fix WatchKit’s many bugs and dramatically expand it. If not, Apple should just share its real watchOS UI and media frameworks to third-party developers, similar to iOS.