Apple and Google are both inviting developers to create new kinds of apps today. Google has released the first APIs for Android Auto, enabling developers to create Android apps that can work with supported in-vehicle systems.
Apple, meanwhile, has released WatchKit, a new set of tools that let developers create apps for the upcoming Apple Watch.
Google introduced Android Auto this summer, promising it would provide a safe and easy way to use Android apps in a car.
There’s a relatively simple user interface, an emphasis on key apps such as navigation, music, and communication, and a consistent user experience so you won’t have to hunt for buttons or learn a new UI (and risk crashing your car) every time you try a new app.
At launch Google will accept just two types of third-party Android Auto apps: Audio and messaging apps that let you play music, podcasts, or other auto and receive, listen to, and reply-by-voice to messages.
Apple Watch and WatchKit
Apple plans to begin selling its first smartwatches in 2015 and the company is inviting developers to create apps that’ll run on the devices.
According to the WatchKit documentation it looks like an Apple Watch with a 1.5 inch screen will have a 272 x 340 pixel display, while the large 1.65 inch model will have a 312 x 390 pixel display.
Along with WatchKit, Apple has released iOS 8.2 beta to developers — you’ll need a device running iOS 8.2 to use an Apple Watch.
There are three types of ways to interact with apps on an Apple Watch: through actionable notifications, glances, and WatchKit apps. A glance shows information such as news or alarm status, while actionable notifications that let you do things like reroute transit directions.
WatchKit apps, on the other hand (or wrist), is a more interactive app which has two components: one that runs on an iPhone and another which runs on the watch. The WatchKit extension for an app will run in the background on an iPhone, so you can interact with an app on your Apple Watch without touching your phone, but some of the processing will actually take place on the phone.
Apple also plans to make tools for creation of native apps available later so that developers can offer apps that’ll run even when your watch isn’t paired to a phone.