At the time of this writing (pre-WWDC 2015), there are a number of limitations on what Apple Watch code can do. The primary limitation is that watch apps cannot exist by themselves. It is necessary for the watch app to be a part of a corresponding phone app. Apple has said they will not accept watch apps where the phone app does not do anything itself. Also, watch-only apps (such as watch faces) are not allowed for this same reason—although it’s rumored that this may change after WWDC 2015.
Another Apple Watch limitation is that Core Graphics animations are not supported, but animated GIFs are. Complex layouts (such as overlapping elements) are not allowed. However, elements can be positioned as if they overlap—provided only one element is visible at a time. Using actions such as taps and timers, the visibility of these “overlapping” elements can be changed. This can be implemented to provide a more dynamic interface. Another major limitation (also whispered to change after WWDC 2015) is that watch apps cannot access any of the hardware on the watch including the motion sensor and heart sensor.
Most watch app processing (controller logic) is done on the phone instead of the watch, and some delays are inherent in the Bluetooth communication that transpires between the watch and the phone as the view (on the watch) talks back to the controller (on the phone). This view/controller split is not obvious in the code, but the watch/phone split is obvious in the code, as the watch cannot access anything from the phone, even though the controller logic is running on the phone side—except via a specific watch-to-phone request.
One notable feature is the watch app’s ability to explicitly call the phone app with a dictionary and obtain a dictionary response. This functionality allows the developer to then set up a number of client-server style requests, where the watch is the client, and the phone is the server. For example, the watch can request information from—or record information to—the phone. The phone (which has storage and may have Internet connectivity) can then fulfill the request and provide data in response to the watch. This can drive the phone app’s UI to provide near-real-time synchronization of the watch app display, as well as the phone app display.
Custom notifications (both local notifications and push notifications) are supported on the watch. These custom notifications can have a somewhat customized layout as well as having the ability to define a set of custom actions. After performing one of these actions, the watch app is started. Apple mentions not to use notifications as a way to just launch the watch app from the phone app. Apple maintains that the notifications should provide useful information.
One developer test limitation relates to custom watch notifications (for local notifications). Since watch notifications are only displayed if the phone is asleep, there is no direct way to test custom watch notifications. Because of this, XCode does provide a mechanism to test push notifications in the simulator (using a JSON file), but there is no similar mechanism to test local notifications. Still, one can certainly test local notifications with the physical device.
Mobomo was thrilled to be a sponsor at the Federal Mobile Computing Summit that took place over this past week. Hundreds of government workers convened at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., where they were presented with the latest mobile-for-the-government developments, and inspired to think about future ones.
We were particularly proud to see one of our favorite clients, Peter Dewar, Chief Technology Officer at the District of Columbia Retirement Board (DCRB), participate in a thought-provoking panel on Wearables and the Internet of Things. The session’s description as a “visionary panel” proved to be true, as all of the participants outlined the groundbreaking mobile capabilities they foresaw as feasible within the next five years.
Mr. Dewar described his vision for implementing Google Glass in the office, at conferences—even for pension fund participants, staff, and Board members. Taking the idea of “smart rooms” even further, he also described a futuristic conference room, which would be able to set up a meeting’s required media (think dial-ins, projectors, etc.) upon the meeting organizer’s entrance or (biometric) authentication.
We from Mobomo were on the edge of our seats thinking about the possibilities, and excited about building them—especially for our government clients. Congrats to Peter Dewar for a great panel session, and thanks to Tom Suder for hosting yet another fantastic summit. We’re looking forward to next year’s—and to the future of mobile (in the government!).
Washington, D.C., is the location of the 2010 Digital Media Conference East and Mobomo founder/ CEO Barg Upender will be one of the panelists for the Mobile track. The conference, which is now in its 7th year, is split into five tracks: Mobile, the other, Social Media, Television/ Video, Marketing and Law & Tech.
The one-day conference takes place Jun 25th at the McLean Hilton in McLean, Virginia. More details at the DMC East site. If you are following tweets on Twitter about this conference, look for the #dmc10 hashtag. The Mobile panel, entitled Mobile Apps: The Next Stage, takes place from 11:20 am – 12:05 pm (EST), which includes 10 minutes for audience questions.
Google is one of those few companies who can play the field when it comes to positioning themselves with apps for both Web and mobile platforms, but still believes that the two will converge and that essentially the Web will win. Hence, the company is putting efforts into not only their Android Marketplace but their new Chrome Web Store.
While some people feel that Google is competing with itself by promoting both the Chrome and Android app stores, the company said at Google I/O this week that it believes it’s keeping an open mind about the future. Google Co-founder Sergey Brin admits that right now the market wants native mobile apps, though with the progress of the HTML5 standard in terms of display graphics, and with Web apps capable of going offline, he feels that Web and native mobile apps will converge in the not too distant future.
The Nissan Leaf is an electric car that’ll be getting an iPhone app with two initial features: letting you know when it’s all charged up, and allowing you to control the in-car climate. It’ll be interesting to see what comes next for the app, but there are a whole host of possibilities, including using paying for parking, finding the car easily in large parking lots, and much more.
Now if Apple goes ahead and adds NFC (Near-Field Communication, a close cousin to RFID) chips to the next generations of iPhones — which some recent patents hint at — there are additional possibilities, including being able to lock and unlock your car with your iPhone, and maybe even remote starting, for those colder days.
In short, the iPhone becomes a car remote control unit. Unfortunately, all the computerized features in cars today mean hacker attacks on your car might increase in the future, and smartphone integration aids the proces.
Nissan is not the only car maker with iPhone integration in the works, though Ford was recently told it’ll have to wait a year to get the necessary communications chip from Apple, for it’s Sync system.
The NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics), a CDC sub agency that uses telephone surveys for data gathering, has determined that nearly 25% of American homes have no landline, only wireless phones. As well, 15% of American homes have landline phones but don’t usually use them. These and other related mobile statistics are available in a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report [PDF, 17 pgs; via Reuters].
Now as early as 2006, there have been reports about how many N. Americans were tending towards wireless phones over landlines. What this essentially means is that smartphone ownership will continue to increase as “dumb” mobile phone usage decreases. Thus, too, the number of people using mobile applications will increase — which is in line with predictions that the mobile platform in general will become the predominant distribution channel for software applications. With tons of new smartphones offering great new features, like the rumored next-gen iPhone, that’s even more likely to be true.
So if you own a business, you should at least be aware of what mobile marketing or even a custom mobile application can do for your bottom line. Feel free to contact us to discuss your mobile apps or mobile campaign needs.
Mobomo CEO Barg Upender demonstrated the mobile app developer’s Pocket Biz iPhone software, “a dead simple CRM” tool for SMBs, at a “Disruptathon” (disrupt-a-thon) in Mclean, VA, on Thursday. The Disruptathon serves to showcase disruptive new technology.
The Pocket Biz app gives SMB (Small-to-Medium Business) sales people in the field the mobile tools to manage their sales pipleline while on the go, and includes tasklists with items that can be assigned to contacts, deal lists to track progress, contacts assigned list, and notes. SMB owners can use Pocket Biz to organize their deal flow, and it’s easy to pick up and learn:
Buy for under 10 dollars, compared to hundreds or thousands of initial investment for other CRM solutions.
Learn it under 10 sec. It’s deceptively simple to use.
Add contacts under 10 sec.
Add deals under 10 sec.
The Disruptathon was moderated by Dave Wolf of Cynergy Systems, who thinks that mobile Windows 7 is going to be a compelling platform for business. The target market of the companies that presented is mobile business and pro-sumers. Presentations at the Disruptathon gave a peek at what’s coming up for the mobile platform in this target market. Besides Barg Upender of Mobomo (whose presentation deck is shown below), presenters included:
Sam Aparicio, founder/ CEO of Ringio.
Matt Howard, co-founder/ COO of ZoomSafer.
Manoj Ramani, founder/ CEO of DubMeNow.
Alan Snyder, CEO of Boxtone.
Hassan Wahla, VP of TeleNav.
Sze Wong, founder/ CEO of Zerion Software.
The key takeaways from the Disruptathon is that consumer/ game apps tend to dominate the mobile market and the business apps market still needs to grow. The presenters showed that there are interesting business apps in development, and give more proof that the mobile platform will become the dominant new channel for distributing apps.
If you’re interested in a mobile app for your business, please contact us.
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