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Learn Apple Watch Programming Quickly Using WatchKit SDK

Updated on January 31, 2015

How do you get started with learning Apple Watch

I've spent countless hours over the past few months learning Swift and Apple Watch programming. The Apple WatchKit SDK was released only 3 months ago and I got interested right-away. I began building simulation apps within few weeks after starting to learn about Apple Watch.There are very less resources at that time ( even the Apple Documentation is not completed). Many of my friends have started to show interest to learn particularly about building apps for Apple Watch and I should say, and keep asking me if they'd be able to learn it quickly? etc. So I have taken up this task of spreading the word out about where you can learn about building Apple Watch apps and how to get you going in the right direction. I've even started writing tutorials about the topic (they are still in beta and will be public soon). Since, this is a wearable device and many haven't had a chance to play with one, many people are still under the wrong notion that it's rocket-science and is out of the common man's reach to build Apps on James-Bond-Gadget like stuff.

My first and foremost advice to anyone reading this is :

>>>Learning Apple Watch Programming is NOT rocket-science <<<

I have done it in a matter of months with some extra effort. But, you can do it at a fraction of that time if you can follow my advice and avoid wasting time on stuff that doesn't matter. Actually, in my opinion, the total time you'll take to learn and build your first app in Apple Watch really depends on two things

  • Your technical/programming back-ground
  • The kind of app ideas you have in mind for Apple Watch

Generally I've classified the commons request into these three categories:

  • I'm an average programmer but not familiar with Swift/Xcode
  • I'm an expert in iOS (Objective-C / Swift) programming
  • I'm a total newbie and doesn't know the basics of programming

Chart - Can I build Watch Apps

I am
Learning Curve - Simple Apps
Learning Curve - Advanced Apps
Average Programmer ( knows atleas 1 language)
Easy (2-3 days)
Medium (3-5 weeks)
Good at iOS Programming (Objective C, Swift)
Easy (1 day)
Easy (2-3 weeks)
New to Programming
Hard but possible ( 3-5 weeks)
Hard but possible (1-3 months)

An Average Programmer Guide To Learn Apple Watch Development

Well, I stress very much on this section of the audience here because I'm one of you. And there is a lot of my experience that I can share with you about this. I've been dealing with Java programming for the past 3 years and out of curiosity and obsession towards Apple products, I began learning Swift and later explored building apps for Apple Watch. Both turned out successful in a matter of weeks.

Why is this the best time to start learning Apple Watch Programming?

If you are already familiar with any of the modern language then you are already half-way through the learning curve. Why?

  • Because, Swift - the new programming language from Apple is pretty much similar to any other modern programming language. Going forward Apple has declared Swift as the official language that will be supported to build iOS Apps. The name 'Swift' - was given for the fact that you can learn and build apps in a 'swift'. It is a lot easier to learn than the old Objective-C.
  • Xcode IDE (mandatory to build iOS apps) is better than any IDEs you've used so far. You wouldn't want to go back to Eclipse/ IntelliJ once you start using Xcode. I've worked on Android Programming for a couple of months and it comes nowhere near the Xcode environment in terms of ease in development and reliability.

Where to start learning?

Apple WatchKit - Introduction about Architecture

A Newbies Guide To Build Apple Watch Applications

Should I Start with Swift?

If you are new to programming and thinking about picking a language to learn, I'd highly recommend starting with Swift. Because

  • It is a new and modern programming language. So a good language to learn the programming concepts in the correct sense. And you can understand other modern languages also very quickly.
  • You can start developing iOS Apps straight away and get it published to millions of users in no-time. This is the same with Android but i prefer to stay with iOS as it's more lucrative.

Where can I learn from?

I'll share some top quality resources that will help you get up to speed very quickly and are 100% free to learn.

Free Udacity courses

Intro to Computer Science (Good Basic Programming Concepts)

Intro to iOS App Development With Swift

Apple’s Official Documentation On Swift

Guide for iOS Programmers to Start Off with Apple Watch

Well, you guys can do it in a matter of days and I'd suggest taking a quick learners course to understand the new UI elements and basic architecture in the right sense without spending much time. Since you already know the concepts very well, you can quickly build and publish once you get the new jargons of Apple Watch development ( which is very easy). The minimalistic approach of Apple has reflected very well on their development eco-system as well. Anyway, lets wrap up with some trivia on Apple Watch for you, in case you didn't know:

  • You cannot build native, stand-alone Apple Watch Applications as of now, all apps have their parent apps in iPhone
  • The APIs for watch sensors like heartbeat, mic etc were not released for development at the time of writing this article. Only the UI is available to build our apps.
  • The crown push is pretty much like the physical home button of iPhone. It's push and turns cannot be accessed programmatically by 3rd party programmers as of now. However, the screen will just scroll automatically on turning the digital crowns.

Are you interested in building Apps?

Are you planning to build and launch an Apple Watch App Soon?

See results

© 2015 Akhil Anil


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