Devs work in secret lab to make Apple Watch apps

Devs work in top secret Apple lab to make Watch apps

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Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

How do you make Apple Watch apps without access to the actual device?

For many developers, it doesn’t get better than the simulation tools Apple provides and some cardboard cutouts. But for a select few, Apple has given the opportunity to test the unreleased Watch in person at a top secret lab.

Today Bloomberg reported that companies like Facebook, United Airlines, and BMW have spent weeks at Apple “working hands-on with the smartwatch to test and fine-tune applications that will debut alongside the device next month.”

9to5Mac first reported that over 100 devs were invited by Apple to test Watch apps in February.

The rooms at Apple headquarters where apps are tested have no internet access, and “no outside materials can be brought in to the labs with the test watches,” according to Bloomberg. To maintain secrecy, Apple is even going so far as to store the source code of apps invited to test the Watch early. Guests won’t get their code back until “closer to the watch’s introduction date.”

Locking down app code is curious given that the Apple Watch’s SDK, which outlines what apps can and can’t do, is publicly available. It’s possible that developers who have had hands-on time with the Watch have been given additional access to the device. Apple has likely shared future roadmap plans for the Watch as well.

Bloomberg’s report notes the big companies involved like Facebook and Starwood Hotels, but Cult of Mac has learned that smaller indie devs with successful track records in the App Store have also been brought to Apple to test the Watch. The result has been that certain devs are less willing to share about their app development ahead of the Watch going on sale.