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The secret ordeals Apple puts developers through so they can make amazing Watch apps

Published Apr 24th, 2015 5:30PM EDT
Apple Watch Apps Features and Tests
Image: Chris Smith, BGR

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App developers are Apple’s secret MVPs. Without applications, the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch would be immensely boring devices. Apple knows this, and that’s why it always tries to outshine the competition when it comes to app availability for its products, including the newly launched Apple Watch.

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To ensure it has decent Apple Watch apps at launch, Apple invited various developers to its secret Watch lab in Sunnyvale, California, Business Insider has learned. There, they were able to test their apps on the Watches before the wearable device was officially launched, although developers also had to agree to Apple’s harsh security conditions.

“The event started at 9am, which is when Apple started letting people in one team at a time,” one developer who attended one such a meeting told the publication. developer. “When you walked in, the first thing you noticed was a big projection screen on the right, which had a presentation running on a loop.”

“Directly to the left there were one or two people checking in names and putting security stickers over the cameras on our iPhone and laptops, so we couldn’t take any pictures,” the developer added. “There were probably about 25 to 30 developers there, and you were allowed to bring one extra person so most people showed up with two people per team. They had a lot of desks lined up in long rows, and each desk was numbered.”

Developers then received Apple Watch units, all Sport models, both 38mm and 42mm screen versons, which they were then able to use to test out apps. Apple also provided iPhones to be paired with the Watches, as developers were not allowed to use their own smartphones.

The company further made sure developers would not leave the room with a Watch on them. “If you got up to go to the bathroom or the cafeteria next door, you had to hold up your wrist to show you weren’t trying to steal one — which didn’t exactly make sense since anyone could have hidden one in their pocket,” the developer added.

Apple further made sure that developers would not remove security tapes from their iPhones when leaving, and also signed out of iCloud on the iPhones Apple provided.

Finally, security guards were present both inside and outside the special rooms, and Apple engineers were also present to help with answers.

Currently, there are over 3,000 iOS apps that have already added app support for the Apple Watch, though some reviews say some of these third-party apps are not yet where they should be when it comes to overall performance. A list of Apple Watch-ready apps is already available in iTunes, but also in the Watch app on the iPhone.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.