Slowly but surely, Apple is making its Watch more of a standalone device - able to hold its own and function without a constant link to an iPhone. A new mandate from the company shifts the balance even more in that direction.
In a note sent to developers (opens in new tab), Apple says "all new watchOS apps submitted to the App Store must be native apps built with the watchOS 2 SDK or later", which essentially means they have to be able to run on the watch itself.
That may not mean much to those of us who aren't Apple Watch developers, but it's a sign of the greater autonomy coming to the wearable - and it means future versions of the timepiece could be even more independent.
Watch this space
It was the watchOS 2 software update last September that laid the ground for this: it gave the Apple Watch the ability to connect to Wi-Fi on its own and provided a Software Development Kit (SDK) for building native apps that didn't rely on the iPhone.
Now apps are going to have to updated to meet the new requirements if they want to stick around in the App Store. One day in the not too distant future we might see an Apple Watch you can use in place of your iPhone rather than alongside it.
For that to happen, Apple's going to have to cram more power and memory into the wrist-based device. Apple Watch 2 is rumoured to be getting thinner and receiving a big boost in internal specs, and we might see it as early as WWDC in June.
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