At WWDC 2015, Apple announced that watchOS 2 would be released to Apple Watch owners this fall. While the initial release of WatchKit in iOS 8 only supported Watch apps as an extension of apps running on the phone, apps built for watchOS 2 can run natively on the device.
WatchKit 1.0 was essentially an iOS feature, and we were able to support it in relatively quickly; however, watchOS 2 is a new flavor of operating system which brings its own APIs, behaviors, and restrictions. Our engineers have been hard at work adding support for this new OS since the initial previews were released this summer, and we’re pleased to announce today the availability of our first previews that enable development of watchOS 2 apps for the Apple Watch simulator in Xamarin Studio.
New watchOS Features in Xamarin Studio
Xamarin Studio now enables developers to create new apps for watchOS 2. The watchOS 2 extension project uses a new “Xamarin.WatchOS” framework profile that includes the watchOS binding, Xamarin.WatchOS.dll, which enables all the new WatchKit features such as complications.
There is a new project template for watchOS 2 apps, and you can now use our iOS designer to edit watchOS 2 storyboards.
Additionally, Xamarin Studio now includes several features introduced in iOS 9 that also apply to watchOS 2 apps, including App Thinning, On-Demand Resources, Data Set and Sprite Atlas Asset Catalogs.
Building for Device
While today’s release enables building and running Xamarin apps on the watchOS simulator, we still have plenty of work left to do before customers will be able to deploy their Watch apps to device, and publish to the Apple App Store. In particular, watchOS 2 apps must be submitted using LLVM BitCode, which is an ongoing project I recently covered on my blog.
Get Started Today
You can learn more about this preview here and download the bits for our watchOS 2 Simulator Preview from our forums. Please note that this release is a Preview. It is not available on the Stable, Beta, or Alpha channels and must be installed separately. Get started developing your watchOS 2 apps in Xamarin Studio today by running the WatchKit Catalog sample from our sample gallery.