60 Tools, Resources and Tutorials for Apple Watch App Development

60 Tools, Resources and Tutorials for Apple Watch App Development

The Apple Watch is the latest item of wearable tech for consumers, and by all accounts popular enough to warrant developers considering making apps for this the smallest of iOS-based mobile devices. Apple execs will not say yet how many Watch units have sold, although it’s possible the number will be revealed at WWDC 2015. At the least, in the USA alone, Apple Watch outsold Android Wear watches globally — over a million preorders (roughly 1.2-2M units ordered by just under 1M customers) in the first weekend of release, in Apr 2015, compared to the ~720K units of Android Wear sold around the world over a six-month period. Of course, it’s still early. Sales of watches for both platforms will increase as prices go down for new versions in the near future.

The number of Watch apps is already increasing. At the end of April 2015, there were around 3,500 Watch apps, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Near the end of May 2015, there were around 4,000 Watch apps according to Jeff Williams, Apple’s Senior VP of Operations, As sales of the device grow, demand for apps will of course grow, so this a good time to start planning your Watch apps.

Now, at time of writing, Apple Watch does not have a publicly-available native SDK. That is, Watch apps must be paired with an iPhone app and an “extension”. Although it is not as complicated as it might sound to make Watch apps, and the feature set will increase by the second half of 2015. According to various reports, Williams says that the native SDK that is coming soon will give access to sensors in the Watch. A preview will be made available to developers at the WWDC 2015 conference in early June. If you want to get started designing and developing your own watch apps, the resources listed below should help. If you have no iOS experience, have a look at our iOS mobile app development guide that covers many aspects of building a mobile app for this platform, and links to numerous resources and tutorials.


Apple Resources


Apps and Blogs

  • The Apple Watch WatchThis is a blog all about the Apple Watch, with news, apps, trends, tips, with recent posts warning about using the Watch while driving (to avoid driver’s license penalties in some cities), and various best daily practices in using the watch — good for general reference about the device.
  • These Are the First 25 Apple Watch AppsUseful as a reference, this lists some of the first Watch apps, with a brief explanation of the functionality of each – possible inspiration for app development.
  • Jake’s Apple Watch WorldAnother blog about Apple Watch, with recent posts showing a lot of videos, Watch blueprints, and pictures of celebrities wearing Watch – worthwhile as a reference in keeping up with new feature developments and popularity.
  • Watch.camp – A Blog About Apple WatchThe name says it all: a blog about the Watch — one of the rare few, with a look similar to early Mac interfaces — with a number of developer tips and related news.
  • The best Apple Watch apps: 24 essential downloadsWareable.com’s list of 24 top Watch apps, filtered from hundreds — which can serve as inspiration for your own Watch apps.


UX, UI, Design and Prototyping

  • 42 Apple Watch Design Resources For Your AppAppDesignVault offers a list of over 40 design resources for Watch apps that includes templates, mockups, icons in .psd (Photoshop), .ai (Illustrator), .sketch (Sketch) and other file formats.
  • Apple Watch Vector UI Kit for Keynote and PowerPointUse this vector UI kit from Keynotopia for Apple Keynote and Microsoft PowerPoint to prototype Apple Watch apps.
  • Apple Watch Design PrimerThis is a short but valuable run down of the Apple Watch’s basic features, glances, and notifications – useful as an app design primer.
  • Apple Watch Notification Prototype .sketch resourceIf you use the Sketch desktop software (Mac) for design work, here’s an Apple Watch notification prototype in .sketch format.
  • ProttPrott, which bills itself as a rapid prototyping and radical collaboration power tool for design teams, now supports prototyping for Apple Watch.
  • Prototyping Native Watch appsUXTree gives a tutorial on prototyping watch apps, including instructions on creating UX animations.
  • InifitApps BezelInfinitApps’ Bezel works in tandem with the iOS Simulator and shows a graphic representation of an Apple Watch.
  • Apple Watch GUI for illustratorHere are vector templates for Watch for those who prefer Adobe Illustrator for app interface design and prototyping.
  • iPhone 6 and Apple Watch Resources — This page has free Adobe Photoshop PSD templates for both Watch and iPhone.
  • RelativeWave FormNow part of Google, Form allows you to build native app prototypes right on the device in question, including Apple Watch. (Viewer also available.)
  • 5 Important Design Principles for Apple Watch AppsThis post offers some solid design tips for Apple Watch apps, including utilizing the screen real estate of both sizes of Watch, using good typography, taking advantage of glances and notifications and other thoughts.
  • The 50 Best Apple Watch Face and App Concepts So FarWhile custom watch faces are not enabled as of this writing, this feature will come and this list of Watch face and app concepts may come in handy then.
  • Icons for Apple Watch – The Definitive Guide — Provides a detailed guide to best practices of icon design for Apple Watch, including geometries that work and don’t work and why.
  • AppCookerAppCooker is another app prototyping tool for iPhone and iPad that now supports prototyping Apple Watch apps
  • ThinkApps for Watch: A Prototyping Tool for Apple Watch AppsThinkApps has a no-coding-needed Web-based tool that lets you build a free Apple Watch app prototype in just a few minutes, as well as published case studies for the Watch.
  • Designing for Apple Watch: Getting StartedThis primer on designing apps for the Apple Watch covers app structure, glances, notifications, interaction options, force touch, layout, color, UI animation and more.
  • MarvelMarvel is a mobile and Web apps prototyping tool with a freemium model (unlimited free projects with limited features) that now lets you to turn sketches and mockups into a viewable prototype on the Apple Watch.
  • XiffeXiffe is a web-based mobile prototyping tool with freemium pricing and which now supports Apple Watch prototypes.
  • Apple Watch Design ResourcesThis is a large list from multiple sources of PSD (Photoshop) mockups, UI kits, templates, icons and tools for Apple Watch.


Tips and Tutorials


General/ Miscellaneous