Apple is making an effort to improve the overall experience across Apple Watch apps.
The Cupertino, Calif. company will soon require that all new apps submitted for the Apple Watch be “native.” That means they’ll run on the actual Watch rather than the iPhone to which the Watch is tethered.
Apple issued the notice to developers on April 22; the mandate becomes effective starting June 1.
Native apps are faster and more fluid since they’re powered by the Watch rather than relying on a signal from your iPhone. Native apps also get access to the sensors and components inside the Watch, like its heart rate sensor. This should give developers the opportunity to build higher-quality apps for the Apple Watch that make the most of its hardware.
Native apps aren’t new to the Apple Watch. They’ve been available since September when Apple released a software update for the device. Although the tools have existed for months, Apple hasn’t required that app makers use them until now.
It’s a move that’s likely to create a more consistent feel across all Apple Watch apps, potentially leading to better performance. Still, it’s unclear how many Apple Watch owners actually use third party apps on their watches. A study published by the Mobile Research Centre at the University of Stockholm in November indicated that most owners use their Apple Watches to check the time and notifications rather than for apps.