Apple Watch app?


#1

Hi,

Are there any plans to create an Apple Watch app for the Particle iOS app?

The iOS Particle app is absolutely fantastic – other than being a great data/feed source, it is an incredible remote for variables + remote function calling. The fact that you can access all of your photons in one place makes it even better for DIY/hobbyist.

It essentially brings a single app that you can use to control anything physical.

Having access to all of this from your wrist would simply be amazing. It would essentially create the best “IOT” remote. Everything from notifications (sensors, motion, door, water leaks, alerts, etc) to an actual control (garage door, lights, etc).

I have tried doing this with IFTTT, but the delay is much to large for it to be useful. Currently, you can mimic the real time functionality with an SMS gateway (flowroute for SMS + a photon) which seems to deliver in real time, but you have to write a php handler and “enough” for security/handling to react- doable and it works well, but it seems like an overkill.

The watch just seems like a perfect solution for all of this.

Thanks.


#2

I’m interested in this too. The closest I’ve gotten is using Homebridge and the Particle plugin, which let my Photon cloud functions be called from the Apple Home app and siri, but a smoother interface would be awesome.


#3

@particle Any news/info on this?


#4

I don’t think there are currently any plans for an iWatch app. It’s an additional burden on the development team, where there are other priorities. Though smartwatches are nice, and I own one myself, it’s a really niche market. Considering you’re not going to use the app for an end product, it would only be for development or hobbyist usage. I could understand if that wouldn’t have priority.
There’s nothing stopping anyone from making an app and throwing it on the app store though :wink:


#5

I am mixed because technically the main particle app is also not really “end-product” targeted - It’s just for hobbyist/debugging. Totally understand (and agree for the most part) with your points.

Generating a “watch interface” out of the main mobile app is not a lot of work, and this was really my main reason for asking about it – it would be a very small effort once you have the main app to create a watch version of it. The upside I see is huge. Currently there is no good way to interface with all of the “IoT” devices, and ifttt is a disaster on reliability and especially timing. I default to creating SMS bridges for everything to be able to do it quickly/with voice, and for everything else I use the main particle app (which is fantastic!) to toggle functions.


#6

While true, the mobile app is the suggested setup method for the devices, and as such is very much useful to everybody. If not directly used in an end product, the apps serve as an example on how setup and device interactions could be managed. It’s also applicable to everyone with a smartphone, which is basically everyone (who Tinkers with devices like these).
The debugging/hobbyist part came after functions/variables have been added, which isn’t too long ago.

I’ve got no idea what it takes to develop an apple watch app, so can’t comment on that. I do know that time spent on that can’t simultaneously be spent on something everybody can enjoy. Looking at the Apple watch specifically, you’d be developing it for people with iOS devices, and then an Apple watch, and then folks who’d actually, actively use it. I can’t imagine those to be plentiful, and you’re also cutting off the entire Android section (or you’d have to develop one for them too, taking up even more time). You’d also have to support/update those apps, taking up time/resources as well.

There are options available, such as IFTTT or homebridge, and though I might use a dedicated app, I’d prefer that development time to be spent on something more people can enjoy. That said, the apps are open-source, and considering it’s very small effort, what’s stopping you from making and releasing a killer watchOS app ;)?

Personally I use both homebridge, as well as a simple custom webpage to controlled my devices.


#7

so go for it!

Once you develop an iOS app, extending it to the watch is non that difficult, but it really isn’t a stretch. It would be a nice contribution to the community here.

at about 35million units sold, it’s a niche larger than the Netherlands by only a factor of two.


#8

I’m still wearing my Pebble Time watch, but I’m amazed at how many people I have seen wearing Apple Watches. Even more impressive is that almost each Apple watch has a different unique look to it because of the end user customized it!

If I had a iPhone I would for sure have the Apple watch :slight_smile:


#9

and they largely invented the category… sad, right?


#10

I don’t develop apple apps (haven’t since the iphone 3gs), so the “getting back into” (especially learning Swift) will take some time. That said, from friends and co-workers who develop iphone apps, I have heard over and over that developing an “ok/usable” apple watch app is about an afternoon worth of effort. If you want a good one, it’s a few days worth of effort (again, if you are in objective-c/swift day and day out).
@Moors7, @BulldogLowell - I didn’t know the particle apple app was open sourced - this is interesting and good to know :slight_smile:


#11

It’s interesting to see the pattern of watch users (and then specifically apple watch users). I can say that out of my 20ish relatively close friends, about 17-18 have apple watches, but I know that’s not typical. At work it’s the same (although smaller %), but again, this seems to be the case in most it-heavy related fields. I agree with you - I also wouldn’t call it a “niche” market anymore with the release of the apple watch 3 and ~4 million units sold just of that version.


#12

Yea, they did it feels like.

I’m still sad I never got the Time 2 I backed :unamused:


#13

@RWB I think it’s ~ $65 on Amazon if you still want it. About half an year ago I saw it for ~$40ish somewhere.


#14

Naw, it’s the one that never got developed because Fitbit bought them out. It was the larger version of the Pebble Time Steel which I do have.


#15

Yup, and as a demonstrational impementation and hence one for the major platforms should do.

And how many of these do use Particle devices? I’d guess the intersect might still go as niche from Particle’s standpoint.

More pressing issues need to be addressed first. And even if the port would only take a week, this would not be the only week spent on side-projects as this would not be the only “demand” of its kind. When jumping on each and every project some customers consider necessary years could be spent on side-projects without any improvements to the platform itself
Sure, would be nice to have, but not by Particle, IMO.


#16

I can’t help it that the Netherlands aren’t that densely populated :wink:

True, in number of units sold, it’s Pretty decent. When I was talking about it being a ‘niche’ market, I was thinking about the impact it would have on the Particle community. Let’s say 50% are using apple, and 10-20% of those have an apple watch, then you’re developing for 5-10% of the community. That is, assuming all those who own an apple watch would use said app. When looking at it like that, I’d dare call it a niche market (for Particle). Then it’s a matter of prioritizing, which wouldn’t make it top priority in my book. Sure, it’d be fun to have, but not at the cost of losing out on other updates from Particles side.
It’s not just making the app that should be considered, but also the time spent on keeping it working, and updating it every once in a while. That too takes time, for a relatively small user base.


#17

Check the App OwnControl in the Apple AppStore. It’s special designed for photon and comes with a Watch App.
I use it to control my total home automation.
BR
Stephan


#18

@isledge Good to know about this, thanks for mentioning this.

@nrobinson2000 I ended up getting (and using heavily) the SmartThings hub and their apple watch app is fantastic. The benefit to this is that “any routine” becomes automatically a shortcut on the watch, and it’s really easy to build routines (anything from simple to very complicated). I wrote a whole bunch of device handlers and apps + routines for my photons and this pretty much solved this issue.


#19

Not to revive an old thread, but interesting news around apple watch sales – it seems the popularity around the apple watch exploded with v3: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/12/apple-watch-is-now-the-number-one-watch-in-the-world.html

(and v4 is estimated to double those sales)

“The Apple Watch is now the number one watch in the world”

“Last year, consumers bought 21.1 million smartwatches alone, globally according to industry trackers Strategy Analytics.”

Where it gets interesting however (to me at least) is that it used to be the “tech geeks”. At first, most people who worked in IT and had an iPhone also bought an apple watch. With v1, they decided it was crap. Then they re-bought v3. In the last few months, I keep noticing tons of moms and execs with them. Almost everyone that has an iphone and 1-2 kids seems to have an apple watch (at least around our town) which I find fascinating.


#21

@ameliaharry654 I ended up writing “adapters” which bridge the Particle API calls and Smartthings. This included custom handlers for the hardware and custom apps for the “front-end”. Now everything is a function away, which due to the way Smartthings allows routines to be pushed as shortcuts on the iPhone and Apple watch, means everything is a “tap away”. The added benefit is with a single call everything is one call away from Alexa too (due to the way smartthings routines become available to Alexa), and the beauty of this is that it can be made into single words (ex: “Alexa blah”). The only down side is that anything outside of the standard interfaces needs a custom app to be automated via Smartthings routines. The standards being lights, switches, motions, etc, etc. A lot of the times you can spoof the standard interfaces and create your own that pretends to be a generic “switch” for example or “light” (thus gaining for free things like “on” and “off” for example). You could say another downside is that this doesn’t “just work” from the Particle app. I do have to say, it still frustrates me a bit that the Particle app won’t simply allow you to favor functions/calls and allow all of this natively (ex: I’ve hooked up all of our ACs, and it would be great to force press and be able to call favorites – which is turning off certain ACs). It seems like a massive missed opportunity for automation/diy/the hobby market. You can use things like IFTTT but they have quite the delay which imo makes them useless a lot of the times. For the apple side of things - not having this means not having shortcuts, not having siri integration, and not having force touch. Again, I know the app is for “debugging” essentially, but not taking advantage of some of the most popular features of iOS seems like a massive miss.