Even though it doesn’t have an announced launch date or price yet, Apple’s first wearable device — the upcoming and unimaginatively-named Apple Watch — is already one of 2015’s hottest gadgets, with tech news portals going crazy the moment an Apple Watch is spotted in the wild.
With the official Apple Watch launch likely to be less than a month or two away, we’re also starting to see some examples of the types of apps you’ll be able to run on this new must-have toy, including ones that enable you to interact with social media, control your home and of course, keep track of your pizza order.
But now a team of developers at Eleks Labs have used Apple’s emulated-only Watch Kit developer API to mock up a Tesla app for the Apple Watch in an attempt to figure out just how far Apple is letting its developers go with its current SDK.
“Developers have always had an irrepressible desire to learn something new, interesting and useful, especially if it’s connected with IT,” wrote Markiyan Matsekh, Product Manager, Mobility & Wearables at Eleks Labs in a recent blog post on the company website. “At ELEKS, we have the same, if not greater, craving for innovations. That is why we couldn’t let the emergence of the smart watch from Apple simply pass by. Said and done.”
After what Matsekh calls a “couple of days, gallons of coffee and restless peering into monitors,” the team managed to develop their first Apple Watch app: an app which allows controlling of a Tesla Model S electric car via the Internet using the web-service APIs available to them.
While the app itself has only been tested on an emulator thus far — the real Apple Watches not being available of course — the results are impressive.
Of course, those with Pebble Smart Watches or more expensive Android-based SmartWatches will know that there are already some apps available that enable you to control cars like the Tesla Model S and even Nissan LEAF from a smartphone, as the following video details.
Much like Tesla however, there’s a certain mass-hysteria that follows anything Apple-based around, so it’s likely the Apple Watch version of any app that helps control a Tesla from your wrist will sell pretty well.
Don’t let Eleks Lab’s high-quality screencast video above fool you however. While the app works in the confines of the emulator environment, it’s not yet a fully-fledged app, and Matsekh says there are still some things that Apple promised developers when the Apple Watch was announced but which haven’t yet been included in the Watch’s official developer kit, including access to the watch’s accelerometer and gyroscope, Bluetooth, full tough-sensitivity, tactile notifications, access to the watch’s built-in speaker and microphone, and fine-grain GPS.
Worse still, the early beta of the Apple Watch SDK requires an iOS device — essentially an iPhone — to operate as a conduit for the Apple Watch, meaning those developing for it need to currently produce a companion app that sits on the owners’ phone.
Despite these limitations however, the team of developers have managed to retain the majority of functionality that is built into the Tesla iOS app, including tracking basic information like state of charge, outdoor temperature and range, finding where you car is, unlocking doors and venting the roof, and of course setting charge parameters. And for those who are of the coding persuasion, the company has even made its current Apple Watch project available on Github.
Much like the glimpse of the BMW i3 and i8 apps we saw for the Apple Watch at its official unveiling last year, the Tesla App offers owners the ability to control basic functions without getting either their remote control or their smartphone out of their pocket.
With the Apple Watch launch still not set however, and another Apple Watch SDK expected before it does, Marsekh says the team at Eleks Labs will be refining and playing with its app as more functionality is released to developers by Apple. But with app functionality still pretty tough co code, there’s no official word on if this particular Apple Watch app will be released in time for the first Apple Watch sales in March or April.
Would you like to control your car from a smart watch? Will you be buying the Apple Watch? Or do you already use Pebble or Android Wear devices to interact with your cars?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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