Back in Feburary, long before the Apple Watch officially went on sale, we told you about an unofficial Tesla Model S App built as a proof-of concept by software engineering firm Eleks Labs. Built by a team of engineers from the company in a few days and aided by ‘gallons of coffee,’ the app leveraged Apple’s first official Apple Watch Software Developer Kit (SDK) and Tesla’s unofficial Application Programming Interface (API) to demonstrate that it would be possible to replicate much of the functionality of Tesla’s official iOS app on this years’ hottest gadget.
More importantly for the folks at Eleks Labs, it demonstrated just where the boundaries lay between a developers’ imagination and the Apple-sanctioned walled garden it lets developers play in, resulting in an interesting blog post chronicling some of the challenges the team faced in building the prototype app.
With Apple Watches now in the wild, it hasn’t taken long for another developer — this time a Tesla-owning software entrepreneur — to build his own functioning Tesla Model S app for the Apple Watch.
Enter Allen Wong, self-made app developer turned millionaire, and keen car nut. Having made his fortune developing various apps under the Rego Apps and Smartest Apps company names — users of the iPhone may recognise his best-selling 5-0 Radio Police Scanner App — Wong has spent at least some of his personal fortune on building his own dream car collection.
His garage includes a Verde Ithaca Gallardo LP560-4 and Bentley Continental GT, as well as a Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 and Red Tesla Model S P85D. Given his talents as a developer and his recent purchase, it seemed logical to combine the two to build the Remote S app for the Apple Watch.
“Let me know what you think of the app in the comments,” Wong says in the description combining his YouTube video. “I spent the past 3-4 days coding it non-stop after I got my Apple Watch in the mail. When I really like a new project, I work non-stop until I’m close to completion. I think I lost three lbs in the process.”
In the video, Wong’s Model S P85D — nicknamed ‘Mobile Phone Charger’ — can be seen dutifully responding to all the commands issued to it via the Apple Watch app. Like similar apps already available for Android Wear devices, Remote S offers all of the basic functionality a Tesla owner would expect, including the ability to lock and unlock their car, honk the horn, turn on the lights, and program climate control or charging activities.
You can even unlock the car and use the Apple Watch to remotely start the vehicle, just as you can with Tesla’s official iPhone App.
Unlike other apps he has built, Wong says he didn’t built the app to make money. Given the number of Tesla Model S owners who also happen to own an Apple Watch are likely to be rather small at the moment, Wong says he’s okay with this particular app being little more than a fun side project.
“I didn’t expect to make any money out of it,” he explains. “It’s just a fun hobby. And it was quite fun to make.”
Being careful to note that the app is not endorsed by either Apple or Tesla, Wong says the app has now been submitted to Apple’s special Apple Watch App Store, and will hopefully become available at some point in the near future for everyone to use.
There’s no word on price, although given the standard way in which both Rego Apps and Smartest Apps work, we’d expect a free version as well as a premium version with added features.
Of course, the mighty Tesla Model S isn’t the only car to get its own watch app — official or otherwise. BMW i3 and i8 owners were the first plug-in drivers to gain a brand-new Apple Watch app to control their cars, while similar companion apps are expected from most major automakers.
For those who prefer their smartwatches a little more affordable, there are similar apps already available for many different makes of plug-in cars on both the Google Wear and Pebble Smartwatch platforms.
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