The official Apple Watch launch will attract lines around the block at retail outlets, waitlists online and endless product reviews.
But for the hardcore developers and gadget geeks, the first version—set for pre-order on April 10 and public availability two weeks later—is just a taste of what the future holds.
Why? Because the sensor data that the watch is uniquely positioned to capture won't yet be available to third parties.
For a combination of privacy reasons, performance concerns and desire to retain control over the device, Apple isn't yet letting outsiders access those sensors via WatchKit, the developer software tools for the Apple Watch. So all that valuable information about heart rate, calories burned, blood pressure and skin temperature will remain locked up, for now.
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"Once Apple opens that gateway and gives developers access to it, they can do wild and crazy things never done before," said Jordan Edelson, chief executive officer of Appetizer Mobile, a New York-based app development agency.
Like what, you ask?
Here's Edelson's example. Say you're Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks, and a customer has your app linked to the watch. The device's sensors can tell you the person's heart rate, location and perhaps body temperature.