Slowness of Watch

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by bbeagle, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. bbeagle macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    It seems after the Verge review, that people think the Apple Watch is slow.

    I'm an iOS developer so I'll explain this a bit.

    It's a fluid OS - the OS is not the issue, it's how the Apple Watch deals with 3rd party app updates. Any Apple native apps are fluid, but 3rd party 'glances' show their GUI first, THEN query the iPhone for an update, transfer the data, and then show the results.

    3rd party apps are forced to work this way right now. Apple does not allow 3rd party code to run on the actual watch. All 3rd party code must run on the phone and transfer data via bluetooth to the watch. So, say you click a button on the watch (in a 3rd party app), the watch must then tell the phone over bluetooth that the button was clicked, the phone then does the processing/web requests, then when done, tells the watch over bluetooth what to display on the screen next.

    So, this will be slow, and work this way, until probably September. I'm guessing new Watch APIs will be introduced at WWDC in June, then released as part of iOS 9.

    Apple apps don't need this round-trip watch-phone-watch interaction, thus are snappy.

    This is one reason you won't see many games on the watch at launch. Card games, tic-tac-toe games will be fine. But action games are too slow. Maybe some savvy developer can figure out a way to use animated gifs and a slower reaction time to make something interesting, but they'll be rare until September.
  2. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040


    Jul 13, 2008
    This seems incredibly dumb for the company. Why make the Watch capable when you're not actually utilizing the computing power?
  3. Ries macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2007
    Most likely done because any significant processing on the watch would drain it. Having native apps at launch would properly have yielded "does not last a complete day" because you would play with it constantly in the start.
  4. bbeagle thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    I think Apple, right now at launch, is trying to make sure the batteries last.

    There are apps for Android Wear which drain the watch battery in less than an hour. Apple is holding developer's hands now, slowly giving them features.
  5. rasputin1969 macrumors 6502

    Mar 4, 2010
    So what I don't understand is why didn't apple implement a watchdog process that monitors 3rd party processer usage and kills any foreground app that uses more than, say, 10% cpu usage over a period of time. Surely implementing a harsh process pruning heuristics would take less battery power (cpu+bluetooth) then this bluetooth-two-way interface based solution?
  6. mightyjabba macrumors 65816


    Sep 25, 2014
    I think the idea that Apple is limiting apps this way to save on battery life makes little sense. We won't have native watch apps for the same reason we didn't have native iPhone apps for a long time. They take time to develop and many developers don't even have the hardware yet.
  7. cardfan macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2012
    Great post..
  8. MeFromHere macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2012
    1. Maybe it's extra complexity they wanted to avoid for the first release. They already have a lot on their plate.
    2. Maybe they want to put extra pressure on app developers to make the apps as lightweight as possible.
    3. Maybe they want to gather a lot of real-world usage data to help them decide how to adjust the environment in the future.

    I suspect Apple has already investigated all the ideas we toss around on this forum, and they think they've picked a near-optimum starting point for the first release, given the schedule and their available manpower.
  9. cmChimera macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
    Apple told some of these reviewers that there will be a software update released to remedy these issues, so I imagine the situation will not be as bad by April 24. Obviously not completely gone as you explained, but it will be sped up.
  10. chrise2 macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2012
    The original iPhone didn't even have apps at launch. I'm totally ok with not using 3rd party apps right now. I currently use a Pebble and hardly use any 3rd party apps. I use it for time, notifications and to control music playback (Hopefully the Apple watch can control Spotify or whatever music is currently playing like the Pebble can, not a Spotify app for the watch). It'll take time.
  11. MeFromHere macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2012
    That's a good point. Most app developers have only run the watch in the simulator.

    WatchKit functionality seems a lot less timid when you realize there will be Watch-enabled apps in the store, from developers who have never had a watch to test with. The risk and uncertainly are limited, since WatchKit doesn't let you build anything that relies on the Watch's hardware.
  12. gorkt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2007
    Thanks for this info! It makes sense that the apps are slow for this reason. Hopefully, Apple will loosen the reins a bit (they usually do) as more third party apps become available.
  13. Cory Bauer macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2003
    Thanks for that confirmation. It seemed to me that performance issues were limited to 3rd party apps (most other reviews never even mentioned any performance issues), yet The Verge continues to imply that the Watch as a whole is a slug. Apart from Transit I have little interest in 3rd party apps at this time anyhow, so I can wait until they improve in September.

    Personally I think it'd have been wise for Apple to hold off on 3rd party applications altogether at launch, until they get their ducks in a row.

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