Since watchOS 2 was released last Monday, several developers have been tinkering with the software and have managed to get games like Canabalt and a Flappy Bird clone to run natively on the Apple Watch using frameworks like UIKit and SpriteKit, which are not available to developers for Apple Watch apps.
One of the main features Apple added to watchOS 2 is the ability for developers to create “native” apps that run on the device itself instead of the iPhone, but as it turns out, developers are restricted to using WatchKit for Apple Watch interfaces and are not able to use more advanced frameworks available on for iPhone apps like UIKit, SpriteKit, and SceneKit.
Last week, developers Steven Troughton-Smith, Adam Bell, and Jay Freeman were able to get apps using UIKit and SceneKit to run on the Apple Watch, and in the video below, endless runner Canabalt is shown running natively on the Apple Watch.
Developer Hamza Sood has also been tinkering with watchOS 2 and today tweeted that he was able to get a Flappy Bird clone to run on the Apple Watch with native SpriteKit rendering. He also took it one step further, adding both touch and Digital Crown input controls.
Hacked a Flappy Bird clone onto Apple Watch with native SpriteKit rendering, touch/crown control, SFX through speaker pic.twitter.com/U1cavXb7SN
— Hamza Sood (@hamzasood) June 16, 2015
Developers don’t yet have permission from Apple to use these frameworks for Apple Watch apps, but the hacked games give a look at what the device might be capable of in the future. WatchOS 2, set to be released in the fall, will allow developers to create native apps that are powered by the Apple Watch instead of the iPhone, but without the frameworks used in the above examples.
watchOS 2 also gives developers access to the Digital Crown, the microphone, and various sensors on the watch, including the accelerometer and heart rate monitor, which will lead to more full-featured apps later this year.