Apple launched another mobile game platform today, and it's small enough to strap on your wrist.
Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage during the company's press conference in Cupertino to show off the Apple Watch, the long-rumored Apple wearable that pairs with iOS devices (including the new iPhone 6 smartphones
revealed today) to offer developers a fresh platform to deliver new kinds of mobile game experiences.
The device itself is expected to come in two sizes and three different oddly-named product lines (Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition) when it debuts next year, and must be paired with smartphones from the iPhone 5 and 6 product families -- it does not run its own standalone apps.
While Apple made a point of pitching it as a platform for communication and fitness apps, it's not hard to imagine canny mobile game makers using it as a secondary or even primary platform -- game industry veteran Laralyn McWilliams noted on Twitter
that the Watch is an especially intriguing platform for developers to create personal fitness games.
Apple plans to release a "WatchKit" development tool that will afford third-party developers more control over how their iOS apps interact with the Watch, which has some limited input options -- Cook demonstrated by scrolling through apps using the Watch's rotating crown, as well as tapping and swiping on the device's pressure-sensitive screen. The device also sports a range of sensors, including an accelerometer and a heartbeat monitor.
While the field of wearable game design is nascent, it's far from unexplored territory -- developers like Will Luton have already begun exploring the constraints of smartwatch game design
with simple games like Pebble Miner