Select Apple Watch developers including Facebook and United Airlines are building new apps for the upcoming wearable in a top secret Apple lab where they can get their hands on the device ahead of its official debut, Bloomberg reports.
The vast majority must make do with the Apple Watch simulator built into the WatchKit SDK, but others have reportedly spent “several weeks” in a secret lab on Apple’s Cupertino campus that allows them to test their apps on the device itself.
According to people familiar with the matter who have been speaking to Bloomberg, those invited to the lab must adhere to extremely strict Apple rules while they are there. Internet access is blocked inside the rooms, which may be shared by multiple companies, and no outside materials can be brought in.
Developers can’t even take in a notebook and pen, let alone a smartphone. And if they need to bring in source code to work on, it has to be on a hard drive that must then be left at Apple’s headquarters when they leave.
Of course, all of this is to prevent information from leaking out, but it seems a little excessive for a device that has already been unveiled to the public. What that in mind, it almost certainly proves there are still features Apple is yet to show us.
Some of the apps being developed in Apple’s lab are expected to be demonstrated on stage at the company’s Spring Forward event on March 9, which is when we expect to get a specific release date and more details on the device’s price structure.
According to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, Apple Watch is expected to sell almost 14 million units during its first quarter alone. Over the course of 2015, it could grab as much as 55% of global smartwatch sales, which are expected to reach 28.1 million units.