For WatchKit extensions, I’ve used the parallell of puppeteering: the app makes the extension do things, but the extension itself has close to little logic. Others use the parallell of the browser, and I do like this. Like the browse, the iPhone serves up state in a context upon a remote screen, the app can project state in a context upon a extension (remote view controller).
Continuing on yesterdays post with the idea that hosting extensions (I really prefer the name remote view controllers like we saw in iOS 6) is something that can be opened up, let’s take it to the extreme and say it was proposed as an open standard, much like HTTP. All the sudden, this could become the new browser, allowing any app to project their content into it.
That would be absolutely awesome! Think about it all the opportunities for device integrations! That could possibly allow me to treat a 5K iMac as a dumb terminal, having all my personal information, documents and state on my phone, and interact with it through a beautiful desktop experience. No compromises, all integration! At the same time, you’d have the Apple Watch integration, with extensions being able to run of the same iMac integrating with it when they are near. Having third parties such as keyboard makers being able to integrate a little screen, or Google Glass taking it to the next level, even having other platforms participate together, making for a seemless integration. This would be a dream of devices coming together, much like we experienced it when having disks formatted for Mac, Amiga or PC was no longer a thing. Data was just data. Now state in a context can be state across a shared context, optimized for the best interaction on each device.
Having thought that thought now, please Apple, propose extensions as an open standard. This would make our devices so much more integrated, redusing hassle and really delighting. Would this be a competetive advantage for Apple? I’d argue yes. Sure, not for people like me who get the whole stack already, but for people like my mother who has a PC, an Android phone and an iPad. She’d have such an amazing upgrade of her experience, that I’m sure she’d be much more likely to buy again from Apple if she didn’t have to consider what ecosystem her new device would integrate with and what system it would not.