watchOS 9 CallKit API
If you have been around Pocketnow in the last month, you might have come across my article about how I wanted to move back to my Apple Watch after trying the Galaxy Watch 4 for a couple of weeks. Well, the move wasn’t because of a difference in health and wellness tracking but because of how much better Apple’s wearable is at being smarter. And with the upcoming watchOS 9 update, Apple looks likely to increase this lead further.
In this article, we explore the extension of the CallKit API to the Apple Watch and see how it stands to improve the user experience.
What is CallKit?
Before we delve into the what-ifs of bringing CallKit API to the Apple Watch, what is this piece of software anyway? First introduced with iOS 10 in 2016, the CallKit API is a construct that allows developers to integrate the calling features (VoIP) offered by their application into the iPhone’s native UI.
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This means calls from third-party applications will use the same interface as the default iPhone Phone App and tie seamlessly into other features like Do Not Disturb.
Some features enabled by CallKit are:
- Ability to place VoIP calls via the Phone App.
- Access call details for VoIP calls in the Recents section of the Phone App.
What does the CallKit API unlock for Apple Watch?
In my eyes, the key to making a device like the Apple Watch a compelling purchase is to let it offer users the ability to disconnect themselves from the smartphone. And over the last few years, the wearable has done a great job at accomplishing this task!
Hence, CallKit for Apple Watch is an update I’m excited about because it will help further this “useful disconnect” by making it easier for developers to integrate their VoIP services on Apple Watch. During its WWDC 2022 Keynote, Apple showcased Webex working with the API and how active meeting calls on the platform will appear on Apple Watch using the native interface. The OEM even mentioned the ability of CallKit to allow developers to let users start, end, or mute VoIP calls. This part is the most essential.
In its current state, the only VoIP calls that can be made, finished, and interacted with on Apple Watch are those made via FaceTime Audio. The decision has left apps like Telegram, WhatsApp, and even Facebook Messenger with no way to start calls or notify users about them on the wearable.
I’ve missed many calls on my iPhone while riding my bike because sometimes my family chooses to use WhatsApp instead of a regular cellular call. The availability of CallKit puts the ball in third-party developers’ court to increase the functionality of their apps and further improve the Apple Watch.
This latest push adds to the overall connectivity of the Apple Watch with the iPhone and its applications. It was an aspect for which I showered praise on the Apple Watch in its comparison with the Galaxy Watch 4 and is what makes the wearable from Apple a compelling gadget to own.
Now, wearOS isn’t far behind Apple’s wearable, at least in terms of providing caller information. In its current state, users can receive notifications about calls from some third-party applications, but they can only choose to decline them. Though I hope with the upcoming Pixel Watch or possibly the next version of wearOS, the software platform will be able to push app developers to increase the feature set available to consumers!