We’re not there quite yet (the Apple Watch won’t even be available until April), but one developer has already created a working concept app that shows how you might soon remote-control a Tesla from your wrist.
Created by Ukraine-based developer Eleks, the prototype app shows how a user might be able to control some of the basic functions of a Tesla Model S from the touchscreen of the Apple Watch.
“[F]or simplification of prototyping we used an unofficial mocked-up Tesla back-end API, which is a reverse-engineered JSON API of the real Tesla API,” Eleks’ Markiyan Matsekh told Mashable. “We skipped the authentication module and just used the API.
“So to run the app on a real Tesla we only need to add authentication and redirect it to the real backend.”
Eleks used Apple’s WatchKit, which allows developers to create third-party apps for the forthcoming wearable device, to put together a Tesla-friendly app for the wearable device. But the company also says it found the WatchKit has serious limitations — including no access to the Apple Watch accelerometer and gyroscope, no access to the Taptic Engine and no access to the device’s built-in speaker or microphone.
On the project page for the app, the team voiced its frustrations with the limited functions: “We can now confidently say that creating anything really necessary and fully functional for Apple Watch with the current SDK version is very, very difficult, and many of the things promised at launch that were perfect for some business ideas are not at all available yet.”
Limitations aside, some of the rudimentary functions shown on the Apple Watch app for Tesla are exciting for owners — including the ability to lock and unlock the car, turn on its headlights and monitor its temperature, mileage and battery life.
“At first, the app was intended to be a demo of what the Apple Watch is capable of when designing apps for brands,” says Matsekh, “But after such a reaction from both Apple Watch and Tesla aficionados we’ll definitely consider publishing it.
“The issue we see at the moment is that Tesla owners already have an iPhone app.”
Regardless of whether this concept ever turns into a real product or not, Eleks has shown us another area the Apple Watch could disrupt. If the Apple Watch (and the mobile apps associated with it) turns out to be a hit, it could put a dent in the usefulness of system’s like Apple’s own CarPlay before the system has even had a chance to reach most cars.
Either way, Apple wins.
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