The latest watchOS 4.3.1 beta points to Apple soon stopping support for watchOS apps that are still based on the watchOS 1 Watchkit. Opening any old watchOS app on the latest beta of watchOS shows a notification about the app not working with future versions of the OS.
Apple has already ditched support for older apps with iOS 11, with the company phasing out 32-bit Mac apps from the App Store from the beginning of this year. Thus, it was only a matter of time before Apple started dropping support for older watchOS apps as well.
Apple stopped accepting watchOS 1 based applications from last week itself. If the timeframe is anything to go by, Apple will entirely drop support for watchOS 1 apps with the release of watchOS 5 later this year.
watchOS apps based on the original version of WatchKit rely solely on Bluetooth for connection to your iPhone and offered poor performance as well. Apple fixed this issue in watchOS 2 and since then the performance of watchOS apps have only improved with continuous improvements from Apple’s part.
However, many developers of popular watchOS apps never got around to updating their apps to the latest version of WatchKit to enjoy these performance improvements likely due to low adoption of Apple Watch among users. The low adoption means that developers are not able to recover their development cost which is why they have avoided updating their watchOS apps so far.
Many high profile companies have already given up on their watchOS apps including Slack and Instagram. This is despite Apple Watch as a platform making rapid improvements in almost all major aspects, including performance and battery. Even sales of Apple Watch have been growing considerably, with the Apple reporting record Apple Watch shipments every new quarter.[Via 9to5Mac]