Philly-Area Developer Bets Big on Apple Watch

Meet Det Ansinn, who’s creating apps for Apple's newest platform.

Det Ansinn (left) and Daniel Wood of Brick Simple are developing apps for the Apple Watch.

Det Ansinn (left) and Daniel Wood of Brick Simple are developing apps for the Apple Watch.

Will the Apple Watch be a game-changing success or a grand flop? Is it the next yo-yo or the next Arch Deluxe?

Det Ansinn is betting big on the highly anticipated wearable device. The president and founder of Brick Simple in Doylestown, Pa., Ansinn is developing several Apple Watch apps and seems sold on its place in mainstream America. (In fact, he’s the only local developer I could find who’s creating apps specifically for the device.)

The big draw of the Apple Watch may be its ability to keep people from staring at their phones all day. Instead of the “phone out, head down” posture we’re used to, people will presumably just glance at their watches to read a text, email or notification. Sure, apps are connected to the iPhone, but without phone-in-hand, people are less likely to start doing other, unrelated tasks like checking Instagram or looking at photos — meaning more time in the real world. (What a concept huh?)

“How many times have you been out dining and you see two people both holding their phones?” he said. “We are so buried in these devices. The ability to raise your eyes and be part of the world is something people are ready to embrace.”

Ansinn recently traveled to California to visit with Apple and work on the hardware before it was made available to the public. (He’s been sworn to secrecy regarding those interactions.)

One app Brick Simple is creating is in partnership with Adherent Health (a Doylestown-based health/tech company.) It allows people to track their heart rate and physical activity — and Ansinn hopes it will be widely used by people with health problems. Rather than a patient telling a doctor that they are consistenly walking three miles per day, they can actually prove it with the app. Ansinn calls it ideal for heart patients.

Another is called Time Travelers, and is a “competitive wearable experience” that allows users to compete with one another to find the best travel routes — perhaps the best way around Epcot Center at Disney World or the most expedited route around the local Whole Foods store. It’s also free.

Developing for the Apple Watch is quite a challenge. Gone are the days of making an app that functions like a web page or purposely sucks a user in. Now, it’s all about “developing for a glance.”

“It’s very difficult to create deep experiences on these devices,” said Ansinn, “Holding your arm out for 15 to 20 seconds is not terribly comfortable.”

Ansinn has been wearing a smartwatch long before the Apple Watch was a twinkle in Tim Cook’s eye. In fact, he wears a Pebble everyday. He argues that the Apple Watch validates the marketplace, and predicts that Samsung Gear, Android Wear and Pebble should see serious sales boosts in the near future. (He’s got a point, there were touchscreen computers before the iPad, but who noticed?)

“It’s a ‘rising tides lift all boats’ scenario,” he said. “By this time next year, you’re going to see smart watches on a lot of people’s wrists.”

He’s better hope so — he’s banking on it.