Apple Watch: How apps could help make or break the new wearable

Apple has a vast apps store, but those looking to pay hundreds of thousands will definitely want something exceptional.

Be it a smartphone or smartwatch, these days we are often looking at what apps a device can support. This is one reason why Google has been trying to increase the list of apps its Wear devices run. Apple has a vast apps store, but those looking to pay hundreds of thousands will definitely want something exceptional. Unless, some owners want to use it only as a timepiece.

Talking about apps accompanying the Watch, let's begin with the Apple Watch app itself. Yes, once you download the new iOS 8.2 version, you will find an Apple Watch app pushed onto your homescreen showing demo videos. Basically, compelling you to buy one, a great way of advertising the product, we must say. Want to get rid of it? No, you can't.

"For now, the Apple Watch app entices consumers with product videos, but it's not hard to imagine an update down the line that lets the app notify you every 30 seconds that it's time to just cave, buy the watch and live in the future already. Like Stocks, Calendar, Contacts and other Apple-made apps on iOS, the new Apple Watch app can't be deleted from your iPhone," points out Cnet.


Moving to what the wearable has to offer, it comes with some familiar apps like Mail, Messages and Maps, which the company claims to work in newer ways. Apple also says that some apps become even more convenient on the wrist such as Siri, Music and Passbook. Using the Apple Watch, one can pay for coffee using Apple Pay, you can board a plane with a Passbook boarding pass, or just raise your wrist to ask Siri for turn-by-turn directions in Maps.

All these apps have been built into the device along with some completely new apps like Activity, Workout and Camera Remote. For health and fitness, it comes with the Activity app that gives simple visual snapshot of your daily activity with three rings that measure active calories burned, brisk activity and how often you stand or take a break. Using the Workout app, it also provides detailed metrics required during workout sessions for activities like walking, running and cycling. It supports accelerometer, built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from the iPhone. The Activity app on iPhone collects your activity and workout data from Apple Watch and uses this history to suggest personalized activity goals. The Camera Remote turns the Apple Watch into a viewfinder for the iSight camera on your iPhone.

It also supports a list of popular third-party apps including Instagram, Facebook, Nike+ Running, OpenTable, Shazam, Twitter, WeChat and more. It already has apps for airlines, department stores, social networks that take advantage of the unique opportunities the wrist brings, promising more apps being built almost everyday. The company had demonstrated how some apps will work. For instance, You can scroll up and down through your Instagram feed using the watch’s digital crown while tapping on a photo will display more information.

The fitness app on the Apple Watch

The fitness app on the Apple Watch

If you look at the list of apps, there isn't anything exceptional. The focus seems distracted on how the apps will be accessed using the crown or single taps. Simply putting it, Apple should focus on action rather than apps

Now, some may disagree arguing how much time would one spend accessing an app on a small screen, especially when we are vying for large screen devices like phablets. Yes, that's true. The Watch can be called a luxury fitness device that will keep you in touch with some alerts and notifications while workout. However, taking it beyond these activities is something Apple will have to focuss on. Developers will have to try hard and justify their apps on the small screen. Using an app on the watch will be more about the surrounding where you can conveniently access it without the need for your smartphone. Otherwise, it isn't really very hard to pull out your smartphone from the pocket and get distracted for a longer time without the need to reach out to the watch.

A Wired report rightly points out, "Yesterday, I used Yo (yes, that Yo) to help me remember where I parked my car—tap twice to set the location, once to retrieve it. The execution wasn’t perfect, but it helped me to understand when the screen on my wrist might actually be useful. Instead of dithering with an app on my phone while I’m standing on a street corner, I could mash one button to make a complicated thing happen out in the world."

So, if the Watch can target such apps and manage to deliver this kind of usefulness and interaction, it could work wonders for the wearable device. Why would I like to see photos on a small screen when I can simply view them on my smartphone? The Watch has to bring convenience and that should be limited to some gestures or rotating the digital crown. Moreover, developers will have to remember, that monetizing is difficult on smartphones and it will be more difficult on the Watch.

"If ads are tough on small smartphone screens, they’re even tougher on smaller smartwatch screens. And that’s to say nothing of the 10-second time limit Apple suggests for any Watch-based interaction—not enough time to sell anything. In the meantime, the Watch creates one more reason not to engage directly with apps on the phone at all," adds the report.

Apps could rather help make or break the Apple Watch. What do you think?

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