Apple Watch Apps: What to expect and what not to. Part One

Nike+

As Apple Watch goes on sale tomorrow with already over 3 million devices preordered, many are still wondering what to expect from the watch in terms of the apps ecosystem. Many of the most popular iPhone apps have already developed an Apple Watch counterpart of their solutions. In this article we will go over some of these apps within Health & Fitness, Social and Finance domains and see what value we can expect them to add to the Apple Watch as a personal gadget.

Health & Fitness

Most successful smartwatches that are already on the market are fitness oriented. Within the fitness and health segment, it is still up for a debate whether the Apple Watch will be a worthy replacement for products designed specifically for this purpose. Apple Watch does have a sophisticated heart rate monitoring technology and a built in accelerometer. In combination with native activity and workout apps it does have the potential for giving us the incentive to be a little more active throughout the day. Besides helpful reminders and basic progress tracking it does not seem that the native apps will have a lot to offer in terms of facilitation of individualized workout sessions. However, there are a number of popular iPhone fitness apps that have already developed their extensions for the Apple Watch. Runners will definitely find an app that they are already familiar with and suits them best among Nike+, Runtastic and Argus. Gym goers will be able to enhance their routines with CARROT Fit and Fitlist. Yoga enthusiasts will find the Apple Watch extension for a highly popular Pocket Yoga app helps minimize the distraction the app itself creates by displaying the most important information on the wrist, eliminating the need to reach for the phone between exercises (or Asanas to be technical).

Social

runtastic

As for social apps, we seem to be getting everything we would expect on the Apple Watch. All popular social media apps will be making appearances on our wrists through push notifications, reminders and caller IDs. In some cases we will even be able to reply to messages without pulling out an iPhone by choosing from presets. Right now, the main drawback of the Apple Watch as a social tool is that it does not discriminate very well between notifications based on their importance. Thus, we’ll be getting an important work email notification, followed by a new friend request on facebook and the device will draw from us the same amount of attention in both cases. While we are getting better at resisting the urge to pull out our phones at dinner with every notification, glancing at the Apple Watch with every new like or a retweet, will surely become the next taboo of dinner etiquette, business meetings and dates. The notifications controls are not as good as they can or should be for a device whose main purpose is to enhance the way we receive information. For now, the notifications hub is similar to that of an iPhone, but we hope to see more flexibility in the future, for example being able to allow notifications only from certain people or groups across multiple social channels.

Finance & Retail

citi

Apple Pay is still ramping up across the US, signing new retailers every week. The NFC tech in the Apple Watch will surely give Apple Pay a boost, but as with iPhones, it remains unavailable for third party
apps. Nevertheless, Apple Watch still has something to offer for apps in this segments. Mobile banking apps with Apple Watch extensions, such as the already developed Citibank app, will provide users with easy access to their accounts balance, last transactions and ATM locators. eBay app will make it easier to follow auctions you are participating in and respond to outbids faster. Apps like Mint Personal Finance will help you track your expenses and meet your saving goals. At SoftTeco we expect an Apple Watch extension of mobile banking apps become a norm for most large banks in the near future.

For now, the app selection for Apple’s new gadget is rather limited. As it goes on sale and ships to consumers, there will undoubtedly be an influx of app submissions to the store. Some of them good – high quality apps, the others – not so much. But its will be up to a handful of apps to really define the Apple Watch experience and help it become the product Apple marketers and executives aspire it to be. SoftTeco is excited to be at the forefront of the movement and help its partners develop apps to be used on thousands of these truly unique and innovative devices.

In the next part of the series we will discuss navigation, entertainment and media apps for the Apple Watch.

If you would like to learn more about what to expect from Apple Watch and its apps, you might want to check out a slideshow about the WatchKit on SlideShare.