April 27, 2015
The Apple Watch, which was released last Thursday, has for months endured its fair share speculation and skepticism. Obviously, since the screen is the size of an average watch face, it comes with some limitations as far as apps and capability. There's only so much that tiny screen can do. Despite these obstacles, iOS developers are stepping up to the challenge. There are already over 2,000 Apple Watch apps available in the App Store; most of them are adaptations of other iOS apps, but a few have been created exclusively for the Apple Watch.
We took the time to look over the first generation of watch apps and cherry picked ten interesting ones out of the madness to introduce here. Some of these apps may determine whether the Apple Watch sees a slow burn in popularity, or ultimately crashes and dies.
Grub Hub's Seamless App – This is basically a scaled down version of their iPhone app. According to GrubHub's Chief Technology Officer, Brian Lanier, “With roughly half of all orders coming in through mobile devices, the Seamless App for Apple Watch allows us to expand our on-the-go offerings, making it even easier for diners to order their next great meal and check the status of their orders, whenever, wherever.” May be helpful if you order the same things from the same places all of the time, since you can just tap the “reorder” button, but might be less useful if you need to scroll through a menu to find what you want to order.
HotelTonight – This app started as a Hotel Tonight Hackathon project. It is described as a “distilled HotelTonight experience” with most of the capabilities as the full-sized mobile app. This app allows you to view nearby hotels, use the Apple Watch Map app to find it, and view details of existing bookings.
Zillow – Much like the regular Zillow app, the Apple Watch version will allow you to check out estimated home prices, browse nearby homes for sale wherever you happen to be, and see the latest listings that pop up in your saved searches. If you're actively searching for a new home, I could see the benefit of having notifications immediately visible on your wrist.
Weaver – Weaver, previously available on iOS is an app designed to help solve the problem of texting confusion. “Weaver knows where you are in a conversation — conveniently predicting possible replies as a series of message cards with text and images.” The images help set the mood of a text, so it's not just read as a wall of words. They also boast a Pixar veteran on their design team.
Polyglot – This is a popular translation app that uses voice recognition through Siri to translate messages into over 50 languages including Klingon. Having this tool on your wrist could be very useful for those who travel often, easing the frustration of having to translate requests and needs into other languages, which could lead to confusion and misunderstanding.
Cufflink – This is the first browser designed specifically for the Apple Watch which was not designed with a native browser. The idea of it is to bring the browser back to basic essential information. A search starts with Siri, by speaking your search request into the watch. For a more detailed description of Cufflink, go here.
Nike+ Running – Fitness tracking apps will probably be among the most popular apps to have on your wrist. There's a reason most heart rate monitors come with a watch. Working out while wearing some kind of tracking device on your arm is becoming more and more common. The Nike+ Running app allows users to connect with Nike's global running community as well as log distance and run duration right on their wrist.
Mayo Clinic Synthesis – This is an app for both physicians and patients where they can communicate, track progress, and update appointments. Patients can use it to keep track of their appointments along with location, date, time, and type of appointment. Physicians can use it to see that day's appointment lists, basic demographics of the patient, patient status, and reason for the visit.
Evernote – This popular workspace and note saving app might seem like an interesting choice for the limited Apple Watch screen, and while it will have some limitations from the full iPhone and iPad versions, it could still be a beneficial app to have on your Watch. According to Evernote's vice president of mobile products Jamie Hull, “The app is going to surface your most relevant notes based on calendar entries, location data and your own note access information.” You can also dictate notes into the Apple Watch, and they will be transcribed and synced to Evernote.
Shazam – This is one of the more useful Apple Watch apps I've come across. We all love Shazam for its ability to give you the name and artist of a song within seconds, but most of the wasted time comes from having to dig out your phone, unlock it, fumble around to find the app, and then of course the song ends by the time you've completed those steps. Having the app right on your wrist could make it easier to discover songs, and decrease the likelihood of missing that one song from who could have been your next favorite artist.
Image Credit: Apple Watch
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