Apple Watch’s Standard Apps
Monday, March 9, Apple revealed final small details about the upcoming flagship device, Apple Watch. The countdown is running to April 10, when preorders will be taken and the Watch will appear in local Apple retail stores to try on. However, a long two week wait for April 24 will keep people anxious to have one of their own.
In the meantime, enthusiasts spend time scrambling over blogs and podcasts trying to completely understand the Watch, prior to deciding to buy. Of course Apple Watch keeps time, but the other extended features make it a smart watch. It is the extra apps making or breaking the purchase of a generation one device. The Watch will come with a stock set of applications that mainly rely on iPhone 5 (or higher) to operate. Step one, own an iPhone. Step two, determine if the current app offering is worth spending at least $349 to access.
The Apple Watch will come stock with a standard set of applications, similar to iOS. Many of the apps will be completely familiar to users and some new additions will be learned. First, staying in communication is possible with Messages, Phone, and Mail. These will operate almost the same way as iPhone, but smaller condensed versions. It will be possible to completely communicate through the watch for these tasks, as long as dictating your correspondence is acceptable for Messages and Mail.
Stocks, Calendar, Photos, and Passbook will operate almost the same way as iPhone. Calendar will be able to show you a month and day view, but also immediately upcoming appointments in a list. Stocks will show live views of selected investments and provide Day, Week, Month, and 6 month views in a graph. Photos may be stored directly on the device by favoriting images on iPhone. Scrolling through albums is made simple with the Digital Crown. Passbook syncs to the Passbook iPhone application and will store loyalty cards, boarding passes and, assumedly, your Apple Pay information. Apple Pay on Apple Watch will provide users tap-to-pay ability, just like iPhone but without needing to drag your larger device from a pocket or handbag.
Activity and Workout are getting a lot of attention from Apple, seen above. As many wearable devices are focused solely on activity tracking, these two apps are hoping to fill the void of a device like FitBit. Activity gives a quick shot look at movement, exercise, and standing. The app will even tap you for sitting too long. Workout allows you to choose a specific activity and track the progress. Just keep in mind, any distance tracking is still believed to be linked inherently to the iPhone GPS system.
Maps will provide a thumbnail image of your current location and provide directions to a specific address. Conveniently, Apple Watch will give tap commands, with Left or Right implications, to get you where you are headed, without even looking at the screen. Once you get to your location, use the Camera Remote application as a shutter click for iPhone. You can set iPhone down, walk away from it and remotely view from your Watch to snap the picture. And, speaking of remote, the Remote app will allow control of networked Apple devices, like an Apple TV or iMac iTunes library. However, you won’t need to connect to shared music, if you choose to locally store music on Apple Watch with the Music app.
Finally, you will of course have access to Weather and standard clock features, like Alarm, Stopwatch, Timer, and World Clock. However, on Apple Watch, all clocking features are in separate apps.
Siri will be on board to make using any applications easier and will be the key input option for anything that requires typing. There is no keyboard to be found. Consequently, email replies and messaging, for example, will rely on dictation or prepopulated responses that are similar to the iOS 8 predictive response keyboard.
While Apple Watch will offer fitness tracking capabilities, it appears the main function of the Watch will be communication and a second screen for iPhone. Only once the device is in the wild for about a month, will the true value, or not, of Apple Watch be apparent. A combination of stock applications and newly arriving third party apps will be able to shape the device’s future.