After just a week, over 3500 apps are already optimized and available for Apple Watch.
That's a pretty incredible number, and one that will no doubt continue growing rapidly. I've only had my Apple Watch for a week so far and I'm quickly realizing that not all Watch apps are created equal. While I expected Apple's smartwatch to change my usage habits, I didn't expect it to make me completely rethink what apps I used and depended on regularly — but here I am.
New app angles
One of my main reasons for wanting an Apple Watch was to help me stay on track with losing weight. Since May of last year, I've dropped almost three pant sizes and 50 pounds, and while fitness trackers and several different apps have helped along the way, I've always had trouble finding convenient apps to use during a workout. (By that, I mean that I don't want them interrupting a workout or slowing me down.)
The newly found freedom Lifesum offers on my wrist made the switch from MyFitnessPal a no brainer for me.
Prior to Apple Watch, I depended on Fitness Buddy to create new workouts, look up exercises, and time them as I performed them at the gym. It worked, but I had to have my iPhone out and on the mat next to me while going through my exercise list so I could interact with it and move on to the next exercise; this still left a lot to be desired.
When I got my Apple Watch, I found Timers, which allows me to plug in my workouts on my iPhone and access them through the Apple Watch. I now have all my exercises, sets, and reps right on my wrist. While I still use Fitness Buddy to discover new exercises, Timers has allowed me to untether myself from my iPhone during my workout, and that's huge.
A second chance at home screen dominance
I've also started re-downloading apps like Lifesum. I'd previously passed it up in favor of MyFitnessPal; however, Lifesum's Apple Watch extension is easy to use and lets me log meals right on my wrist. MyFitnessPal, in contrast, only lets me view daily remaining calories and a few other stats. I'm not religious about tracking meals — I just want to remain conscious of what I'm eating, and Lifesum makes that stupidly simple, thanks to the Apple Watch. The newly found freedom Lifesum offers on my wrist made the switch from MyFitnessPal a no brainer for me.
I wear an Apple Watch because I want to spend more time interacting with the humans around me and less time engrossed in my iPhone.
My attitude towards apps on the Apple Watch hasn't been restricted to fitness and health, either. Yahoo Weather has become my go-to Apple Watch weather checker — but I almost never use the app on my iPhone. That's because Yahoo managed to create something truly beautiful that shows me what I need without slowing me down. None of my other weather apps have managed to do the same — at least not yet. They all seem focused on cramming as much on the screen as possible, which means I have to spend more time searching and scrolling for what I want to see. At that point, why not just pull out my iPhone?
Will I launch Yahoo Weather on my iPhone any more often than I used to? Probably not. But I'll launch it on my Apple Watch every time I want to see current and impending weather conditions. When I need more detailed weather info, I'll still use Dark Sky on my iPhone. But it's a great example of how developers can use the Watch as leverage.
A unique experience
We are going to interact with the Apple Watch apps in a very different way than we do with apps on our iPhones. Ben Bajarin recently wrote a great piece on his first week with the Apple Watch and touched on a point that couldn't be more true:
"A PC is for when we have a few hours. Our smartphones are for when we have a few minutes. Our smartwatch is for when we have a few seconds. Each device, and the software and experience built for it, should help us maximize those hours, minutes, and seconds." - Ben Bajarin
Developers have some hard decisions ahead of them in terms of stripping down apps and figuring out what belongs on the Watch and what is better left for the iPhone and iPad. With that challenge, however, comes tremendous opportunity. My switch from MyFitnessPal to Lifesum is a perfect example of how convenience and a better experience can (and will) win over users.
If you built a great app for iPhone, that doesn't mean it will translate well to the Watch — at least, not in its current form. I wear an Apple Watch because I want to spend more time interacting with the humans around me and less time engrossed with my iPhone. I enjoy a good game of Candy Crush or Crossy Road just as much as the next person, but there's a time and place for it.
I want the Apple Watch to quickly help me triage only the most important parts of my day so that I can leave the rest for later. That's why the Watch experience will quickly become a purchase factor for many — and developers who rise to that challenge will be very glad they did.