Sure, many new Apple Watch owners will hurry to download apps from Facebook, Twitter (the 140-character paradigm might lend itself nicely), Google Maps, Pinterest, etc. But hundreds of smaller, lesser-known app developers around the world have been working furiously over the past months to give the world the first truly killer apps for the Watch.
We picked out a few apps that may have a shot at that distinction. The below apps will, at any rate, help new Watch owners get a feel for the usefulness of the new device.
OK, what’s with that name? It means “too long, didn’t read,” and that’s the exact email problem the app seeks to fix. The app clips out the first line from your important emails and turns them into something like posts in a social media newsfeed.
These little snippets will be perfect for the limited screen real estate on the Watch, and just right for quick glances down at the wrist. If you see a note that requires a quick response, you can quickly dictate a reply, or you can just “like” it.
One thing we’ve already heard people say—people who have already used the Watch—is that they spend surprisingly less time on their phones when wearing the Watch. The Watch’s autonomy from the phone is key, and apps like Glimpse bring this quality into sharp relief.
Glimpse lets you choose a small part of a webpage you view on your phone, then save it to the Watch where you can monitor it as it changes. You can imagine choosing the part of a page that updates movie schedules or news headlines. But users will very likely get more creative than that.
Austin, Texas-based Zello has reportedly been hard at work on its Watch app, and the walkie-talkie app might shine especially brightly on the wrist, Dick Tracy style. The app allows users to connect for real-time voice chats, and keeps an archive of all conversations. At least during the time when Apple has yet to enable video chatting by installing a camera on the Watch, Zello should work nicely for quick, impulsive voice convos (when the camera arrives, the Glide app will be just the thing).
The Zello app, we expect, will communicate with other Watch users or with friends using Zello on a smartphone. The Zello app will rely on the Wi-Fi or cellular service of the paired iPhone to communicate.
If anybody will get the “keep it simple” and “stay out of the way” design intent of the Watch, it’s Doist, the people behind Todoist. The app gives you a complete task manager for the day, and lets you use the Watch’s microphone to dictate notes and assign statuses to tasks.
In general, the app pulls in Google Maps and all kinds of public transportation timelines to give you directions to wherever you want to go in the city by bus, train, bicycle, or by your own two feet. For public transportation and taxis it’ll tell you the cost. The Watch app will make use of the haptic feedback engine in the Watch to tap your wrist at important times, like when you’re on the bus and your stop is coming up.
Waterminder is a super simple app that helps you do something very basic and very important to your health and well-being: drink water. The app keeps track of your water during the day, gives you your current hydration levels, and, most importantly, puts you on a hydration schedule and reminds you when it’s time to rehydrate.
Keep in mind that the magic of Apple Watch apps will be limited at first. Apple is not allowing apps to access APIs for key parts of the Watch, like the NFC chip. The apps are actually “extensions” of the developer’s existing iPhone app, and many will still rely heavily on the phone for certain functions.
As thousands and then millions of Watches start to be used out in the wild, people will begin to understand how the new gadget will fit into the doings of everyday life. Then we’re sure to see a lot more cool apps that fully exploit the Watch’s size, placement, and features.
Hat tip to WatchAware for the Watch app mock-ups used in this story.