Apps -- is there really any point?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by profmatt, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. profmatt macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2015
    [Dear Moderators: Please don't move this to the apps sub-forum where no-one will ever see it. I'm hoping for a wider discussion amongst the Apple Watch community.]

    Having had my Apple Watch for six months now, I've settled down into a pattern of usage. Mostly, I use the device as a, er, watch. I barely use any apps, not even the built-in ones, because they're just too slow. It's easier to get my iPhone out.

    Do you use any apps regularly? Do you find them productive? And not annoying?!
  2. meikdunj macrumors regular

    May 21, 2015
    Having had mine for 6 months the novelty has definitely worn off! I do wear it everyday though for time checking and message / email notifications. Apps as you say are too slow to be useful. Hopefully that changes with Watch 2.
  3. profmatt thread starter macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2015
    Maybe it will, but I can't see myself buying the Watch 2. I've already invested a tonne of cash in the first watch and strap. If the Watch 2 is compatible with the existing strap, and the resale value of the original Watch is reasonable I might consider trading up. But I'd need to be convinced about the whole concept of apps on a watch when my phone is in my pocket and easily accessible. I'm just too used to taking the phone out. It's really not a great burden.

    And I'm happy with the current watch, despite its flaws.
  4. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    I think that people need to find their own uses cases for the Apple Watch. There is definitely a "novelty effect" that causes you to try and use more apps at the beginning. Ones that are slow I don't use, but there are still quite a few that I do... built in or otherwise... here are my bigger hitters:

    - Time & Date (I wore a watch before)
    - Temperature
    - Messaging
    - Receiving calls (I often don't feel my phone vibrate)
    - Carrot weather
    - Music player controller
    - World clock (more when traveling internationally, but still use it sometimes when not)
    - Workout/run tracking
    - Shazam
    - ESPN & MLB News (tailored to my teams)
    - Fox News (headlines)
    - Bible (verse of the day)
    - Siri

    There are several others I swap in or out if I'm traveling, but the ones above all perform well for me and I find practical use vs. taking out my 6s Plus. If it only did messaging and phone notifications then I would be happy with it, because that was the main reason I bought it.
  5. testcard macrumors 68040


    Apr 13, 2009
    Northumbria, UK
    I use apps rarely, but I do use Glances, Complications and Notifications constantly.
  6. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I find most watch apps to be underwhelming. So far I've installed a half dozen or so and only one of the ones I picked offer complications that can show through on any watch faces. I searched for "complications" in the AW app store and found "watch my health" which is the only free app I thought offered something useful. I now have my steps on my watch face where battery life used to be.

    None of my running apps are capable of locking the screen. Only workout locks the screen and it is sorely lacking for the kind of fitness tracking I need. I do like Pcalc, Delta airlines' app. I've used my AW to pass TSA and board an international flight on both the outbound and return legs so I know it works. Of course I could import the boarding pass into wallet and show it that way but I'd rather use Delta's app so a change in flight doesn't involve another boarding pass import ritual.

    So I would say yes there is a point to apps but they are in their infancy and can only get better.
  7. iPhysicist macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2009
    I use it as a watch too. The I love to use the workout app of running and cycling. I also use messages and like to respond with Siri- input. Sometimes twice, because Siri does not want me to undo speech input - Apple LISTEN: make shaking gesture as you do with the phone for undoing input!. Then I like to use bring! and the DB (Deutsche Bahn) App. Weather, of course I use even more often. Calendars comes in handy as well. Also I like to use the Timer and Alarm function. Music and the remote App are nice too. We could go on and on and on. Did I mention Maps? I think I use the watch as a whole. Sometimes its slow. Sometimes Siri bugs. But over all I love it and use it. Id love to see the Apple Apps advance with time and the watch to be more predictable in terms of input recognition.
  8. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    Actually, all that I listed was just that. I considered that under the umbrella "Apps" because you don't get them without the Apps being installed.
  9. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    Cape Cod
    I'm still quite happy with it. I use it for the usual time / temperature / sunset / moon phase / S&P 500 index (all displayed on the home screen). I'm still using Lark and the Activity app to great effect (down 60 pounds). My other big uses are answering phone calls and ApplePay. It's working very well for me.
  10. Mascots macrumors 68000


    Sep 5, 2009
    If an app is useful and deep linked, either via a complication or a glance, I'll use it more often.

    If not, I sparingly flip to the app screen and select them unless I want specific information. I'm pretty sure that's the type of usage they were expecting, though, since they suggest anticipating just a couple of seconds of interaction on apps and taking into account travel, that leaves not much.
  11. ra4oasis macrumors 6502


    Jul 10, 2010
    I use mine for...

    -Telling time
    -Fitness tracking (running, row machine, stair machine, so on and so forth)
    -ESPN score tracking
    -Seeing/replying to texts/iMessages
    -Email notifications
    -The Remote app, to control music in my home
    -Controlling music while listening to my iPhone
    -Weather alerts (Dark Sky)
    -Shopping lists (Buy me a Pie)
    -Tip calculator (Calcbot)
    -ApplePay (using it more and more for this, which I love)
    -Timers while cooking/working out

    Those are the things I do, most of them every day, others, at least several times per week. Yes I could get my iPhone out to do any of these, but, sometimes that isn't the most convenient thing to do, like while driving or working out (iPhone is typically in an arm band, so using it is difficult).
  12. JamerG macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2015
    I think it's the complications and glances side of apps that is the useful bit. Despite finding it annoying not to have the screen on all the time (which makes the Apple Watch worse as a timepiece than, you know, a watch) I am now very used to being able to see calendar entries, the activity rings, weather (via Carrot weather, which is great) etc just by rotating my wrist. I also like using the Apple Music glance a lot - a much easier way of changing what you're listening to or the volume (particularly on the move) than getting the phone out.

    The other really great aspects of the watch are, I think, getting notifications on the wrist, setting reminders via Siri on it (which I probably wouldn't bother getting my phone out to do, thinking I'd remember, and then forget) and Apple Pay. The latter really is fantastic, and available nearly everywhere I shop in the UK now.

    Third party apps definitely need work (particularly the running ones - I use Nike+ running every other day, but it's still frustratingly buggy and laggy), but I can still see the potential...
  13. artfossil macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2015
    In addition to the Apple apps (Calendar, Messages, Timer, Activity Tracker, Phone, Apple Pay and the music controller, whatever it's called) I could not live without

    Clear (to do and shopping lists)
    MLB AtBat

    Also love Just Press Record but don't use it multiple times per day like the others.
  14. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    Technically, I suppose everything the watch does is an "app".

    Put yourself in the developers' shoes. Take a look at the iPhone apps you use and think about how they would be useful on the watch -- or whether they'd even be useful at all.

    I still use mine for almost all the functions described so far.
  15. Armen macrumors 604


    Apr 30, 2013
    I don't use apps and I'm completely content with the Apple watch without it. Of course 3rd party complications require an app to be installed so that's the only time I actually have a 3rd party app installed. Agree on the slowness.
  16. zetaplus93 macrumors regular

    May 7, 2015
    If the apps were faster to load/run and updated more frequently as complications, I'd use more of them.

    In addition to the above functionalities, I'd like a nice interval timer app. Great for presentations where, for example, I'd know that another 5min has passed with silent taps on the wrists.
  17. viperGTS macrumors 68000

    Nov 15, 2010
    Are apps still slow to launch even with watchOS 2? That's the impression I'm getting from this thread...
  18. rowdt1 macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2015
    The Netherlands
    Yes. They are still incredibly slow. Nothing much has changed, unfortunately.
  19. CobraPA macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2011
    Lansdale, PA, USA
    Looks neat. The author mentions health data is not available when the phone is locked... do you leave your iPhone unlocked so the steps will update on the watch? (And do they?)
  20. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    These are the apps I use regularly:

    Stock Apps
    1) Workout
    2) Maps (brilliant for when you're walking in a new place to get directions on your wrist)
    3) Music
    4) Timer
    5) Stopwatch
    6) Messages

    3rd Party Apps
    1) Trainline
    2) Facebook Messenger
    3) Dark Sky

    I personally think devs are still struggling to come up with decent watch focused apps
  21. viperGTS macrumors 68000

    Nov 15, 2010
    Bummer. :/
  22. Carmenia83 macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2012
    I use mine mostly for time, temperature, and dismissing fitness reminders.
  23. douglasf13 macrumors 65816

    Jul 2, 2010
    I essentially only use native apps, and it's mostly just weather, email and texts, but those are the reasons I bought the watch in the first place. Any time intensive or more powerful app would persuade me to get out my phone, anyways.
  24. barjam macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2010
    This isn't universally true, some apps are very fast to launch which leads me to believe some dev don't take the time to optimize for the platform.
  25. sean000 macrumors 65832


    Jul 16, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    Yes... I have had mine for 5 months now and the ones I use every day are:
    • Fantastical 2 for calendar (displays multiple Google and Exchange/Office 365 calendars)
    • Carrot Weather
    • Due for Reminders
    • Activity Rings
    I rarely have any trouble with any of these being slow to update. It's always faster to check my calendar or the weather on the watch for example. I just glance at the complications and tap the complication to launch the watch app when I want more detail.

    I have certainly had issues with some apps being slow or unreliable, but there are some really good ones out there if you read the reviews. I have a few others I use less frequently, but still like: Bring for groceries I use almost every day. I use the native workout app. I use "Hey Siri" to text my wife, set a timer or to set a reminder or calendar appointment when my hands are full.

    I don't think I will ever feel the need to load up my watch with lots of apps... just a few apps offer the information I really need at a glance.


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