One year later, I've come to the conclusion that apps are useless

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Aluminum213, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. Aluminum213, Apr 3, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016

    Aluminum213 macrumors 68040


    Mar 16, 2012
    if the information is not on the watch face then it's useless to me as it takes WAY too long to get to it, and 99% of the time I can gather that information from the iPhone in my pocket

    Also, the Apple Watch is just so slow that apps that don't load instantly are also just a waste of time, completely defeats purpose of instant info that watches should provide

    I love my Apple Watch but besides notifications and whatever info is on the face, that is where the usefulness ends
  2. dumastudetto macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2013
    I agree. I use mine exclusively for fitness tracking, time, notifications, taking the occasional call, and even less occasionally directions. Apple Pay is very nice too. The third party app experience is not very good, and that's being kind.

    I definitely love my Apple Watch and its very much part of my routine now. When I'm not wearing it and glance towards my wrist, I smile and recognise it's become important to me.

    It'll be very interesting to see where Apple takes the watch from here.
  3. oodi macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2015
    Completely agree. Dont remember the last time I went to launch the app from app list.

    Actually I find watch useless even with notifications. It has no significance for me apart from it being an accessory. Apple needs to evolve the watch 2 significantly.
  4. friedmud, Apr 3, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016

    friedmud macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    It's funny... but I've actually "rediscovered" Apple Watch apps lately.

    One of the big things I did that totally changed how I thought about Apps was setting the Watch to Wake to Previous Activity. Somehow that transformed my Watch from being a "time telling device that ran apps" into being an "app running device that tells time". It was only recently that I changed it (like a month ago) so for the first ~9 months or so of owning the Watch I did it the other way around.

    NOW: I don't hesitate to open an app... because it's going to stay open. For instance, in the mornings I open up an App that tells me how long until my bus arrives at my bus stop. It actually refreshes itself every time I raise my wrist... so throughout the morning while I'm getting ready I can just glance at my Watch and see how much time I have left. Perfect!

    The same goes for using "Reminders Nano" for my shopping list. It will stay open the whole time I'm shopping so I can bring it up just by raising my wrist and ticking items off.

    Conversations in Messages are much better this way too... I can actually have some "back and forth" with someone.

    Having the Music App stay open is also nice. The Glance is good... but if I'm listening to Music I really just want the Music app to stay front and center.

    Weather Apps (I use _both_ Carrot and Dark Sky) are still my favorite thing to use on the Watch. I have _two_ complications on the Modular face dedicated to weather and I regularly open one or the other App to get a forecast for the day. They are both smooth and quick.

    All of that said: I definitely think the thing that holds back the Apple Watch more than anything else is still shear speed. The main reason I don't run more apps is that many of them take too damn long to load. The guys doing Carrot and Dark Sky have worked _really_ hard to make their Apps launch quickly... and it shows. Everyone else just seemingly doesn't care.

    I'll definitely be upgrading to the Apple Watch 2 when it comes out... I hope it brings some pretty significant increases in processor power...
  5. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    Still use apps myself, too.

    I haven't yet taken the leap like friedmud did, setting it to show Previous Activity on wrist raise, but I've done it when, say, I want to keep checking my grocery list.
  6. dumastudetto macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2013
    Interesting that some people love watch apps and are having a good experience with them. Gruber and Snell both said on this week's Talk Show that they didn't think apps should been available on v1 of the Apple Watch. I couldn't argue with them based on my usage, but clearly others have found a place for apps on their wrist even within the current limitations.
  7. profmatt macrumors 65832


    Mar 7, 2015
    I use my watch almost exclusively for telling the time and reading notifications. Apps, even the built in ones, are just ridiculously slow to load and I'm no longer willing to stand there staring at spinning balls indefinitely hoping something useful will actually appear on the screen.

    That being said, I have no regrets. I think it's a beautiful watch and I enjoy wearing it.
  8. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    Maybe I should add that I usually don't bother with apps unless I can keep my wrist in "reading position" comfortably -- which is usually at a desk, in bed, or sitting on the can.

    … TMI?
  9. Lockon macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2010
    Totally agree. It's so frustrating waiting for apps to load, if they do at all.
  10. CaptMarvel macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2014
    North Carolina
    I've had an Apple Watch for about a week now and for me, I don't open the apps either. I use the watch to of course see the time, and see my notifications from a glance and reply if necessary for sake of NOT having to pull my iPhone out. If I have the time to have my iPhone out, surely I'm doing everything on my iPhone, not on my wrist.

    It's just an extension of the iPhone, not an iPhone Mini. With that said, I still thoroughly enjoy the device.
  11. menace3 macrumors 6502


    Aug 13, 2008
    Seattle, WA

    I'm with you as far as rediscovering. Especially when I could not get my apps to work over the past 8 months. Now that they are, some are great. Some are not. Mostly using for the health and fitness tracking
  12. sean000 macrumors 65816


    Jul 16, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    I haven't had problems with apps loading slowly for a few updates now. Am I just lucky, patient, or am I using better apps? The ones I use the most, and usually access from complications, are Fantastical calendar and Carrot Weather. Both load and update very quickly for me. I even have Fantastical loading three Google calendars and one Office 365 calendar. It is absolutely faster and easier for me to check my calendar or the weather on my watch... especially if my iPhone is zipped up in a jacket pocket or bag/backpack. Yes I encountered long app loading times and crashes back before OS 2, but each update has improved performance. Not all apps are created equal though, so I have replaced a few slow apps with faster ones.

    I will say that I don't go to the app screen that often. I disagree with the statements that apps are useless, or that Apple should not have allowed them for the first version of the watch. The ability to run apps was a huge part of the appeal for me, but I don't need that many. I probably use half a dozen regularly and another half dozen on occasion. I use a grocery app (Bring) that I launch from the app screen. I also use Cloud Outliner quite often. I create lists or notes in outline form on my iPhone and then navigate them easily from the watch. Sometimes I load an app that shows me the tides in our area. I can control our Philips Hue lights from my watch as well.

    Many of my third party apps are not ones I open directly on the watch, but only launch or interact with when I get a notification (Due reminder app, Slack, Yammer) or when I use Siri (Yelp, setting a reminder that will be added to Due, etc.).

    It's really best not to have too many apps cluttering up the app screen, or too many glances to swipe through. If I'm not going to need an app on the watch for awhile (like a travel app), I will either move it away from my core apps or just remove it from the watch until it is needed again.

  13. meikdunj macrumors regular

    May 21, 2015
    Yep agree with OP. Love the watch for notifications and time checks. Apps at the moment are too slow to bother with. Quicker taking phone out of my pocket.
  14. goosin' macrumors member


    Sep 13, 2014
    Wow, I never thought of using the Watch in this way. This is actually a GENIUS idea! Normally I have the motion wallpapers that only showed time and date. I'd use notifications to see if I missed anything, but that's it. I'm gonna use this tomorrow when I go shopping and at work. I'm excited to see how this method works for me.
  15. GrindedDown macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2009
    Las Vegas
    I use the stock apps on the watch a decent amount like the timer, stopwatch, maps, and the like. Using the music controls is pretty awesome too. I don't use other apps hardly ever. The only 3rd party app i use is MacID, which works pretty damn well with the watch for unlocking my computer.

    I think it mostly comes down to speed as opposed to functionality with apps. Most are way too slow.

    In regards to the above posts about waking on the last activity, that was the first thing I did. I do occasionally use that with the Clear app for when i am grocery shopping. Once its open, i can just glance at my wrist to see my shopping list as I stroll around the supermarket. Pretty neat!
  16. hallidc macrumors 6502


    Sep 26, 2013
    I agree completely. Was faster for me to take my phone out. As a result, I sold my watch.
  17. Armen macrumors 604


    Apr 30, 2013
    I'm in agreement with you. I do find value in some 3rd party apps that offer complications though. The data is just there on the watch face. Apps like Dark Sky, CNN etc.
  18. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    I find the Apple Watch is at its best when you focus on core functionality. For me, notification handling, alarms and reminders, and telling the time are what I enjoy and benefit from most. These functions are fast and work very well.

    Apps are best taken in small doses. Only choose apps that are well-optimized for the watch and really enhance it. For these apps, make sure to link them to glances or complications so they are quick to get to. I only regularly use these third-party apps: Dark Sky, Fantastical, Due, and Todoist.

    Friedmud's post about changing to "wake to previous activity" is intriguing. I'm going to explore that further - it just might be a better way for me to use the watch. I could imagine leaving my Fantastical calendar up at all times. The time of day still shows in the upper right. If I'm watching the weather radar, having the radar pop up instantly is also a nice thing to have on a stormy day. And it's just a crown-tap to get back to the clock.
  19. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    FWIW, don't forget that you'll always be able to see the time in the top right corner.

    I remember a blog post from David Smith during the early days of WatchKit where he started off sounding like he was lamenting how developers weren't allowed to change or remove the small time display at the very top of the screen.

    He felt that because the screen was already so tiny, he should be able to make use the top row of pixels for more info.

    Then, he wrote about when he went on a jog with a Microsoft Band. He was using its workout function, and because he needed to prepare for a meeting soon, he looked down to see what time it was… except the display wasn't showing the current time. He wrote about how dumb it was to have a watch which didn't display the time.

    So, he said he had a change of heart about the AW's top row being off-limits.
  20. friedmud macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    I'm glad many of you are finding it interesting to switch to "Wake To Previous Activity"!

    If you use that mode, always remember that you can "double-tap" the Crown to switch back and forth between two apps (and that includes the main Watch face). Makes it easy to jump from an App you're running to the main Watch face and back!
  21. jasonklee macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2007
    Although apps per se on the watch are slow, weak, and cumbersome, I've found their usefulness lies in Glances. Glances can be powerful but you really have to be mindful of how many you have.
  22. sean000 macrumors 65816


    Jul 16, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    It took me some time to warm up to glances. I think at first I figured I might want glances to browse through when I've got a few seconds/minutes to kill waiting for something (or someone), but for those situations I'm still more likely to go to my iPhone. I decided that glances were best as a quick way to access apps that I sometimes need to access quickly or on the go, but that I don't have a complication for. Scrolling through glances can be fiddly (even though it can be done quickly), so I try to keep my glances to a minimum.

    In my experience a slow app is likely to be slow or unstable in the glance view as well, so I can't emphasize enough how important it is to seek out fast and stable apps. They do exist. I almost never find myself waiting impatiently for Fantastical or Carrot Weather to load...I usually access those from complications, but I also have glances for when I use a watch face that doesn't offer complications.

    Going to the app screen is something I only do for the apps I don't need that often (or that quickly). Another trick for avoiding the app screen is to say, "Hey Siri... Open (App Name)"

  23. dannyyankou macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2012
    Some apps take a while to open but others are fine. It depends on whether the developer puts any effort into improving performance. Let's hope the S2 chip in the Apple Watch 2 is a lot faster.
  24. Starfox macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2011
    Latency kills, and the when it comes to apps the Apple watch is rarely, if ever, on time for me.

    Try this: after a while of not interacting with your watch, rotate the crown to trigger Time Travel. It should be accompanied by a light pulse from the taptic engine, but most of the time (for me) when I do that the watch shows the Time Travel UI and then a second (or more) later I feel the pulse. Follow-up pulses are fast.

    Someone, somewhere inside the watchOS team, needs to understand what [soft] real time programming is and how paging and pinned / wired memory affect responsiveness.
  25. redrog macrumors 6502


    Feb 26, 2008
    I think this is a great insight. I've recently done the same and suddenly apps are just there, whether it is waiting for pizza delivery or checking the sports score, they are just a wrist raise away.

    It's funny I've not noticed it before because up till then I was gagging for some more complications, and this does the same job, albeit with the loss of the ability to read the time!

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