Technology

Apple Watch apps: giving them up is neither a surprise nor a concern

Yesterday we noticed that Apple Watch apps continue to be abandoned.

We can officially add Uber to the long list of major brands that have ditched their Apple Watch apps. The tour-sharing company has quietly discontinued its watchOS app, displaying a brief message to users trying to launch it. Uber has joined Twitter, Instagram, Target, Trello, Slack, Hulu, Evernote, and many others to shut down their Apple Watch apps.

It’s a trend that doesn’t surprise me, because I think many companies base their apps on an unrealistic idea of ​​how most people use their watches…

It never occurred to me to use my Apple Watch to order an Uber. In fact, when I look at the ways I use my watch, it falls into three categories:

passive reception of information

Just look at my watch for some info. Popular examples here:

  • time
  • Calendar notifications
  • weather
  • Incoming messages

I would also put using Apple Maps in this category: I put my destination on my phone, then simply respond to taps on my wrist, and occasionally peek at the screen.

quick action

Almost all of my interactions with my watch are very short. Examples:

  • Apple Pay (including no interaction with Express Transit)
  • Tapping on temperature multipliers to see how it will change later
  • Remote control of music and podcasts (change volume or skip track)
  • Shazamming a piece of music

Sometimes it’s a combination of passive receipt and quick action – like a ticket or boarding pass that appears automatically when needed, and I swipe to the QR code.

siri

We have enough HomePods in the house that I can often just say “Hey Siri” and one of them will respond. This is how I do things like control HomeKit devices, set timers, and add reminders.

Occasionally, I’ll issue Siri commands on my watch (like setting a timer when I head to a different room and don’t want the faulty HomePod to alert me). But most of my uses of Siri on my watch force brief responses to messages.

The ‘active’ app is hardly ever used.

My quick actions involve very brief interactions with my watch. Apple Pay is used when I want to use something other than my virtual card, the side button is double pressed to open it, and the digital crown rotates to select the card.

what am I don’t do do is to open an app on my watch and get more prolonged interaction. If that’s not something I can do in two or three seconds, I’ll take my iPhone out of my pocket and interact with it instead.

A quick discussion with colleagues shows that I am not alone in this.

I think a lot of companies were either very excited about the watch or simply wanted to be seen as joining the latest trends. They launched Apple Watch apps for the same reason tech companies today are talking about artificial intelligence, blockchain, NFT, or the metaverse: appearing on board with the latest in great sound technology.

Many Watch apps are simply meaningless. Instead of providing just-in-time access to relevant information, or a one-touch way to do something useful (like opening a door), they’ve made the apps very complex, requiring a lot of interaction. Far from making something more convenient than using an iPhone app, they have made it more difficult and time consuming.

So I’m not surprised that many companies have abandoned their Watch apps, and I don’t think it’s anything Apple should worry about. It is simply a process that brands realize the reality of how people are using the watch and not using it.

What is your point of view? What are the main ways you use your watch, and what is the most involved thing you ever do with it? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.

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