It’s no surprise that the Apple Watch has launched with literally thousands of apps available from a variety of different companies – but the best Apple Watch feature options remain its native apps and functionality, the software that Apple has been tweaking for years to fit the wrist just right.
Top 5 Apple Watch Features
So if you are still on the fence when it comes to getting an iWatch of your own (paying at least $350 is notable drawback), here are the unique features most worth taking the plunge for, and why they’re great.
Sketch and Friends: Social Dreams Come True
Sketch and Friends are iWatch apps that you will probably either love or hate, depending on your situation. If you love sharing content, social media, and connecting to all your friends in various online ways, then Sketch and Friends will fall firmly into the former category, mostly because of their unique functionality.
First, Friends is an easy “inner circle” app that brings up a literal circle of the friends you talk to the most, indicated by their initials. Choose a friend and tap the Apple Watch button to immediately bring up options to send out messages or call them directly. It is both neat and organic.
Second, Sketch is the new Apple Watch feature that allows you to send a quick smartwatch drawing to one of those friends, who will receive the drawing as you made it – sort of like a more interactive Snapchat. Apple has provided only a few ways to use this type of artistic messaging, but its real power is that it is best left up to the imagination of users: Despite the small screen, this cute little feature is almost limitless in possibilities.
Apple Pay: Ideal for Tech Fans and Trends
Apple Pay has, of course, been out for the iPhone for some time now, using NFC technology to allow customers to pay immediately with the app using a swipe-and-confirm method (with plenty of opportunity for even faster checkouts). However, the Apple Pay on the Apple Watch feels like a more complete, rewarding experience.
For one thing, if everything is set up correctly then you don’t need your iPhone with you when you use Apple Pay on the watch, a handy bonus. Second, it’s much easier to swipe your wrist up to an NFC detector and tap on the screen to confirm payment rather than dig out your phone – especially if you are trying to manage groceries or kids at the same time. It just feels good…as long as you patronize establishments that offer the service.
Haptic Navigation Directions: An Urban Answer
This Apple Watch feature connects to navigation functions, but in a unique and useful way. It can use navigation apps to offer walking directions to help you get where you are going. It combines the step-by-step directions and mini-map with haptic feedback, which means that even when you aren’t looking at your smartwatch, it can still buzz against your wrist in different patterns to indicate the right turn to take.
It’s a feature is most useful in urban environments where accurate walking instructions are a blessing, but the wrist-based navigation is handy in other situations nonetheless.
The Activity App: A Fitness Band Killer
The Apple Activity app, simply put, makes fitness bands unnecessary. If you are partial to the smart fitness lifestyle, you can totally replace at least one device by using the Apple Watch’s Activity to monitor your daily movement, heart rate activity, and overall exercise levels. It can show you how many calories you are burning, tell you when to get up and move around, or track your daily exercise and how much you have left before you meet your current goals.
This is also packaged in a display that beats most fitness trackers by a mile, using a simple combination of easily understood shapes and colors that provide plenty of information at a glance.
Easy Text and Call Response: A Busy Family’s Perfect App
One of the more obvious features of the Apple Watch is the ability to receive texts or calls via the watch itself, and respond if necessary. This is another feature that you are likely to love or hate. Can it seem a little silly? Probably, but for communicating on the go when you have your hands full, it can be invaluable. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, walking onto the subway, working out, managing the kids – these are just a few activities where being able to talk through your smartwatch or check on texts without taking out your phone is very handy.
WatchKit: The Future of the Smartwatch
WatchKit is the Apple developer’s kit for the iWatch that allows third parties to develop their own apps. At the moment, it’s tough to find really great apps from third parties, even though there are a lot of app choices. But as more people interact with the Apple Watch and it becomes more evident what consumers want, expect WatchKit to start producing some amazingly great, popular apps that will add unheard-of functionality to the smartwatch.