Apple is marketing the upcoming Apple Watch as a fashion, fitness, and functional accessory—something to wear, work out with, and use to do everyday tasks. Ever since the Watch was shown last month, iLounge’s editors have been discussing what truly makes it different from the earlier sixth-generation iPod nano, the device that obviously inspired Apple Watch’s basic look and feel.
Putting aside Apple Watch’s enhanced fashion appeal, now diversified across six different metal bodies and six types of wristbands, the major selling point will be what the new device can do. That much is largely known, thanks to details Apple has released and hinted at. Here’s a look at the initial collection of first- and third-party apps that have been announced for Apple Watch, including some that you might not have heard of.
Although Apple has historically grouped three or four clock-related features into a single iPod, iPhone, or iPad app, they’re separated for Apple Watch into separate icons. Clock is the core feature of Apple Watch, displaying one of a large number of animated clock faces, with displayed time synchronized from the iPhone “within 50 milliseconds of the definitive global time standard.” Depending on the face you select, Clock may also contain “complications” — buttons taking you to apps such as Alarm, Stopwatch, and/or Activity, amongst other apps.
Classically used just to measure the ascending passage of time, including intermediate lap times for sports/exercise, the Stopwatch app includes digital, analog, and hybrid display modes, including a graphed average of lap times.
An app for measuring the descending passage of time from a pre-set starting point (say, 30 minutes), Timer includes a digital countdown as well as an analog countdown using a shrinking line around the dial.
Shows a given city’s time, sunrise, sunset, and offset time relative to UTC and the current location, complete with a simple map of the world.
An app that can hold multiple customized alarms, letting you set each alarm’s time with an analog and digital display.
Using a connected iPhone’s GPS, this can show you your current location and turn-by-turn directions, complete with an estimated ETA.
Although you can’t type on Watch, you can send messages using Siri-style voice dictation, tap on preset response options taken from the context of messages you’ve received, or send animated emoji icons. A small amount of text and small images can be displayed through messages; audio messages can also be recorded and received through this app.
Beginning with a box-based grid of photos, the Photos app can zoom into individual images you’ve stored on the Watch, let you swipe through them, and pick one to use on your watch face.
It appears that the Passbook app will mirror the functionality of the iPhone app of the same name, displaying passes, tickets, loyalty cards and credit cards on your wrist, including Apple Pay cards. Apple suggests that Passbook will automatically show you relevant cards for given situations.
An icon resembling the iOS app Remote leads users to an app that replaces the remote control for Apple TV, complete with four-way navigation buttons, a menu button, and a play/pause button, plus a way to display lists of movies, music, iTunes Radio stations, and more. This app can also control a computer’s iTunes library.
An inbox synced from your iPhone can be browsed with sender names, titles, contents, the time, and attachment/VIP status in summary boxes. Individual messages can be read, as well.
The Music app appears to double as a streaming remote for a connected iPhone’s music library and as a way to control playback for limited Watch-stored music content. Ultra-simple track back/play/pause/forward and volume controls dominate the screen.
The Weather app displays your current location’s temperature and a graphical representation of expected precipitation/conditions for the next 12 hours, as well as other locations and 1-week forecasts as requested.
Featuring day, week, and simple month views, Calendar syncs with your iCloud/iPhone calendars to show you a list of upcoming activities, including reminders and invitations.
This app streams live video from a paired iPhone’s camera sensor, letting you snap a photo, set a timer, or see the last photo taken.
This app lets you quickly answer incoming iPhone calls with Watch’s built-in microphone and speaker, or transfer cars to the iPhone handset, car speakerphone, or Bluetooth headset as you prefer. It also lets you silence an incoming call by covering the Watch with your hand.
A seemingly simple app to display the current price of a given stock, with dollar, percent change, daily low and daily high.
Using a cool icon made with three colored concentric circles, which also appear on the app’s main screen, Activity tracks your calories burned through movement, minutes of brisk exercise, and how often you’ve stood up versus sitting down. You start with three empty rings each day, with the goal to fill each ring by day’s end. Each ring gets its own screen with a numeric breakdown of calories, exercise minutes, or standing hours relative to your daily goal.
Represented by a running man icon, this app tracks running, walking, and cycling activities, measuring time, distance, calories burned, and pace for each one. You can also choose goals, receive encouraging mid-workout reminders, and earn Nike FuelBand-styled badge-styled achievements. Workout ties into Fitness, the new Apple Watch companion app for iPhone.
Swipe up from the clock screen and you can see full-screen, swipe-able summaries of content from other apps on the device akin to Google Now’s cards.
Swipe down from the clock screen to see notifications — screens informing you of events such as incoming emails, messages, or changes in iOS apps. The screen will contain a circular icon specific to the app sharing the notification, plus text and buttons appropriate to what you’re being notified about. They can come from pre-installed or third-party apps, and can tie into the apps to let you perform actions from the Watch.
Akin to the simplified list of contacts found on the iOS 8 multitasking screen, Friends shows you images of your most recently/frequently contacted people, which you can tap on to send a message, make a call, or communicate with Watch-specific features.
Believed to be a separate app, but possibly part of Messages, this uses a combination of finger, voice, and Taptic vibration features to let Watch users communicate with each other. Sketch lets users send ephemeral drawings to each other, Walkie-Talkie sends audio clips between Watches, Tap sends finger taps via Taptic feedback, represented by glowing circles, and Heartbeat records and sends your heartbeat in the same way with a pulsing heart icon on the screen.
By saying “Hey, Siri” or pressing and holding the Digital Crown, a stripped-down version of the iOS digital assistant can take dictation, consult map locations, tell you the weather or your next event, send messages to other people, and more.
Toggles for Airplane Mode and Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, Mute, and Find My iPhone are all in the Settings app. We’d expect battery, sound, and screen brightness settings to find their way in here, too.
The following additional icons have been spotted in Apple Watch promotional materials, and some have even been named or briefly described, but their specific features are still somewhat ambiguous.
Nike+ (Challenge Friends To Go For A Run), Calculator, Twitter, Pinterest, MLB, SPG/Starwood Hotels Preferred Guest, Yahoo News Digest, The Whole Pantry (Recipes), Lutron Caséta (Blue Circle with White Sparkle Icon, for Lighting + Window Control), Telegram Messenger (Paper Airplane Icon), City Mapper (Dot Arrow Dot Icon), Unit Converter, Sports Scores, Tip Calculator, Flight Tracker, Movie Showtimes, American Airlines, Card Game, Facebook, BMW (Stylized i-Drive Icon), Honeywell Lyric (White Icon with Blue Starburst), Sina Weibo, QQ (Penguin Icon), AT&T Voicemail Viewer (Blue/Green Icon With Envelope, Orange Note + Word “Home”), and WeChat (Green Icon with Chat Bubbles).
Apple has also hinted at extra functionality that’s not yet been disclosed, some of which may be hidden in these icons, the names and features of which are currently unknown:
“34” (styled like an old desktop clock face), Five-Colored Star, Paragraph (possibly a dictionary), Barbell/H-Like Icon, Pink Icon With White Flame, Pulse/Heart Rate Icon, Newsstand/Numbers-Style Icon, Orange Fox Icon, Letter B Icon, Checkmark Icon (likely a to-do app), # Icon, Cartoony Bear Icon, ABC Icon, Two Arrows Icon (possibly an app to help Watch users find each other), Atomic/4-Person/Directional (?) Icon, Red/Orange Heart/Diamond Icon, C In Broken Circle Icon, Zzz Icon (Sleep Tracking?), Red/Orange ID or LD Icon, LadyBug In Gold Circle Icon, Green/Blue Icon With Exploding B, Green Icon With White Lightbulb, and Orange/Yellow Icon with White Envelope.
If you can identify some of the icons here, feel free to share them in the comments below.