To make sure you don’t forget about Apple (as if you could) Tim Cook and co. famously deliver major product announcements twice a year - once in September, when they showcase their new iPhone and Watch releases, and once in June, when they hold their World Wide Developer Conference.
At this years WWDC, aside from the dramatic unveiling of a cheese grater (google it), there was an exciting announcement for app developers: Apple Watch will no longer be tethered to iPhone. It’s finally time for Watch to get direct access to the App Store! Now that September is finally here and the new Watch has been released into the world, this could be a game changer for app entrepreneurs.
Why? Well, currently, the Watch comes preloaded with a very limited number of apple apps (Calendar, Music, Alarm, etc). By syncing to your iPhone, third party apps can be added, but this is both a faff and a tad frustrating as a) you have to have an iPhone to use a Watch, and b) you come across a lot of enticing iPhone apps that don’t have Watch versions. So with most third party apps unavailable and almost none designed especially with Watch in mind, there’s a big gap in the market.
Giving the watch App Store access could be the start of a boom in Watch-specific apps. Especially as the App Store is becoming available on Watch just as companies are starting to take wearable technologies to the next level. Let’s just take a look at the most successful genre of wrist apps to date and see how it’s changing...
Before allowing this App Store access for watch, Apple has spent several years trying to cover the market on the health and activity functions of Watch. One of the biggest trends of our time is personal improvement, with consumers becoming more and more obsessed with health tracking. Naturally, these new gadgets and tech solutions are a huge part of the motivation to improve activity levels.
The current Watch series already gives you fall alerts and heart monitoring, along with activity tracking and fitness reminders. For the new release, the inbuilt health apps have been ‘totally redesigned’, including new options such as female ‘Cycle Tracking’, and the ‘Noise’ feature for hearing maintenance, as well as the more intelligent ‘Activity Trends’.
And yes, maybe some of these features will end up being unused gimmicks for a lot of people, but you can bet each one has been carefully calculated to identify Watch as a must-have health and fitness accessory. And now that’s established, there are plenty of entrepreneurs out there ready to invent Watch apps for health and activity that even Apple hasn’t envisioned.
In the US in particular, where healthcare costs can be crippling, using personal tech to bypass routine health checks could be very enticing. Anyone who manages to translate a medical test into an app is in for a big windfall. Not to mention the power of celebrities and established brands who can now launch diets and workout programmes straight onto our wrists. Anyone who has ideas for apps that can track movement, behaviour, speech or even our stress levels, should get designing, quick.
For years, sci-fi characters have been running around shouting instructions into Watch-like gadgets, talking to holograms that pop out of them and controlling other tech around them. We’re not quite there yet, but it makes sense that more and more developers will turn their attention to wearable tech. Now that Apple has opened the gate to them, who knows what features entrepreneurs will be creating for our wrists. And maybe one of those entrepreneurs could be you. Got an awesome idea? Our expert app team is ready to discuss it with you!