Apple's app store has just opened a whole, new Apple Watch area as part of an iOS 8.2 update and the Cupertino chaps have just talked us through what you'll be downloading first. By and large it's the usual suspects, given an Apple UI twist.
Apps helped make the iPhone and iPad incredibly successful. Can these repeat the same trick for the less obviously useful Watch range? Erm… We'll get back to you on that one in six months.
Workout and Activity
Fitness app makers have been doing simultaneous facepalms this evening as Apple announced its Activity and Workout apps, potentially making some of them redundant. A fairly vanilla and proprietary fitness app, Activity lets you know how your stepping's looking, and advises you to do more of it. Workout tracks metrics including distance, time, calories burned, and even gives pace advice for your longer runs. The app will also be able to pull workout data from compatible gym machines.
Still TBC in the UK and Europe, Apple announced that 700,000 US outlets now take Apple Pay through iPhones and, shortly, Apple Watches. Interestingly, as Apple told us about a pretty incredible tie-up with medical researchers, they also announced that Coca-Cola's vending machines will work with Apple pay. So the Watch will cause your obesity, then help address it! Meanwhile, you can save individual credit cards to the Pay app and choose which one to charge. A haptic buzz tells you it's been accepted.
Not an app as such, but Apple's personal assistant is on the timepiece, and you can either prod the crown or just holler "Hey Siri" to make it listen to you. At the event, Siri was used to tell the weather and issue haptic reminders to take an umbrella, if the weather reports looked unfavourable. Time will tell if Siri works any better on a watch than it does on a phone or tablet…
A no brainer, this. The world's biggest photo sharing site sends a selection of tiny thumbnails to your timepiece. You scroll up and down with a push of your thumb, then zoom in (a bit) with a prod. Another prod allows you to favourite your friend's expertly filtered Chinese meal by touching a heart icon.
The cab giants link with your phone, telling you how near your driver is, allowing a request, then hollering back your cab's number plate and tiny picture of your driver's face and car, so you can find them with less difficulty. This looked pretty slick, although we'd need to order a LOT of taxis before we'd currently start wishing we didn't need to fish out our phone to do so.
For those unfamiliar with this Chinese app, it's essentially much like WhatsApp and the rest of the message services out there. One notable quirk is that when you get a message you can send a text back, or choose an emoji to tell your life partner that you "funny kissing face" them. WeChat was arguably further away from the standard Apple aesthetic than any app ever demoed at one of its events. Possibly that tells you something about how keen Apple is to crack the Chinese market…
This is slick. The W Hotels app gives you your check in details, including room number, then allows you to go straight to your room without the usual loitering around for 10 minutes waiting for the check in desk attendant to stop ignoring you. The Watch takes the place of the traditional hotel key once you're checked in.
A home automation app, this links with your abode's heating, lighting, aircon and even compatible door locks. Our Apple employee showed how he can not only open his garage door to allow his forgetful daughter in – over wi-fi – but can also watch her safely enter via a camera stream on the watch face. Hopefully he didn't then see a third party creep quietly in, like the start of Taken. The demo also showed off Watch's communication skills, with the option to send a voice memo trilled into its mic as text or audio.
You know the drill: hear a song. Ask Shazam. Be schooled in what you're listening to then, we expect Apple would suggest, buy it on iTunes. You also get to see lyrics scroll by in time with what's playing, so you can sing along, or just work out what Dave Grohl is on about.
Doubtless all the airlines will have Watch apps, because they're potentially even handier than on Passbook on your phone. No matter how stressed you get at airports, you can always remember where your watch is, whereas searching for your phone or - heaven forbid - a paper ticket can cause momentary panic that the Health app would probably tell you is bad for your heart. As with its iPhone big brother, this gives you up-to-date information on your flight, whether it's on time, boarding or given up, and a bar code takes the place of your boarding pass, so you need not fumble in your travel bag's infinite number of cavernous pockets every time someone asks to see your papers. All that's needed now is a passport-and-visa app…
And then there's Twitter. Well of course there is. Microblogging comes to your wrist with a scrollable, ever updating list of shovelwear and angry exchanges about celebrities. A side swipe gives trending topics, although replying wasn't shown, so you may have to get your phone out to do that, but hopefully you'll be able to dictate replies along the lines of "LOL WTF is that dress ROFL" via Watch's voice recognition.