Highly skeptical: Slapping apps on the Watch
There are so very many ways the Apple Watch is a major disappointment and on Monday, writing for the New York Times, Brian X. Chen brought us yet another.
(The “X” is for “I’m not the New York Times technology reporter who said the Apple Watch would give you wrist cancer, that was the other one.”)
“Apple Waits as App Developers Study Who’s Buying Its Watch” (tip o’ the antlers to Lacy Negligence)
In the months surrounding the much-ballyhooed release of the Apple Watch, Apple managers courted Facebook in the hopes that the social networking giant would make a software application for the new gadget.
Begging the question: Do Apple managers hate us? What did we ever do to Apple managers?
Facebook was not persuaded.
Yay, the system works! In a backwards kind of way, but still…
Three months after the watch’s release, there is no Facebook app tailored for it.
Thus explaining the Apple Watch’s 97 percent customer satisfaction rating (disclaimer: these results were from about 800 people on an opt-in panel).
“I don’t know if we could get it all in there in a way that feels good and works well,” [Adam Mosseri, who oversees Facebook’s news feed,] said in a recent interview. “You’d just want to get your phone out at that point.”
We not understand watch. How make Flash games and ads for watch? How skim health data for target marketing? Uhnnnn. Urrr.
That puts the watch, Apple’s first new product since the iPad in 2010, in something of a Catch-22: The companies whose apps would most likely prompt more people to buy the device are waiting to see who is buying it and how they use it.
Just like the iPhone and iPad failed because they didn’t have Microsoft Office on them. (It is rather ironic that most of the iPad’s sales slide came after Office was released for iOS.)
…only five of the 20 most popular free iPhone apps in the United States have versions for the Apple Watch, according to data from App Annie, an analytics firm.
And it’s been out for three whole months! What’s taking so long?! Certainly all 20 of these top free apps are perfectly suited to the Apple Watch. People are literally chafing at their watch straps to watch YouTube and Netflix videos, play Solitaire and somehow magically use Find My iPhone without an Internet connection on their Apple Watches!
The Macalope has seen a lot of dumb bars for success in his time, but this one doesn’t understand how pudding works. One of the top 20 free apps, Instagram, is owned by the aforementioned highly watch-skeptical Facebook, a fact that Chen gets around to mentioning in paragraph 21.
And the number of apps for the watch, which now stands at about 7,400, is growing at a slower rate than the explosive uptick of apps that were produced for iPhones and iPads in their early days.
There can be no other explanation than skepticism about the watch. It has nothing to do with trying to figure out a new form factor or the fact that developers have to wait the fall release of watchOS 2.0 to ship native apps. Nope.
Other software companies Chen mentions whose apps are missing from the Apple Watch include Google, which mysteriously doesn’t yet make a Gmail client for the watch and merely serves to compound the high level of watch skepticism, which is already very high, astoundingly high, really, so high. It is certainly shocking that a company with a competing platform would not jump on the Apple Watch and devastating that there’s no other way to read Gmail on the watch. Failure and shameful spankings all the way around at the Apple team working on the Watch.
Personally, the horny one thinks email is a lousy use case for the Apple Watch and serves to underline the reasons why developers should rightly be loathe to just shrinking their app down and slapping it on the watch. Thoughtless, rampant software development may be the hallmark of a quickly growing platform, but it’s still not necessarily something to aspire to.