Does the Apple Watch Need an App for Everything?

August 26, 2015 - 2 minutes read

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The New York Times recently reported that Apple Watch app development professionals have been favoring a “wait and see” strategy when it comes to developing software for the smartwatch. While it is noteworthy that several leading companies, including Facebook, Google and Snapchat, have yet to release apps for the Apple Watch platform, the trend poses another question: does the Apple Watch even need that many apps of its own?

Some analysts have opined that the Apple Watch may not turn out to be a major app platform, citing the fact that mobile device users already have an embarrassment of app riches in their smartphones. Recently compiled statistics found that 85 percent of time spent on smartphones is dedicated to apps, suggesting that “app fatigue” may be a factor when it comes to the Apple Watch. Moreover, new smartphone apps continue to pour into the market, and while a saturation point has not yet been reached, the appetite for apps might simply fail to spill over to the world of wearables.

Analysts also note that smartphones and tablets represent the two leading app ecosystems, and that there doesn’t seem to be much demand for a third. Instead, users seem to want useful and insightful pieces of information from the Apple Watch rather than app functionality. Instead, notifications that engage users and offer helpful insights seem to be striking the right chord with smartwatch enthusiasts.

Another emerging problem for mobile app developers in San Francisco and around the world is that the current generation of Apple Watch apps generally suffer from performance deficiencies. In particular, they are slow to load and perform, leading to user frustrations during those infrequent times when the smartwatch’s apps are accessed.

It’s also worth noting that the Apple Watch has not proven to be the “must have” item the company hoped it would become. So, for now, Apple Watch app developers seem to be in observation mode, rather than actively trying to develop new software for the smartwatch platform.

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