I’ve been wearing the Apple Watch for just over a month now. There’s a lot that I like about the device, and I covered much of that in my review last month. It’s well built — perhaps the best built out of any of the smartwatches I’ve used, even though I have the cheaper Apple Watch Sport model. It’s also useful for giving me the weather, allowing me to see how far I’ve traveled in a given day and, of course, for giving me the time.
But a lot of the apps that have been tweaked to take advantage of the Apple Watch are awful, and I wonder what Apple’s policy for quality control is for them. Does it require apps to load within a given amount of time? It doesn’t seem like it, because some of them take so long that I just give up, resulting to pick the phone out of my pocket.
Take, for example, my experience with an app that’s supposed to let me check when high and low tides are. I want that information for fishing, and I thought it would be really awesome to be able to take a quick glance at my watch to see if it was a good time to pack up my rod and reel or not.
That’s not to say the app doesn’t work — maybe it does — but I’ve never waited long enough on the loading screen to find out. The display on my Apple Watch usually goes to sleep first, and I end up walking over to the drawer in my kitchen where I have a paper schedule of the tides. Yes, I’ve resulted to dead trees over waiting for the dang Apple Watch app to load. (I haven’t named the app here, because I’m going to let the developer know about my issues first.)
It isn’t the only app I have problems with, though. Uber can be just as bad, and I often pull out my phone to request a car. It’s bizarre, because Apple has argued that the whole point of the Apple Watch is to alleviate the need to keep grabbing for your iPhone.
To be fair, some apps are really good, like Foursquare for example, which I’ve found myself using again after a lengthy hiatus. Yelp is also really well done, and loads almost instantaneously. Apple’s proprietary apps, such as Maps, are also pretty snappy. Maybe it’s just that smaller developers are rushing out to advertise Apple Watch support without really working to make sure the experience is good for the end user, while others, like Yelp, Starbucks and Foursquare, have larger teams and have had more time to build quality apps.
It’s a situation I expect to improve as Apple continues to update the software, but it’s one that remains really frustrating to this day. I rarely, if ever, use any of the apps on my Apple Watch, and that’s supposed to be one of the highlight experiences.