These days, almost as important as any hardware launch is the launch of apps that work on it. In a curated sideshow, the day the Apple Watch went on sale in April, was the launch of more than 3,000 apps to go with it.
Many in the developer community say that Apple pushed app developers hard to create these apps. The Cupertino company offered several developers a preview of the watch, as well as suggestions on app design.
Avaamo, a business-messaging platform, has used the watch to showcase capabilities like speech-to-text. “Working closely with Apple helped us define the model for a secure messaging experience on the Apple Watch,” says Ram Menon, CEO and co-founder of Avaamo. “Instead of building a stripped-down phone app, the Apple Watch gave us an opportunity to rethink human interaction from the ground up.”
There’s also a certain sheen that comes from being associated with an Apple product early on. Travel portal Cleartrip, which has launched an Apple Watch app, says the platform will help it connect with early adopters, who tend to have a huge word-of-mouth influence. “Making a brand statement is one outcome,” says Subramanya Sharma, Cleartrip’s chief marketing officer.
According to App Annie, a firm that analyses the apps market, utilities made up 12% of watch apps at launch, followed by others such as health and fitness, lifestyle, and weather. This year, according to market intelligence firm IDC, Apple is expected to ship more than 15 million watches to become the largest smartwatch maker, accounting for two-thirds of the fast-expanding market. The watch is the first all-new product in many years from the world’s most valuable company.