In the days leading up to receiving one of the very first Apple Watches created (give or take a few hundred thousdand?) I starting reading up on Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines that they publish for each of their major platforms. Not long after digging in I realized that the HIG is shit. There’s very little actually published about how to make a great app for Apple Watch which is frustrating considering at this time you couldn’t pick up a watch to examine other apps. NOBODY had any idea what they were building for and on the day my watch arrived that became blatantly clear.
Most app developers used only the Apple Watch simulator in Xcode to create and test their apps. This simulator does not sit on your wrist, does not include a digital crown and is not controlled with your finger.
Lets take Twitter for example. You open the app and are faced with the choice to view your timeline or the top ten trending global topics. Strike one: nobody cares about trending topics like they do their own timeline. So when you select your timeline you can view exactly five tweets at a time before it makes you press a giant “more” button. Strike two: is inifite scrolling too much to ask for? Why five tweets? It’s a very involved UI for something that sits on your wrist and probably won’t be very popular.
Some apps are nice, like Strava. They bring the simple action of starting your workout (biking or running) from your watch and stopping it when you’ve finished. The results of your trip are viewable on your phone including your route plotted using GPS. It’s simple and is a great utility for a wearable.
Apple Pay is slick. Payments is a really interesting area for me, considering where I work. I’d like to see more inovation in this area this year. For starters, when I swipe my card at Target, American Express should send me a push notification (which they do) that can encourage me to tag or categorize my transaction. Nobody wants to go through every transaction on some Saturday and try to remember if it was groceries or Xbox games, but I think if you give someone the opportunity to tag a single transaction right after it happens (like when I get in my car) PFM will be slightly more useful.