Apple Watch To get to your apps, just press the Digital Crown

As I spend more time with my Apple Watch, I am finding that we are starting to settle into something of a routine. The watch tells me when someone or something wants my attention, and I triage that notification based on its importance and the level of attention I can give it. It might not sound exciting, but the process of quick notification triage is something that the Apple Watch is proving most adept at.

But the Apple Watch is more than a way to read notifications. It has apps, and glances, and sensors. Some apps, just like on the iPhone and iPad, are more useful than others, and it’s still very early days for the Apple Watch ecosystem as a whole. That said, after a week of using my Apple Watch, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t launch apps by tapping their icon on the watch’s Home screen. In fact, I don’t really use that many apps at all.

What I do use though, is a collection of Glances.

An Apple Watch re-imagining of the iOS Today screen widgets we have grown to love, Glances are flicked up from the bottom of the watch’s screen when looking at the watch face. Each glance can be swiped left or right to reveal the next, but they all essentially do the same thing – they provide little snippets of information. I have one that tells me the weather, and one that pulls my due and flagged items from Omnifocus. I have the Cheatsheet Glance that shows the data kept within that app, too. What I don’t do is head to the Home screen and launch either app. Ever.

Which leads me to an interesting realization in that I don’t really use apps at all on my watch, or at least not how I expected to. Instead of launching apps the old fashioned way by tapping an icon, I look at an app’s Glance to get the basic information I need and then, if required, use that glance to jump into the app in order to interact with it. If I don’t, then I can go days without seeing the inside of an app at all.

With that in mind I think it is particularly important that developers make heavy use of Glances, especially given the fact they are given pride of place on the watch face and can be seen and interacted with without the need to press the Digital Crown. It all just feels so much more seamless than launching apps the way we have become accustomed to on iOS. And if done right, Glances can often mean we don’t need to go into the apps at all, which is just wonderful in my book.

All this speaks to the fact that the Apple Watch isn’t an iPhone on your wrist, too. It’s a system for getting bits of information quickly and unobtrusively, with notifications thrown in as well. Start thinking of the Apple Watch as a place you are told about things rather than were you hunt them out, and it starts to make a great deal more sense.

Well, it does to me anyway.