An overview of Apple Watch apps and software

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

We’re still trying to sift through all of the information Apple dropped on us this morning regarding its new smartwatch, and I have to admit, it’s been tough. There is just so much to this device, and so much it can do, it’s tough to figure out where to begin picking out points of interest to pass along to our readers.

But we knew for sure that we wanted to highlight some of the software features and apps Apple showed off for its Watch today, such as Phone, Messaging, Siri and more. So we put together a brief overview, if you will, highlighting what we thought were some of the Watch applications and features worth noting.


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Receiving a message on Apple Watch is as easy as you’d expect. Once you’ve been notified (more on that in a minute), you can choose to read it, delete it or respond to it. Sending messages is also fairly easy, thanks to dictation and smart replies. The Watch can actually suggest responses to you based on the incoming message and the things you write most. Or, you can skip text altogether by sharing an animated emoji, which you can customize yourself.

Email works the same way. You can read the message, flag it, mark it as read or unread, or move it to the Trash. Or you can elect to open the message on your iPhone, where you can type a lengthier response.


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Yes, the Apple Watch has a fully functioning Phone app, which you can use to make and receive phone calls. Use the built-in speaker and microphone for quick chats, or transfer calls to your iPhone for longer conversations. You can also transfer calls from Apple Watch to your car’s speakerphone or your Bluetooth headset, and silence incoming calls by simply covering Apple Watch with your hand.


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Fitness software on the Apple Watch is broken up into 2 apps: Activity and Workout. Activity provides a simple graphical overview of your daily activity, with three rings telling you everything you need to know. The Move ring shows how many calories you’ve burned, the Exercise ring shows how many minutes of brisk activity you’ve done, and the Stand ring shows how often you’ve stood up to take a break from sitting.

The workout app takes things a little bit further, showing real-time stats for cardio workouts such as time, distance, calories, and pace. It allows you to set goals for each workout, and encourages you to meet or beat those goals along the way. Your workout is included in your Activity app measurements for the day, and the data is funneled into the Health app on your iOS 8 device.


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Passbook on Apple Watch holds your tickets, boarding passes, and loyalty cards, and supports the new Apple Pay system, so you can actually use the device to securely pay for things with your credit and debit cards. To do so, just double-click the button under the Digital Crown and hold your wrist up to a compatible in-store reader. You’ll hear and feel a confirmation from Apple Watch once your payment info is sent.


Yes, Apple Watch features Siri integration as well. The Watch version of the digital assistant allows you to accomplish many of your favorite voice command tasks without pulling your iPhone out, including dictating a message, asking to view your next event, finding the nearest coffee shop or restaurant, and much more.

Alerts & Notifications

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Apple Watch uses new Taptic technology (essentially haptic feedback) to ‘tap’ you for alerts and notifications. There are subtle audio cues too, and each notification has its own unique character.

You can also choose to have notifications show up on your Apple Watch for apps (both stock and third-party), and notifications built with WatchKit will allow you to take action or respond right from your wrist.



WatchKit is Apple’s developer platform for Apple Watch, which will allow devs to create and submit third-party apps for the device. WatchKit apps can incorporate Glances—a gesture that involves swiping up from your watch face to expose at-a-glance information, as well as actionable notifications, and other unique-to-Apple-Watch features.


  • Over two million combinations of customizable watch faces
  • Friends – shortcut icons to those you communicate with most
  • Sketch – draw in real time with friends
  • Walkie-Talkie – use the built-in speaker and microphone to trade sound bites with friends.
  • Tap – let friends or loved ones know you’re thinking of them with a silent, gentle tap they’ll feel on the wrist
  • Heartbeat – when you press two fingers on the screen, the built-in heart rate sensor records and sends your heartbeat
  • Calendar app – see what’s next in your day or upcoming week. Apple Watch sends you meeting reminders, as well as calendar invitations you can accept or decline directly from your wrist
  • Maps app – see your current location and get directions, highlighting the best route with turn-by-turn navigation
  • Music app – control the music on your iPhone without taking it out of your pocket, or listen to music directly on Apple Watch
  • Remote app – control iTunes and Apple TV using Apple Watch
  • Remote Camera – Apple Watch doubles as a remote for the iSight camera on your iPhone and doubles as a live display
  • Stopwatch, Timer, World Clock, Alarms
  • View Stocks and Weather information
  • Watered down versions of Photos and Settings apps
  • Continuity support – start something on Apple Watch—writing a message, reading news headlines—and finish it on iPhone

We’ll obviously continue bringing you more info on Apple Watch as we come across it, so stay tuned. For a rundown on the various models of the device, click here.