If you have kids, or if you were a kid at some point, you probably remember opening your presents each Christmas, using them to no end for the rest of the day, and forgetting about most of them the day after. That never happened to me, actually, but it’s a long-standing stereotype, so go with it.
The difference between your RC car and your Apple Watch is that your car began collecting dust after a day or two, and your Apple Watch is becoming an integral part of your life. The initial novelty of the Digital Crown has become a natural scrolling mechanism, and the urge to constantly try a new watch face turned into changing the color to match today’s shirt, or switching from an informative to a simple face from a work day to the weekend. Apple Watch has become a background track in your day-to-day life, and that’s a good thing.
However, there is always more room for great apps to expand horizons and streamline workflows, which is why App Watch exists. So let’s see what Santa (bearded app developers) has for us this week.
Last week, we talked about Yahoo Weather and its remarkable design characteristics. It is rather slow and static, however, with its primitive features like displaying wind speed and weather predictions on your wrist.
Dark Sky takes things a bit further by alerting you to upcoming weather conditions without the need to swipe to the Glance or pull up the app. Sure, it’s not as pretty as Yahoo Weather, but its forecasts are much more detailed for a wrist app, and the impending weather alerts are rather slick. It can let you know to expect snow on Christmas eve, or send a notification warning of the heat wave you started by burning the turkey. So much for a white Christmas…
If you haven’t picked up Dark Sky yet, it’s a $3.99 download in the App Store, and being notified of an approaching deluge is certainly a great feature to have. The iPhone app’s satellite feed of weather conditions around the world is cool too.
Hours Time Tracking
We recently mentioned this app because it went free (and still is) in celebration of Apple Watch and Hours’ new place on my wrist – and perhaps your wrist, after you finish reading about it. The title conveys the general purpose of this app, as it’s best used for keeping track of how much time you spend on tasks, although you can use it for other things, like filling up space on your iPhone or pushing the Messages icon down a row on the Home screen.
Hours’ real value, however, comes into play when you begin noting how long you spend on certain projects and reminding you when to move to the next one – something that’s now done from your wrist. Just think, you could’ve used Hours to micromanage the time spent cooking that Christmas dinner, and you might’ve even avoided burning the turkey. Too bad Apple Watch wasn’t out for us plebeians back then.
If being productive, efficient, and frugal piques your interest in the least bit, you’d better grab Hours Time Tracking while it’s free, since it’s normally $6.99. Be sure to send the developers some fruitcake as a “thank you” for giving away this great app. Actually, scratch that. Don’t be an Aunt Agatha. Just don’t.
If you’ve picked up a pair of Bluetooth headphones for your Apple Watch like the ones we recommended, you’ll want to download Overcast for all your podcast-listening needs (if you listen to podcasts). It’s one of the best podcasting apps out there, Apple Watch-compatible or not, but being able to control podcasts from your wrist makes it even better.
There’s also Smart Speed, which skips over silent parts of a podcast to speed things up without distorting the mellow voices you enjoy. The Watch version allows for choosing podcasts to play and fully controlling playback in the ones you pick.
If you want to listen to the iDB team talk about Apple Watch in Let’s Talk iOS or dream about an Apple Watch jailbreak in Let’s Talk Jailbreak from your wrist, then you can download Overcast for free in the App Store. Some features, such as Smart Speed, are available as a $4.99 in-app purchase, fundable by that iTunes gift card you got for Christmas (if you haven’t spend it all on gems in Clash of Clans).
Yahoo News Digest
If you prefer to read your news rather than listen to it, Yahoo has you covered with its News Digest app, which has been updated for Apple Watch. It’s not meant to be a newspaper on your wrist – your iPhone, iPad, or Mac more than suffice – but it’s great for quick news on the go.
While not quite as pretty as Yahoo Weather for Apple Watch from last week’s article, this miniature news app has some convenient features, including hourly news headlines that can be quickly read (or even sped read) directly on your wrist. As a result, you can hastily read about the latest evergreen prices and hope to finish the article in time to save the burning turkey.
Give Yahoo News Digest a download if you’re remotely interested in trending headlines. It’s free, so the return on investment can only cancel out, and the iPhone version really is quite beautiful.
If you happen to have a favorite Apple Watch app that has integrated its wrist-bound self into your daily routine, let me know about it in the comments, or shoot me an email at [email protected], and you might see it next week on App Watch. Now excuse me while I go try to get “Jingle Bells” out of my head…