Apple waits as app developers study who’s buying its watch

20 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Waits as App Developers Study Who’s Buying Its Watch.

SAN FRANCISCO — In the months surrounding the much-ballyhooed release of the Apple Watch, Apple managers courted Facebook in the hopes that the social networking giant would make a software application for the new gadget. The company’s latest Apple Watch ads have followed this template, eschewing a direct voiceover in favour of clips showing the device in use as a fitness aid — tracking your heartbeat, waking you up for morning calisthenics, helping you hire a bike to ride home.

A little more than a week after debuting a series of news ads as part of their “If it’s not an iPhone” marketing push, Cupertino has supplemented it with a new ad, focused on the kaleidoscope of wonderful apps available for the iPhone 6. But where Apple’s Watch ads are focused and efficient, its latest iPhone ads are strangely general, reminding a generation to whom the iPhone is ubiquitous that — hey! — the iPhone exists. Following ads last week about “Hardware & Software” and “Love,” the new app is called “Amazing Apps.” You can watch it above, but here’s the narration: This is an iPhone.

The lack of support from Facebook — and from other popular app makers like Snapchat and Google, which also do not have apps for Apple Watch — underscores the skepticism that remains in the technology community about the wearable device. And if you’re really trying to sell an iPhone by explaining what an iPhone is, don’t you also need to tell me what the hell an app is? “Amazing Apps” also mentions curation, stating that Apple hand-picks software for its App Store, but doesn’t actually have time to call out any apps specifically in its short 30-second slot.

That puts the watch, Apple’s first new product since the iPad in 2010, in something of a Catch-22: The companies whose apps would most likely prompt more people to buy the device are waiting to see who is buying it and how they use it. Instead, it simply flashes hundreds of apps past the viewer in a Fantasia-like dance, iPhones twirling and spinning as they display snippets of racing game, tabata timer, and stock portfolios.

Apple’s left emphasizing quantity of software as a key feature of its flagship device — not necessarily the best approach when a look at the sheer number of Threes! clones, for example, proves that not everything accepted onto the App Store is a slam dunk. Apple closes the ad by describing the iPhone’s apps as “surprising, awe-inspiring,” and “who-knew-a-phone-could-do-that?” The answer to that last one — everyone. And the number of apps for the watch, which now stands at about 7,400, is growing at a slower rate than the explosive uptick of apps that were produced for iPhones and iPads in their early days.

Just how well the watch is selling — and whether the absence of prominent apps is affecting sales — may be signaled on Tuesday when Apple reports earnings for its fiscal third quarter. The company has said it did not intend to give specific sales data on the watch and instead would wrap it into a category that it called “other.” Investors and tech followers are expected to scrutinize that category to try to calculate whether the watch has been a hit or miss. Whatever the numbers are, “it’s significant because some people may be viewing it as a litmus test for Apple to launch products” under Timothy D.

Of the prominent app makers that are missing from Apple Watch, several echo Facebook in saying they are still trying to determine how to make the most of their apps on the device’s small screens, the largest of which is about 1.3 inches by 1.65 inches. For example, at a technology conference in May, Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s chief executive, said he did not find the watch compelling. “Why would you look at a small picture when you can look at a large one on your phone?” Mr.

Despite the limitations, some app makers have been enthusiastic about the watch, including the Weather Channel, which introduced an app for the smartwatch in April. “We’ve been there for every Apple product launch, so we felt we had to be there,” said Chris Huff, who heads application development for the company. “People want to get the weather wherever they’re at.” So far, the Weather Channel has focused on delivering notifications — like lightning alerts — and tracking weather in real time by asking people to confirm with a tap on the wrist that it is raining or snowing where they are. Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, said that based on responses from a panel of 1,000 Apple watch owners who were contacted in the last week, consumers reported high satisfaction with the product and few who had bought the watch had stopped using it.

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