Ahead of the Apple Watch's upcoming April 24 launch, apps that include Apple Watch support are beginning to be released in the App Store. As of today, several popular iOS apps have been updated with built-in Apple Watch apps, including Evernote, Dark Sky,Things, and Target.
Additional apps with Apple Watch support will be rolling out over the course of the day, giving us a first look at how many of the apps on the device will function. We'll be updating this post with a list of Apple Watch apps that are available as they come out in the App Store.
Apple has already shared information on many third-party apps that will be available for the Apple Watch, but the updates coming today will give us a lot more information on how some of our favorite apps will take advantage of the App Store.
According to Evernote's app description, for example, users will be able to dictate notes into the Apple Watch, which will be transcribed and synced to Evernote. Users will also be able to see recently created, updated, and viewed notes, and get reminders about items that are due. Dark Sky's weather information will be brought to the wrist, and according to the app release notes, it's been designed from scratch to fit on the smaller screen of the Apple Watch.
As we've mentioned before, Apple Watch apps are bundled into existing iPhone apps because the iPhone powers the app while a UI is extended to the Apple Watch. This helps to preserve battery and it controls the amount of access developers have to the watch. Apps that run fully on the Apple Watch are coming in the future, but are not available yet.
The Apple Watch will be available for pre-order and try-on sessions at Apple retail stores beginning on April 10. Third-party Apple Watch apps have likely started popping up today to allow Apple Store employees to install content on demo Apple Watches that will be shown off to customers.
Here's a comprehensive list of Apple Watch apps available with a brief description of what they'll do:
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As of April 10, Apple will begin scheduling appointments in its retail stores for customers who are interested in trying on the Apple Watch before deciding to pre-order or make a purchase. We've known that most try-on appointments will be scheduled in 15-minute intervals to allow Apple employees to get to as many customers as possible, but it seems that customers who are interested in purchasing the Gold Apple Watch Edition will get some extra time with the device.
According to the International Business Times, two Apple Stores in Manhattan have confirmed that customers looking to spend upwards of $10,000 on an Apple Watch Edition will get 30 minute appointments with Apple employees instead of 15 minute appointments.
Given the high price of the Apple Watch Edition, it's no surprise that employees plan to dedicate more time to those who plan to spend a lot of money, as it's a bigger purchasing decision. In fact, the purchasing experience for a Gold Apple Watch may be quite a bit different from the experience purchasing a standard Apple Watch or an Apple Watch Sport, as Apple is said to have a dedicated group of employees that have undergone special training serving customers who are buying the Apple Watch Edition.
Apple employees, including those who will work with customers interested in the Gold Apple Watch, are being trained to offer fashion and styling advice to customers. 9to5Macshared some details on this training yesterday, suggesting employees will use each customer's fashion sense to make Apple Watch recommendations. Apple employees are being given example customers to train with, to help them develop the skills to make suggestions to customers.
Apple retail stores will be transformed overnight ahead of April 10, adding Apple Watch try-on stations that consist of glass-covered display tables that have the Apple Watch underneath. The Apple Watch Edition will only be available at select Apple Stores, and in limited quantities. Stores where the high-end watch will be sold are being outfitted with safes, where the devices will be kept at night to protect them from theft.
Apple wants the Apple Watch Edition buying experience to mirror other luxury shopping experiences, and in addition to selling the device in Apple retail locations through specially trained employees, Apple is also assembling pop up shops around the world in locations like the Wonder Room in Selfridges, a special section of the store that houses other high-end jewelry and watches. Other pop up shop locations include the Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and the Isetan Department Store in Tokyo.
Apple Watch pre-orders and try-on appointments begin on April 10, with the official launch coming later in the month, on April 24.
At today's F8 Facebook Developer Conference, Facebook debuted its new Messenger Platform, a major update to the Messenger service that allows users to send content like GIFs, photos, videos, and more from third-party apps within the Facebook Messenger app for iOS.
Beginning today, iOS app developers can build Facebook Messenger support into their apps, making them directly accessible within the Facebook Messenger app. Facebook has already worked with more than 40 developers, so apps with Messenger support are already available in the iOS App Store.
Apps can be accessed in the Facebook Messenger app for iOS when the "More" icon is tapped within a conversation. This opens up a list of available apps that can be installed, and when tapping install, you'll be taken to the app's install page in the iOS App Store.
The way third-party apps work with Messenger on iOS is a bit convoluted. Apps are installed independently, but those that support the Messenger Platform will send their content via Messenger. For example, if you install GIF app Giphy on your iPhone (which is one of the new apps that supports the Messenger Platform), tapping on it from within the Messenger app will open the separate iOS app to let you choose and send a GIF.
In the Giphy app, you will see a list of all your Messenger friends, and once you tap to send a GIF to one of them, you will be returned to the Messenger app and your original Messenger conversation. From there, you can continue on the conversation, send additional GIFs, or send other content from other third-party apps. Content can be viewed in the Facebook desktop app, but sending it can only be done from an iOS device.
There are a wealth of third-party apps available in Facebook Messenger for iOS right now. Apps include GIF apps like Giphy, emoji apps, sticker apps, video apps, collage apps, and more. All of the apps are being released today in the iOS App Store and have been specially developed for use with the Facebook Messenger app.
While most of the apps have been developed by third parties, Facebook has released its own apps for Messenger, including Stickered, Selfied, and Shout. Third-party apps includeClipDis, Giphy, Bitmoji, ESPN, Camoji, Talking Tom, and Emu.
Facebook has faced some criticism for the way it's handled its iOS apps, most notably removing messages access from the main Facebook app and forcing users to download Facebook Messenger, but today's update with expanded content for the iOS app may change public opinion and could draw in users who have been reluctant to download the Messenger app for iOS.
Facebook Messenger for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
Apple is planning on releasing three new iPhone models in the second half of 2015, according to a new report from DigiTimes. The site claims that a 4-inch iPhone model will join the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s and 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus.
Apple will release three different iPhones in the second half of 2015, the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus and a 4-inch device currently being referred to as iPhone 6C, according to industry sources.
A new 4-inch iPhone was also rumored in December 2014, with a report claiming that the device would be aimed toward female users. However, even if a new 4-inch iPhone isn't introduced, Apple will presumably have the iPhone 5s to offer for free on a two-year contract once the current models slide down.
DigiTimes notes the 4-inch iPhone 6c is likely to be manufactured by Wistron while both the 6s and 6s Plus will be manufactured by Foxconn. In January, a report from Chinese site Feng.com claimed that Apple had not made any orders in its supply chain for a 4-inch iPhone.
Earlier this year, CEO Tim Cook said the new, larger iPhone models had brought the highest Android switcher rate over the past three years and that they brought in more newer customers than previous iPhone models. It's possible that Apple believes offering more sizing choices to customers could allow Apple to reach more customers, as Cook also mentioned different regions preferred different sizes.
Apple is expected to announce new iPhone models in September, with new additions to both the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus rumored to include 2GB of RAM and Apple's new Force Touch technology, which has already made its way into Apple Watch, the new MacBook and new 13-inch MacBook Pros.
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