I was trying to get a sense of how many local search and location-based apps are now available for the Apple Watch. Because of the way that Apple’s got Watch Apps displayed in the iTunes App Store it’s not easy to get a clear picture.
From what I could tell, however, there are quite a few. Among them are: The Weather Channel, Yelp, Trulia, Fandango, AroundMe, Foursquare, Retale, OpenTable and others, including a bunch of travel and retail apps such as Starbucks, JCPenney, Target and American Eagle Outfitters. Many of the major local search apps (except Google/Google Maps) are present.
YP, which sent me their PR materials, has two entries: its main YP app and its Gas Guru app. It will be interesting to see whether Apple Watch buyers simply duplicate their iPhone apps on their wrist or if the Watch becomes a way to introduce apps to users.
YP’s Two Apple Watch Entries
For its main app, YP has stripped out much of the functionality and content of the iPhone version to make it simpler. But its “mybook” will extend to the Watch. You can find gas stations in the YP app but the company has also launched a Watch version of its Gas Guru app.
Regardless of the app category, getting the user experience right will be critical. The key for developers and publishers is to quickly put out 1.0 versions to the first group of Apple Watch buyers, collect usage feedback and then release 1.5 versions based on that initial feedback and usage patterns.
Watch app discovery will probably be a bigger problem in some ways than general smartphone app discovery. I suspect we’ll see lots of app-install ads targeting Watch users. It will be very interesting to see whether or how those ads play out on the units themselves.
Overall the Watch will probably be most useful and valuable for customer service or to extend the value of the smartphone app rather than as a new or independent “advertising” platform. However notifications, if judiciously used, could become an effective marketing tool on wearables. But there must be considerable value for the user.
One of the annoying parts of the Android Wear experience is that you’re opted-in for notifications by default — and they become relentless. This may also be true of the Apple Watch.
As with the iPhone, all notifications should be opt-in and they should be useful and valuable enough that I will want to opt-in. If the app’s value isn’t self-evident and it can’t “earn” my notification, chances are it’s going to get deleted.