10 apps Apple Watch newbies need

These apps give you power at a glance

Apple, Apple Watch, iOS, iOS 9, Watches 2, mobile apps
Jonny Evans

IBM’s Watson AI robot reckons Apple Watch will be the biggest holiday gift this season, according to Watson Trend.

So how will you use your new Apple Watch?

Two recent studies confirm the most common uses of Apple Watch (starts at $349 direct; check Amazon price) are things like checking time, Activity & notifications, short message responses, Siri, health and heart rate checks. All of these uses are pretty instant, so I’ve selected several apps I think you’ll use:

Just Press Record ($1.99)

Open Planet Software

When you’re in a meeting, lecture or talking to a corrupt public official you may find this app useful. Tap the big red record button and you can capture recordings on your watch even when your iPhone isn’t around, recordings sync next time they connect and are available in iCloud.

Drafts 4 ($9.99)

Agile Tortoise

Drafts is the best note taking app you’ll find. On iOS devices it delivers powerful features, but I think Apple Watch users should love it because it offers them quick and easy way to dictate text, and lets you work with the notes you make. It’s an excellent example of a useful low friction solution for Watch users.

Also read: 11 must-have Apple Watch apps

Vine (free)


I think people will grow to love Vine on Apple Watch. It lets you play Vine video clips on your wrist and lets you watch how successfully received your own clips have been. I think people will use this a lot to stay connected (though you’ll need your iPhone to send a video clip back).

Fantastical 2 ($2.99)


This is the best calendar app arround, supporting your iCloud, Exchange, Fruux and Google calendars into a quick Glance, so you can easily track upcoming events. Speak to add new events and scroll though your day using the Digital Crown. The reminders function is nice and unobtrusive. It works by tapping you on the wrist. This is a nice, low friction, high utility app for your Apple Watch.

iTranslate (free)


Travelling abroad? Take this app. Select the destination language with a firm touch on the watch face, dictate what you wish to translate and then speak or play the translation to help make yourself understood. You can even translate what people say back, if you can figure out how to get them to speak into the watch.

Find Near Me (free)

XLabz Technologies

Travelling? Then make sure you get this handy app that uses location services to help you find things you need (ATM? Bar? Beauty salon? Wi-Fi?) with a glance and tap on Apple Watch. It even gives step-by-step instructions to get you there.

CityMapper (free)


If you are travelling then you’ll be happy you installed CityMapper. This multi-award-winning app basically acts like a ‘Get me home’ tool that scans every mode of transport available from where you are to help you get to where you’re going. It will tell you routes, stops and wait times, and even taps you on the wrist when you are close to your stop so you don’t miss it.

Uber (free)


Uber on Apple Watch offers a stripped down set of features: choose and request cabs, find out how long you have to wait and get told when your Uber drive arrives. Pretty much all you need to get yourself home on a party night.

Runkeeper (free)


Fitness is another key use for Apple Watch. Whatever your exercise, Runkeeper tracks your elapsed time, distance and heart rate and all exercise it logs counts toward completing your Activity ring, which is neat.

Sleep++ (free)

David Smith

This app uses the motion tracking sensors in Apple Watch to monitor your sleep patterns, passing the data over to your iPhone where you’ll find the insights you need to help improve your sleep.

Updated to add: Dark Sky ($3.99)

Dark Sky

One of my readers reminded me to include this app. Dark Sky on Apple Watch is absolutely the best up-to-the-minute weather app you’ll find. It offers a high degree of detail, has background animations that inform you of the weather and provides a host of additional info with a single swipe. I was remiss to ignore it, as I think you'll love it.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

Bing’s AI chatbot came to work for me. I had to fire it.
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