After a long wait since its introduction last fall -- including eight months and two events -- the Apple Watch is finally reaching customers. Some who managed to order at midnight PT on April 10 are getting their watches now; others who ordered a few minutes later will have to wait until mid-May. That's how quickly the Watch sold out. (I'm somewhere in between; my order went in quickly enough to be in the first batch sold, but I haven't yet received my Watch. At least I can read over the newly posted Apple Watch User Guide while I wait.)
I've been combing through the Apple Watch app store's 3,000+ entries to figure out which apps I want (and which ones other Watch wearers might need). To explore the App Store, you need to first download the Apple Watch app to your iPhone -- it's the same app you'll use to pair the Watch up with your phone. Then you can search for apps just as you do on the desktop or an iDevice.
Cisco WebEx: Corporate users who subscribe to Cisco WebEx can now begin and end Personal Room meetings right from their wrist. You'll also be able to speak to other participants, view who is attending the current meeting, and mute/unmute. Meetings taken on the Watch can use corporate account information, and feature end to end encryption.
Geofencey Time Tracking: If your job requires you to track where you have been and for how long, there are a few apps that can log your time automatically when you leave and enter a geofenced location, making it easy to keep on top of the duration of your stay for, say, more accurate invoicing purposes. Geofencey Time Tracking lets you see recent destinations (with Map support) and hours spent in each location based on specific criteria, like the last day, week, or month.
Wunderlist: For collaboration, Wunderlist makes it easy to share lists or tasks of anything that needs to be done and you can even delegate tasks to to customized groups, whether it be family members, work colleagues, friends or some combo of the three. You create lists on your iPhone and iPad and access the lists on the Watch.
Evernote: If you're a fan of Evernote, you'll be happy to find you can dictate, view, and update notes on the go via dictation using the Watch. Of course, all new or modified notes will be synced back to all of your devices with Evernote installed, and you'll be notified by reminders and items that are due.
Keynote and Powerpoint: If you're a frequent presenter who uses either of these apps, you should know that both Keynote and Powerpoint have been updated to allow control of your slides from the Watch. That means no more fumbling around for the office remote control when you're supposed to begin your talk.
TripAdvisor and FlightTrack: Frequent travelers should check out these apps from services like TripAdvisor, which lets you view your trip information, see reviews, ratings and even images of your destination. If you're more focused specifically on flight info, you'll want FlightTrack 5, which delivers flight notifications, status, gate changes, as well as flight progress and related information.
JetBlue, Delta and British Airways: Not surprisingly, airlines are getting in on the action. JetBlue gives you access to flight status and related information such as gate, flight and terminal numbers, along with a scannable barcode so you don't have to pull out paperwork while juggling luggage; it also gives you a travel countdown to make sure you get to the fliught on time. Delta and British Airways have also released Watch apps that offer similar functionality.
Flush Toilet Finder Pro: There's nothing like wandering around a new city when nature calls; there's nothing worse than needing a bathroom and not knowing where the closest one is -- and speed is of the utmost importance. Flush Toilet Finder Pro gives you access to a database of over 100,000 public toilets, and offers directions on how to locate the closest one. Laugh all you want, but this app will help enormously in those moments when every second -- and every step -- counts.
Health and fitness
WebMD: If you're someone who has to take medicine regularly, the WebMD app offers info (via Glances you access by swiping up on the Watch face) and reminders about any medication you're taking along with details about when to take your meds, how much and how often. You'll never miss your water pill again. (See above.)
Fitness Spades: It's no secret that Apple is pushing Apple Watch as a fitness and activity tracker, and third parties are jumping on the bandwagon. Take for instance Fitness Spades, which makes working out a game. Press a button to draw a card, which correlates to a workout you can perform anywhere. The app tracks your activity and offers a helpful rest interval in between drawing the next card. The game is designed to push you to complete more cards in the deck than your previous time using the app.
VimoFit 7 Minute Workout: If you're into quick workouts, try the VimoFit 7 Minute Workout app. It guides you through a variety of exercises directly on the Watch.
RunKeeper: The popular iOS app RunKeeper has released an update that adds Watch support. Now you can start a workout, view stats, and end your run right from your wrist. And there's an option to shut out other notifications so you can focus on the road or path ahead without distraction.
Three more running apps: Although I use RunKeeper all of the time myself, it's not the only running app to have a Watch counterpart: Argus, Map My Run and Runtastic have also been updated with Watch support. If one of those happens to be your preferred app, that's the one to use.
Mint: If tracking finances from your wrist is useful, Mint lets you set and track daily and monthly spending limits, and lets you see how much you have spent for specific categories. Mint will also send notifications, which should help those who pay attention to it to stay on budget.
Epicurious: For wanna-be chefs and foodies, Epicurious lets you set a timer for more than 40 commonly cooked items like chicken, eggs, and pork right from your wrist. You'll get reminders of when to flip the items you're cooking, and the app promises to give pointers on what to look for when the food is properly cooked. Never burn a burger again!
Glide: If another friend has a Watch, you can send videos directly to their wrist using Glide. Although the Watch itself doesn't actually transmit videos, video messages that are received can be stored and responded to from the Watch.
Conversion: The Watch is best when used for quick interactions, and the Conversion app is useful because it allows you to quickly convert many common unit categories from your wrist. Categories include: length, temperature, weight, currency and time. You can even bookmark frequently accessed conversions for faster access.
As is obvious, the apps help make the Apple Watch what it is -- a truly personal computing device. These are just a handful of the apps already available for it, with many more on the way. A fair warning, though: it stands to reason that these apps may be buggy and unoptimized, as most of the developers did not even have access to a physical Watch during development. Considering how new the Watch platform is, it's likely that early adopters will run into annoying issues. But the fact that there are thousands of options immediately awaiting Watch owners is a huge advantage in terms of the device's ultimate success.
This story, "The 23 top Apple Watch apps you should get" was originally published by Computerworld.