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If you’re a developer like me, you can sometimes get a case of the frownies when a promising platform is lacking in software that is up to snuff. Take for instance, the Sega Dreamcast. Powerstone and Soul Calibur were great, but where was the killer app that really harnessed the system?!? I’m not bitter–I swear I’m not bitter–about shelling out for the Dreamcast and feeling like I wasted a couple hundred dollars and unquantifiable hopes and dreams. No, I definitely didn’t do that…

On a more immediate and relevant note, one platform that we’re still waiting to see be fully harnessed is the Apple Watch. What the Apple Watch has over a smart phone is it’s immediacy. All you have to do is look at your wrist for updates, tap a button on your wrist to interact with an app, or wave your wrist to activate new gesture features. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen time and time again is a number of apps designed for smart phones that are merely ported to the Apple Watch interface.

In any case where a product is simply being transposed from medium to medium, something gets lost. The goal is to build a product that is meant for a medium.

So enough with the frownies. Here are 6 Apple Watch apps that will make you smile:

A Tiny Game of Pong

image of tiny game of pong on an apple watch

The cutest version of Pong you’ll ever see.

Wait a second? Does this seem like a direct contradiction of the above statements? Is this just a port of Pong? Well…it’s a bit more than that. This cute game allows you to control your paddle with the Digital Crown (an Apple Watch feature that emulates the original twisty-knob controls) and sends a little vibration to your wrist whenever your paddle connects with the ball. It’s simple. It’s tactile. It uses Apple Watch tech to deliver a bite-sized dose of nostalgia.


Image of the Chipotle app

Use the Burrito Button.

Talk about immediacy. With Chipotle’s Apple Watch app, all you have to do is craft your order and a pickup location, and then the app will save your presets onto the Burrito Button. Thats it. You’ll never have to look at a Chipotle menu again. Want food? Just press the button. I predict that one-click features like this will be a trend to watch. Dominos has already followed suit. But imagine the possibilities outside of food!


Images of peel on an apple watch

Become the master of your entertainment domain with Peel.


Who needs old-fashioned remotes? With the Peel app (and requisite Pronto hardware) you’ll now be able to control over 400,000 models of home electronics (TVs, media players, streaming devices, and more). Although this doesn’t necessarily best harness the immediacy of the Apple Watch, it’s a neat step in being able to control more things from your wrist.


Image of lifeline icon

Help a fictional character survive on an alien Planet with Lifeline.

If there’s one game you get on your watch, it’s this. Lifeline basically turns your Watch into an intergalactic IM-based messenger. The person you’re speaking with is Taylor. She/he is marooned on an alien planet and needs your advice in order to survive. With great writing and real-time updates, Lifeline gets you to care about a fictional character in a way that you never thought was possible.


Image of sleep on an Apple Watch.

Sleep better with Sleep++.

Sleep is important and we’re only now getting discreet and economical means of monitoring it. This free app uses the Watch’s accelerometer to measure deep sleep, light sleep, restlessness, and wakefulness. All you have to do is hit a start and stop button to begin recording. With Sleep’s most recent update, you’re now be able to sync it up with the HealthKit and Health apps, and also trim the record of your night’s sleep in the event that you forgot to turn it off. Sleep++ is proof that developers can get more mileage out of existing apps through updates.

Tesla Summon

Image of tesla summon and a tesla car

Control a car from your wrist with Tesla Summon

Tesla Autopilot already offers a number of ways to engage with your Tesla car (if you’re lucky enough to own one of those), but recently Tesla added a new feature called Summon that allows owners to remotely control their vehicle…without anyone inside of it. Spooky. But also really exciting. Who would have thought that you’d be able to summon a car…with your wrist. The technology is currently is still limited to a distance of 39 ft., but Elon Musk envisions that you’ll one day be able to summon your car from across the country. Neat.

For more tech updates, follow me @EstebanRules