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Every built-in Apple Watch app, ranked

Susie Ochs | May 11, 2015
The apps that come with your Apple Watch run the gamut from super useful to superficial, but no matter what you think of any of them, they're not going away. On your iPhone, you can just make a folder of the un-deletable Apple apps (looking at you, Compass and Tips), so at least they're out of sight and out of mind. But the Apple Watch doesn't support folders, and you can't hide or delete any of its 20 built-in apps.

Verdict: A- Controlling the Apple TV is a joy — except for the rare times I need to enter text, and if the next version of the Apple TV gets Siri support, that'll help a lot. Controlling an iTunes library on a Mac is less useful, but still nice to have.

9. Phone

Yes, you can make and receive phone calls on the Apple Watch, as long as your paired iPhone is in range. The watch acts as a little speakerphone, and you can talk into your wrist, and hear the replies come from the watch's built-in speaker. It works pretty well — I even used it in the car without turning the radio all the way down, and my friend and I were able to hear each other pretty well. I appreciate that you can listen to voicemails directly on the watch, too. Just don't ask Siri to play them, or she'll try to hand you off to your iPhone.

This is best for quick calls, in my opinion. I probably wouldn't want to conduct a long, rambling conversation while mumbling into my wrist like Dick Tracy. Well, maybe if I was lying in down, so I could just kind of prop my arm near my face. You know, if my iPhone was way across the room. (Yes, I admit that for a watch that doubles as a fitness tracker, this is a very lazy scenario to dream up.)

Verdict: A- Phone's solid performance was something of a surprise — who knew a wrist-worn Bluetooth speakerphone would be so convenient? But it's still more awkward than just talking on the phone.

10. Weather

The Weather app supports multiple cities, and its interface is really cool. While most weather apps for the iPhone display hour-by-hour forecasts in a linear timeline, Weather on the Apple Watch has a cool circular interface that looks right at home on a watch. For each city, the current temperature is in the center of a ring, with hourly conditions circling the outside. You can tap that display to toggle to an hourly temperature forecast, and a precipitation forecast. Or you can force-tap the screen to jump directly from one to another.

Swiping across the screen changes the city, but you can't add new cities directly from the watch. That isn't a big deal, though, since your current location is always in the list, wherever you are. You can add new cities in the Weather app on your iPhone, and select which is the default for the watch in the Apple Watch app for iPhone. The Weather app's glance shows only that default city (which can be Current Location), and tends to load somewhat slowly, but comes in very handy when you need to see if you should bring your jacket.

 

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