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Third-party complications are a bigger deal than native Apple Watch apps

Michael Simon | June 10, 2015
If the Watch is all about getting you in and getting you out, complications have the best real estate in town.

Natural selection

The best devices are the ones that are able to seamlessly integrate into our lives with a low adaptation curve. Apple Watch accomplished that extraordinarily quickly. In less than a day I barely reached for my iPhone anymore. The various things I would obsess overnamely important emails, messages and callssmoothly routed to my wrist and quickly relieved my worry that I might miss one.

It wasn't just that I was checking my phone less; once the novelty of newness wore off, I also used my Watch far less than I imagined I would. While I rarely pull down the Notification Center on my iPhone, Glances on my Apple Watch are a perfect space for widgets, offering the quick bites of information that I crave within seconds. I can check a score, the forecast, Twitter mentions, or my data usage without entering an app. Apple Watch is a perfect platform for widgets, and I'm far more interested in how Glances will benefit from the native performance of their companion apps.

But third-party complications are the real prize here. It would be ideal if they could automatically change throughout the daylike, for example, a stock could show while the market is open or flip to reflect flight times on the day you're travelingbut a deeper level of personalization on the de facto lock screen expands Apple Watch's capabilities far wider than native apps. iOS and OS X have been taking steps to deliver data without needing to open and close apps as often, but on those devices, apps still make the most sense. I don't mind spending time with my Mac or iPhone, but with my Watch I want to put my wrist down as quickly as possibly; once developers begin to embrace the beauty and simplicity of the complication, even the number of times I need to use the Glances on my watch will likely drop considerably.

Now I just have to wait for the Faces API.


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