A View from Rachel Metz
Some Big App Makers Aren’t Feeling the Apple Watch
Is the Apple Watch in trouble? Facebook, Google and others haven’t rolled out their most popular apps for the device.
When Apple reports its latest quarterly results Tuesday afternoon, many people will be hoping to learn something about how the company’s newest gadget, the Apple Watch is selling.
Chances are Apple won’t reveal much, but as a piece in The New York Times noted today, some big app makers–namely Facebook, Google, and Snapchat–are skeptical about its usefulness. They’re holding off on adapting some of their popular smartphone apps to the wrist-worn gadget as they try to figure out how people are using it. Although there is an Apple Watch app for Facebook’s Instagram service, there’s currently no Facebook app, nor is there one for Snapchat. Google News & Weather is available for the Apple Watch, but Google Maps and Gmail are not.
It makes sense that some popular app makers wouldn’t be rushing out an Apple Watch app, especially since general consumer feelings about it seem lukewarm at best. I’d bet Snapchat’s disppearing messages would be awkward to deal with on the Apple Watch’s tiny display, and if you’re not even sure how many people are wearing the device and using it regularly, you’d be less inclined to spend time and money building an app for it.
And perhaps app makers are holding back because they’re afraid they can’t cram in all the essentials that make their smartphone apps work so well. I would have expected Facebook to have an app out at or around the Apple Watch’s launch, yet so far it hasn’t happened. Adam Mosseri, who’s in charge of Facebook’s newsfeed, told The NYT in an interview that he doesn’t know if Facebook could fit its product into a form that “feels good and works well” on the Apple Watch without prompting users to reach for their phones instead.
If that’s the case, and if other app makers feel similarly, it could be bad news for Apple–especially since most smart watches are still positioned as tools to augment, rather than replace, your smartphone. Sure, there are plenty of big app makers already making Apple Watch apps, like Yelp, Twitter, Amazon, and Evernote. But if you can’t convince the world’s biggest social network to make one, too, that’s a problem.