The idea of the smartwatch has been floating around our collective culture ever since the introduction of comic book hero Dick Tracy’s wrist communicator way back in 1946. But it wasn’t until just a few years ago that the concept really came to fruition. Even still, the ones on the market were clunky and unreliable. Then, Apple changed everything with their first iteration of the Apple Watch.
Now with the third generation sitting squarely at the top of the market, Apple’s reign in the realm of smartwatches is clear. And their device does a whole lot more than we ever imagined it could – so long as you find and install the right apps. We can now track our personal finances, play games, and even map the night sky – all with this little piece of tech we wear on our wrists.
And yes, Apple themselves have developed some decent pre-installed apps that come on every Apple Watch sold. But, rather than settle for the famed brand’s application afterthoughts – which many of them are – we believe some of the absolute best apps come from outside developers. Which is why we put together the following list of 18 apps everyone should install on their Apple Watch. Whether you need a quick and easy way to stay in contact with friends and coworkers, want to keep accurate records of specific exercises, or you just want to keep an eye on the weather, there’s an app here for you.
A Tiny Game of Pong
Everybody needs a little mindless entertainment here and there. And that’s exactly what A Tiny Game of Pong has to offer. As you might garner from its name, this Apple Watch app delivers one of the very first ever video games in small form directly to your wrist tech. That’s all there is to it: just a small touchscreen game of Pong – quick, easy, and fun.
Unfortunately, navigation is one of the things Apple just hasn’t grasped all that well. But that’s okay when we’ve got things like Citymapper at our disposal. This app will let you track your journey around any city, gives real-time information on subway/train departures and delays, features Uber integration, and has constant updates to keep you informed and able to make the right travel decisions with a second’s notice.
Sure, people in the Southwestern United States where it’s always sunny probably don’t need constant and in-depth weather updates. For the rest of us, however, it can be a make-or-break situation to know when, where, and how bad the weather changes will be – especially if you have any plan to be outdoors. With Dark Sky, you can keep an eye on your weather with warnings up to an hour in advance and can check upcoming forecasts with up-to-the-minute accuracy.
For frequent travelers in the digital age, keeping track of the amount of money you spend abroad can be a bit difficult – especially because more and more places accept credit cards and cash is needed less and less. Still, even if you’re swiping with plastic, you need to keep an eye on money conversions to know how much you’re spending in local currency. And there’s nothing quicker and easier than Elk. This travel currency app will automatically detect where you are, choose the proper currency, and is as easy as punching in the amount of money you spend.
There is not a single month in the year during which a major sport is not being played somewhere in the world. And, for sports fans, that can be a lot to keep track of all the time. Stay up to date with pertinent scores, information on your favorite teams, and any other scuttlebutt around the sports world – even when you’re away from your phone – by installing the ESPN app on your Apple Watch.
Knowing where you’re headed is one thing, but knowing how long it’s going to take you to get from point A to point B is arguably as, if not more important. And that’s what ETA is all about. This handy app is updated nearly instantaneously with information regarding public transit, freeway and city street congestion, and even walking speed to tell you exactly when you will arrive at your destination. With ETA you can always be on Lombardi time.
If you find yourself frequently in non-English speaking countries, getting by can be a little tough. But it’s arguably tougher to learn even one foreign language without years of practice. The iTranslate Converse app works like a quick-and-easy go-between – not as slow as actually learning, but not as obnoxious as expecting everyone you meet to speak your native tongue. Think of it like a pocket translation dictionary, only it’s on your Apple Watch, is a lot quicker, and will actually turn your speech into audible translations.
Just Press Record
For some people, voice memos are an incredibly helpful tool when it comes to remembering important and pertinent information. But, if you like to use them, what do you do when you aren’t near your phone? Well, if you have an Apple Watch, you can download the Just Press Record app and have the ability to make voice memos on the fly, phone or not. All you have to do is open the app, hit the big red button, and talk. The app will store it in your watch until you sync it with your phone or connect to the cloud and will even transcribe it in writing.
Uber is still the reigning largest ridesharing app on the market, but Lyft is popping up more and more in cities all around the world. And truly, Lyft has a definite edge on the more-popular Uber – like better reviewed customer service; a more stringent driver qualification policy; and generally better overall pricing, as well as pickup and ride options. Just make sure this one covers your city or the cities to which you are traveling before depending upon it.
One of the most difficult things to keep track of in our world of monthly subscriptions and microtransactions is a personal budget. That is, unless you download the Mint app. This super simple Apple Watch app will let you easily keep track of your spending, will let you manage your money all in one place, and will even let you set spending allotments for things like groceries, gas, or even fun money. And, you can look back at your spending habits to give you an idea of how to proceed with your finances in the future.
You don’t have to be an astronomer to have an appreciation for the heavenly bodies – be they stars, planets, comets, satellites, or otherwise – that surround our tiny planet. But it definitely will help to download the Night Sky app if you’re not an expert on space and all the things in it. This application will allow you to identify everything visible up there from constellations to nearby nebulas and everything in-between.
Life can get a little bit dull and repetitive, despite all the crazy things that happen around the world every day. And that can be bad for your mental fortitude. Stay on top of your game with this handy brain training app. Peak, which offers up a mixture of puzzles, memory challenges, and other mini-games will help keep you sharp as a tack and will even let you track your scores and your progress along the way.
Another superb personal finance app, Pennies lets you keep track of your spending habits, the money at your disposal, and allows users to set personal timed savings goals and will go a long way toward helping you achieve them. It can also sync all of your budgets via the iCloud Apple application, works with multiple monetary denominations, and won Apple’s ‘Editor’s Choice’ award – not bad for a budget app.
This workplace communication app has a current valuation of over $5 billion. And while that’s an absolutely absurd amount of money, it’s also a good indicator of exactly how valuable Slack is as a service. If you work in an environment where communication is key and you need to keep in touch with your entire team as quickly and easily as possible, you’re not going to find a better option than this. And since it also has Apple Watch compatibility, the bar has been raised even higher.
If your exercise regimen includes running, cycling, and/or both, you’ll want to download the Strava app onto your Apple Watch. This clever app melds together fitness tracking with a bit of social media to help you keep a record of your workouts, achievements, routes, and lets you share them all with fellow fitness enthusiasts in the area. You can even compete with one another, if you so choose.
Think of Viewranger like a comprehensive outdoor exercise app with a focus on hiking navigation. That is to say, this Apple Watch app will let you find, track, map out, and share hikes from around the world. What’s even better is that this one has a host of offline functionality – meaning you can download maps and routes directly to your watch and access them even when you’re out of cellular range.
Another excellent outdoor exercise app, WorkOutDoors is unique in a couple of ways. For starters, the vectorized maps are color coordinated to let you know whether the route is ascending, descending, or just flat – and they’re easily zoomed, rotated, and panned. It also gives you the option to show or hide underlying routes and non-route available trails in the area. And it will even let you download location-based batch routes which you can choose from offline.
Is there any better service out there than Yelp for finding businesses and getting an idea of their services and their overall quality? We think not. And, now that there’s Apple Watch integration, the availability of Yelp’s services is even easier to access. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat or you’re ready to write a review on the meal you’ve just finished, this is the app with which to do it.
40 Best Gadgets For Men
Now that you’ve got your Apple Watch all loaded up and ready to go, there are some other things you might need to keep you on top of your game. You can find them all here on our list of the 40 best gadgets for men.