What the Tech: Apple Watches

What the Tech

One of the more popular gifts this holiday season was the Apple Watch. While Apple doesn’t release sales figures, one estimate is that the company has shipped around 24 million watches this year.

If you’re a new Apple watch owner, you might be wondering what all you can do with it.

By far the question I’ve gotten most from viewers during the holiday season was “which Apple watch should I get?” While the company doesn’t release sales figures for the Apple Watch, (at least for now), Retailers I’ve spoken to say it’s one of their top sellers. When I visited a Best Buy store a week before Christmas the Apple Watch display was more crowded than any other area of the store.

All of this to say, “there were a lot of Apple Watches under Christmas trees.”

The Apple Watch is capable of many things including keeping track of fitness goals, receiving and sending text messages and emails, and of course showing the weather conditions and forecast. Through apps specially made for the Apple Watch it can do much more. I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 Apple Watch apps I recommend downloading first.

Shazam | You know this app for quickly identifying songs it hears on the radio or streaming or from the television. I don’t know about you, but I’ve missed many a song that I wanted to know the title and artist, but I couldn’t get my phone and open the app fast enough. Shazam on the watch makes it easy. Shazam on the Apple Watch works the exact same as the iOS app. You open the app and tap the screen. I’ve found since Shazam is on my wrist, I can tap the screen even while driving without being distracted. Add the app (Apple calls them ‘complications’ to the watch homescreen and identifying the song and artist is as easy as tapping the screen. You can do this blindfolded. Just like the iOS version of Shazam, it will save the artist and title, so you can listen later or purchase it in iTunes.

Fantastical | I use several calendar apps on my phone, iPad and computer screen. Google calender, the stock iOS app and Microsoft’s Outlook. I’ll use whatever is handy. Fantastical aggregates all of those calendar entries into one space. On the Apple Watch, Fantastical sits in the middle of my home screen and displays my next appointment and reminder. Fantastical is one of the nicer apps for the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. The downside is you have to purchase it for iPhone and iPad.

Sleep ++ | Since you can wear the Apple Watch to bed, you can monitor your sleep. Sleep ++ is the best app for this that I’ve tried. It will determine if you’re sleeping automatically or you can turn it on manually. The app, or complication, monitors your pulse and breathing pattern to determine how you’re sleeping. If you slept for 8 hours, Sleep ++ will show how much of that was restful and what percentage was restless. The information is automatically logged into the health app on your iphone.

Todoist | The Apple Watch is great for productivity and Todoist is one of the dozens of ‘to-do’ complications in the app store. I’ve found it easiest to set a ‘to-do’ on the phone and it shows up automatically on the watch. You’ll get a reminder that the task needs to be completed at a certain time or even when you arrive at a location. Todoist also has an Alexa skill where you can simply say “Alexa, set a Todoist reminder to…”

Pccalc lite | There is no stock calculator app on the Apple Watch (I know, why is that?). Fortunately, you can download the free app pccalc. It’s a simple calculator app that does a great job of determining which number your finger is trying to tap. There is a pro-version of pccalc, but it’s $10.

The Apple Watch is a powerful device for being or staying productive, these apps make it even easier

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