The first wave of Apple Watch reviews arrived Wednesday morning.
The reviews are mostly positive, but CNET’s Scott Stein pointed out one particular drawback: The apps just aren’t there yet. He notes the original iPhone didn’t have any apps out of the gate, but “the Apple Watch’s early apps feel like those apps from the first days of the iPhone: simple menus, basic functions, common interfaces.”
Most apps aim for bare-bones utility. Apple has suggested that Watch apps aim for no more than 5-10 seconds of interactivity at a time. That shows in the design of many apps. Of the 33 or so I’ve seen so far, the ones I’ve liked the most have been Twitter, Evernote, The New York Times, CNN and TripAdvisor. But none of apps feels as elegant as Apple’s own onboard software.
Third-party apps probably feel slow because they only work as an extension from your phone. No, literally, you need to download the app on your phone, and your phone will basically cross-load an extension onto your Apple Watch. So the Watch is basically streaming data from your phone, not directly from the web. Stein says these aps, as a result, “work more like remote phone apps — they tend to load slowly.”
Hopefully at some point, the Apple Watch can stream data directly from the internet so apps can load more quickly. The Apple Watch’s third-party apps also don’t work offline, Stein notes, and it’s unclear when we’ll see that capability added.
“Built-in Apple apps, on the other hand, work far more smoothly,” Scott added.
Check out Stein’s full Apple Watch review for CNET. The Apple Watch arrives on April 24, but pre-orders start this Friday.