Repeat this simple mantra if you want to make killer Apple Watch apps

Joe Cieplinski, a designer with Bombing Brain Interactive, shares his knowledge about design at AltConf 2015.
Joe Cieplinski, a designer with Bombing Brain Interactive, shares his knowledge about design at AltConf 2015.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — The key to crafting great Apple Watch apps can be summed up with a simple mantra: “Make the user happy.”

That’s designer Joe Cieplinski’s approach to all design, really, but the precept is even more important than ever for developers making apps for Apple’s new wearable. Instead of attempting to cram all the features of an iPhone app onto that tiny screen, devs need to focus as much on what they leave out as what they include.

“That’s how you get a successful product,” Cieplinski, who works for Philadelphia-based Bombing Brain Interactive, told Cult of Mac after his AltConf panel here Tuesday. “It’s not just trying to be philosophical.”

Awesome iOS 8 widgets that make your Today screen worth tapping

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The Today view inside Notification Center was seen by many as a pretty pointless addition to iOS 7; it offered an incredibly brief overview of the day ahead and was somewhat customizable, but it did so little that most iPhone and iPad users forgot it was even there after a little while. That all changed with iOS 8 and support for third-party widgets.

Now the Today screen can be filled with useful information and handy little tools, such as calculators, currency convertors, weather widgets, and more. With the right apps, you can turn yours into a one-stop shop for all the data you care about.

To help you get started, here's a gallery of the best iOS 8 widgets you can get right now.

WeatherPro

WeatherPro is one of the best weather apps you can buy on iOS; it's feature-packed and incredibly accurate. And its widget makes it even more useful by providing you with the current forecast and temperature, in addition to things like wind speed and precipitation -- all inside Notification Center.

The WeatherPro app itself boasts 3-hourly forecasts for the week ahead, worldwide alerts and warnings for extreme weather, global satellites and animated radars, and the ability to add an unlimited number of favorite locations.

You can download WeatherPro from the App Store now for $1.99.

Wdgts

Wdgts is actually a whole bunch of useful widgets inside one app. It includes useful tools as standard, like a calculator, currency converter, calendar, and time zones -- in addition to a premium pack that offers a network monitor, battery stats, and memory and disk usage data. Wdgts also offers a photo frame, so you can feed it a few of your favorite pics and enjoy them inside Notification Center while you're checking on your calendar.

Wdgst is a free download while the premium pack add-on can be had for just $0.99.

Vidgets

Much like Wdgts, Vidgets contains a number of handy widgets that help you seek out useful information in a pinch. It has over 30 widgets in total, including a world clock, timer, barometer, speedometer, weather forecast, and compass. It'll also show your how much storage and memory you're using.

The best thing about Vidgets is that it's totally free -- all 30 widgets are included as standard and there are no ads or in-app purchases.

ESPN SportsCenter

The ScoreCenter widget is a must-have for sports fans. Simply log into the app using your SportsCenter account (it's free if you don't already have one) and select your favorite sports teams. SportsCenter will then keep you up to date on the latest scores inside Notification Center, so you'll never have to open an app again just to keep up with your teams. Whether you're into the NFL, NBA, NHL, or the English Premier League, SportsCenter has you covered.

You can download SportsCenter for free right now.

Google News & Weather

If you simply don't have time to keep up with the day's news, get the Google News widget and have breaking news headlines delivered right to your Today screen.

Inside the free Google News & Weather app, you can customize choose which sections and sources you see stories from, and then read top stories from each one. Google ensures you never miss big news even if you only have a few minutes to spare between meetings.

Fantastical 2

If you use the calendar on your iOS device, you really should have Fantastical 2 -- it's just terrific. It delivers all of the features you'd expect from a calendar app -- detailed events, reminders, and syncing with services like iCloud, Exchange, and Google Calendar -- plus some really nifty things like TextExpander. It also supports the feature that made Fantastical for Mac famous -- the ability to add events to your calendar using natural language. So, instead of filling out a bunch of boxes, you can type things like, "dinner with Tom at The Ivy at 1," and Fantastical will do the rest for you.

The Fantastical widget lets you quickly see whether you have appointments in your calendar for the day ahead, and helps you quickly find days on which your schedule isn't so packed.

Fantastical for iPhone is $1.99, and Fantastical for iPad is $4.99.

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Evernote

The Evernote widget simply makes the Evernote experience on iOS much greater. It provides five shortcuts that let you quickly add notes, photos, reminders, and lists to your notebooks. So if you're always opening up the Evernote app to add new things you don't want to forget, enable this widget inside Notification Center and make the process much simpler.

If you don't already have Evernote installed, it's a free download from the App Store.

Deliveries

The Deliveries app is a great way to track your packages from your iPhone or iPad. It will detect tracking numbers copied to your clipboard, and in most cases, automatically identify the courier. You can add as many parcels as you wish, then them to your door with the Deliveries app, or from inside Notification Center -- without having to type numerous tracking numbers into different websites.

Deliveries is a universal app compatible with iPhone and iPad, and you can get it now for $4.99.

Clear

Clear from Realmac Software has become one of the most adored to-do apps for iOS, but it's no longer just a list-maker. Thanks to support for reminders and its excellent widget, you can finally add important tasks and get alerts when they are due, ensuring you never forget that bottle of milk on the way home, or that important report that's due tomorrow morning.

Get CLear for iOS now for $4.99.

FedEx & UPS Warn NY, NJ & Other Sandy States Their iPad Minis Might Not Be Delivered Tomorrow

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Although Hurricane Sandy passed through the Northeastern United States on Monday, the aftermath is still being felt three days later. Not only is New York City still flooded and thousands still without power and electricity in many states, but FedEx and UPS are still experiencing disruptions to their delivery services.

What does this mean? If you live in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., or West VirginiaJersey, there’s a chance your iPad mini preorder won’t get delivered to you tomorrow. And if you live in New York or New Jersey? It’s pretty much a certainty you won’t get it.