5 Apple Watch apps that are best left unmade

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Netflix Watch
Don't look for Netflix on your Apple Watch any time soon. You'd go blind.
Photo: Netflix (via YouTube)

The Apple Watch has been out for a few months now, and it’s given us plenty of time to decide what we do and don’t want from the wearable. It’s a versatile device, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean that we expect it to do everything for us. In fact, a lot of the apps that we use all the time on our iPhones and iPads would be ill-suited, if not impossible for that plucky little screen.

Here are some Apple Watch apps that wouldn’t break our hearts if nobody ever got around to making them.

Facebook

The Motley Fool recently examined why the biggest social-media site in the world isn’t on our wrists, and it reached a simple conclusion: The screen is too small.

And as fun and gimmicky as it might be to use Force Touch to really Poke our friends, the News Feed isn’t just status updates anymore. You see cat videos, dog videos, monkey videos, thinly veiled racist videos from that one uncle that everyone has, memes, photos, game notifications, and a whole bunch of other stuff that you really don’t want to cram onto a 38 or 42mm screen.

Never mind that “Facebook” is now two apps: The basic social platform and Messenger. Messenger could probably work on the Apple Watch in a bare-bones capacity (i.e. text and those goddamned stickers), but the app is also a monetization platform, and really, the only way I’d like to buy anything through my Watch is with Apple Pay.

So it wouldn’t make sense for Facebook to spend the resources to make a watered-down version of apps that are always going to work better on a larger screen.

Netflix

Speaking of smaller screens …

I know that the Apple Watch can handle videos that people send you through Messages, but can you imagine watching Orange Is the New Black or Daredevil on that thing? It’s like an even greater realization of developer David Lynch’s fears in this NSFW clip:

He’s talking about super-surreal Inland Empire in that video, a film which makes equal amounts of sense regardless of how big it is.

If Netflix wants to put something on your wrist, it should follow Hulu’s lead and make a remote. That’s really the smart way to go.

Pages

Apple’s superpowered word-processing document Pages is packed with templates and formatting tools to help you make the prettiest articles, letters, and grocery lists possible. But your Apple Watch wouldn’t help you with that at all.

Dictating a quick text or two on your wrist is convenient and easy, but that doesn’t mean that we want to draft entire documents from our smartwatches. Never mind that Siri’s ability to pick up punctuation depends on you very clearly enunciating the word and hoping that the virtual assistant doesn’t think that you’re talking about someone’s large intestine instead of those two dots that separate clauses or express ratios.

Apple Watch is good for a lot of things, but I don’t think you’d want to make your résumé on there. Not if you hope to get hired, anyway.

GarageBand

GarageBand Mac
You could maaaaaybe play “Chopsticks.”
Photo: Apple

When Apple first launched the iPad, one of the main complaints was that it was light on productivity apps. The company has made up for that since then with some applications that let you create things right on your tablet, like Pages and its music-editing system GarageBand.

Apple Watch is running into a similar issue where people aren’t sure what it’s “for,” but it’s a lot more limited in what developers can do with it. And that’s fine because it’s a convenience and notifications device and not a means of production.

So you shouldn’t get too heartbroken that you probably won’t bring up a tiny, tiny piano on your wrist to plink out a few notes for your latest opus. First of all, that would look ridiculous. Secondly, it would be incredibly difficult to do. That’s not to say that it’s impossible, but it’s just not something that should happen.

Most games ever made

Sure, Apple Watch has some standout titles that work just fine on the tiny screen, like Letterpad. But does that mean that we want to play Angry Birds or The Room Two from our wrists?

Not even a little bit. But Flappy Bird fits everywhere because it’s basic and dumb.

Developers of Apple Watch apps need to take that extra time to decide whether the new platform is a good fit for their project. And Apple Watch is good at a lot of things, but most games just aren’t going to work. A few taps here and there are fine, but those birds and rooms would probably just make your eyes explode if you tried to cram them into that screen. And never mind the analog controls that bird-slinging demands. Accuracy and precision would be ridiculously difficult, especially since your finger would block most of the screen.

Jurassic Park Ian Malcom could should
Developers, uh, find a way.
Photo: PandaWhale

We’re going to start seeing native Apple Watch apps when Watch OS2 launches this fall. Hopefully, developers take a cue from Dr. Malcolm up there.