When Airbnb set out to design an app for the Apple Watch, its team did so like a master woodcarver. Whittle away until you leave what is essential.
The popular community hospitality network launched a watch app today that provides a simple messaging hub for hosts and guests. Travelers can send a host a message with name, photo and requested dates. A host can accept or decline right on the wrist and respond to messages, either through dictation or a preset response.
Rather than port its existing iOS app to the watch, the Airbnb watch team started from scratch.
“The Apple Watch is very much a secondary device, a second screen, if you will of the iPhone,” Isaac Lim wrote on Airbnb’s blog, Nerds. “Naturally, it flows that our watch app should be just that: a lightweight extension of the Airbnb iOS app.”
The Apple Watch has not proven itself as a primary computing platform. But the strength of the watch will be demonstrated by app design that brings simple and exciting uses for the watch.
Travelers using Airbnb will still need to use their larger devices to search listings, create online profiles and submit booking requests (Airbnb is already part of Apple’s Passbook). The watch app is designed for on-the-go messaging, like sending an ETA or asking about a Wi-Fi password.
Founded in 2008, Airbnb has more than 1.5 million listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries. It is a website that allows people to list spare rooms for travelers searching for alternatives to hotels.
Click here to download the free watch app from iTunes.