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App store
Nothing makes it onto an Apple App Store without a human looking at it. That takes less time than you might think.
Photo: Apple

Shift Keyboard lets you tap out your messages on Apple Watch

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Apple Watch
Coming soon to a wrist near you.
Photo: Adam Foot

Right now, the easiest way to write messages on Apple Watch is using voice control or Apple’s recommended responses. But one intrepid developer wants to go back to the past by adding a keyboard to Apple’s wearable device.

His app, Shift Keyboard, just launched in the App Store. Developer Adam Foot spoke with Cult of Mac to try and sell us on the idea.

Instapaper kills its Apple Watch app

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Instapaper for Apple Watch
Instapaper on Apple Watch was surprisingly decent.
Photo: Instapaper

Instapaper has become the latest big service to ditch its Apple Watch app.

The most recent Instapaper app update removes the Apple Watch component, and there are apparently no plans to bring it back. One Instapaper developer explains that it didn’t prove popular enough to warrant a required rebuild for watchOS.

Understand your sleep patterns with Pillow [50 Essential iOS Apps #35]

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Pillow on Apple Watch report
Pillow users your Apple Watch or iPhone for sleep tracking and reporting your sleep quality.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: pillow sleep tracker appDo you ever wake up feeling exhausted, even though you are sure you slept well the night before? Or do you find yourself getting that 2:30 feeling a few hours early without any clear explanation? With the Pillow sleep app for iPhone and Apple Watch, you can get detailed analysis of your nightly slumber. Even better, you can gain insight into your body’s ideal sleep and wake times.

Add some personality to your forecast with Carrot Weather [50 Essential iOS Apps #32]

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Carrot Weather forecast says its hot hot hot
Carrot weather tells it like it is... rain or shine, frigid or inferno.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Carrot Weather app Weather can be exciting, but checking the weather rarely is. Regardless of what’s going on outside, Carrot Weather makes checking the forecast hilarious and fun. Better than that, Carrot Weather offers an Apple Watch app that is best in class for the platform.

Alexa will now take your questions on Apple Watch

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Alexa App
Voice in a Can lets you talk to Alexa on your Apple Watch.
Photo: Atadore/Apple App Store

Amazon has not launched an Alexa app for watchOS, but new third-party software lets you sideline Siri on your Apple Watch should you prefer the voice of Alexa.

The app, Voice in a Can, will also work on iPhone and iPad, though the voice assistant won’t do all the things it does on the Amazon Echo.

iPhone dependence is killing Apple Watch. Here’s how Cupertino could fix it.

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It’s time to cut the cable and set Apple Watch free
It’s time to cut the cable and set Apple Watch free
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

For activity tracking, fitness and notifications, Apple Watch is pretty awesome, and these days, that’s all most people use it for. Which is a shame.

When it launched back in 2015, Apple had a much bigger vision: a wearable computing platform supporting a rich and varied ecosystem of apps. Like an iPhone strapped to your wrist. But the reality has turned out to be rather different. Instagram is just the latest of a series of high profile apps to desert the platform. So what’s up?

I believe Apple Watch’s dependence on iPhone is holding it back, and the time has come for Cupertino to set its smartwatch free. In this, the third and final part of my wish list of watchOS 5 features, I’ll focus on how I hope Apple will improve setup, apps and iCloud to create a badass stand-alone device.

Day of reckoning looms for old, slow Apple Watch apps

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watchOS 1 app warning
Opening a watchOS 1 app on a device running that latest beta of watchOS 4.3.1 gets this warning.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The latest watchOS beta warns that support will end soon for applications that haven’t been updated for years. This is part of an ongoing push by Apple to get all third-party apps that were written for the first-generation Software Development Kit updated to something more recent.

Unfortunately, this drive is instead causing some developers to drop their out-of-date Apple Watch apps.

Why Apple Watch apps are dying off in droves

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timestand
People would rather look at Instagram on a Mac than an Apple Watch.
Photo: Just Mobile

Apple Watch sells very well, but apparently not strongly enough for some companies. A deadline requiring developers to base their apps on newer versions of watchOS just passed, and some businesses choose to pull their software rather than update it.

Instagram garnered the most attention, but there are surely other examples.