How Apple Watch apps’ death spiral nearly killed my iPhone app

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Developing watch apps ain't easy
Developing watch apps ain't easy
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Two years ago, my partner and I launched an Apple Watch app to complement our iPhone fitness app. Little did we know that our embrace of Apple’s smartwatch would threaten the very existence of the gym app we’d been developing since 2012.

Each year since we launched Reps & Sets, we updated it to keep up-to-speed with all the cool new features Apple rolled out at its Worldwide Developers Conference. That all changed last year, though. That’s when we discovered that, by adding support for Apple Watch, we had inadvertently taken a poison pill that could effectively kill our iPhone app.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a few key changes, Apple could turns things around and reinvigorate the Apple Watch app ecosystem.

What your favorite apps look like on the Apple Watch

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Apple Watch isn't being too closely, err, watched. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

What will make or break the Apple Watch for most people isn’t a fancy band or the feel of the Digital Crown. It will be the apps they can use.

And after today’s Spring Forward event, it looks like a lot of apps will be ready for Watch on day one.

There won’t be an App Store on the Watch itself, but you’ll be able to install apps directly from a special section of the App Store on a paired iPhone. Here are what the hottest third-party Watch apps will look like, including ones Apple isn’t showing off on its site: