Apple Watch apps kinda suck, but Cupertino hopes you won’t notice

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watch bands march 21 apple event
Apple Watch apps were conspicuous in their absence at this week's Apple event.
Photo: Apple

At this week’s “Let us loop you in” keynote, Apple revealed a major shift in its smartwatch strategy. Tim Cook tried to dress it up by announcing new Apple Watch bands and a price drop, but the most significant aspect was what he did not say: There was no mention of third-party Watch apps.

After Monday’s keynote, Apple updated its website with a new marketing proposition that represents a tacit acknowledgment that, right now, Apple Watch is only good for three things: notifications, fitness and health.

What happened to the idea that there is an app for everything?

Apple drops new betas for iOS 9, tvOS, watchOS and OS X El Capitan

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iOS 9.3 beta 6 is here!
iOS 9.3 beta 6 is here!
Photo: Apple

Apple is ready to kick off the new year with a batch of beta software for testing. The company just made new builds of iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2, tvOS 9.2 and OS X 10.11.4 available to developers.

The new pre-release versions of iOS, tvOS and OS X can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center. Testers won’t be able to install watchOS 2.2 on their timepieces until their iPhone, iPad or iPad touch has been updated with the new Apple Watch app in iOS 9.3 beta 1.

Apple drops new software for Watch and TV, too

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WatchOS 2.0.1 is out.
WatchOS 2.0.1 is out.
Photo: Apple

The first big updates for iOS 9 and El Capitan were released by Apple this morning, but the company has some smaller updates for the Apple Watch and Apple TV 4, too.

The GM for tvOS was seeded today to developers who already got their hands on the early release Apple TV 4 units. That software will be the final version the new set-top box ships with next week. Apple Watch owners also received an update in the form of watchOS 2.0.1.

The Apple Watch update contains the following fixes:

Where are all the watchOS 2 fitness apps?

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Runtastic's text is sometimes too small to read while running
Runtastic's text is sometimes too small to read while running
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

WatchOS 2 offers cool new features for third-party fitness apps. But a week after its launch, most leading fitness apps have yet to go native and take advantage of the Apple Watch update.

So what’s up? The answer may lie in Apple’s new workout API, which does not provide the GPS coordinates required for apps to map your run or cycle ride.

Does Apple Watch really need a ‘killer app’?

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What's wrong with thousands of great apps?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch is missing a “killer app.”

At least that’s what some say. Apple’s first wearable has been selling well, but its inability to convince everyone they need a smartwatch since it went on sale in late April is being blamed on its lack of stellar software by some analysts. But are they right?

Friday-Night-Fights-bug-2Does Apple Watch really need a killer app to become the next iPod (in sales terms), or will it do perfectly well with thousands of great apps?

Join us as we battle it out over these questions and more in this week’s Friday Night Fight between Cult of Android and Cult of Mac!

Pro Tip: Your Apple Watch’s Activation Lock may already be on

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Apple Watch Siri
Yes, Siri. It's already on.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugThis week’s release of watchOS 2 brings a much-needed security update to Apple’s wearable by adding Activation Lock to the device, and the great news is that you may not even have to do anything to add it.

Activation Lock has been around for a while for other Apple devices, and its purpose is to keep thieves from using them even if they manage to get ahold of your preciouses. The first version of watchOS only included basic locking features and a passkey, which wouldn’t keep smart evildoers from gaining access to sensitive data like your Apple Pay data.

Here’s how the feature shows up on the Apple Watch.

10 native apps that give Apple Watch some independence

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Native apps, like Dark Sky, take advantage of the new OS for Apple Watch.
Native apps, like Dark Sky, take advantage of the new OS for Apple Watch.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The future of computing may be sitting on your wrist, but it’s still tethered to something a little old-fashioned. But as of Monday, the Apple Watch’s new operating system allows it to cut a few of the cords that connect it to the iPhone.

Apple’s watchOS 2 debuted, giving the watch new superpowers but also allowing native apps to run independently of the iPhone.

How to set up third-party complications in watchOS 2

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watchOS 2 third party complications
Third-party complications are here in watchOS 2.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Third-party complications have arrived to the Apple Watch in watchOS 2, and setting them up is far from complicated.

The new operating system for Apple’s wearable dropped this week, and this is one of the features the company has talked up the most. And rightly so, because it adds a ton of new functionality to the device.

Here’s how to put a wealth of new information on your watch face.

Become an Apple Watch time traveler with watchOS 2

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Time travel without a flux capacitor - right on your wrist.
Time travel without a flux capacitor - right on your wrist.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

If there’s one thing we could all benefit from, it’s more time in the day. Unfortunately, Time Travel on the new Apple Watch operating system, watchOS 2, won’t actually let you travel back in time to get a few extra hours of Netflix in, no matter which edition you purchased.

However, watchOS 2 does now include a new feature called Time Travel, which lets you see the past and future right on your wrist. You can check what the weather will be a few hours from now for your drive home, see if you’ve got any appointments later in the day, or just figure out what time the sun set yesterday to prove you were home before it got dark.

Either way, here’s how to Time Travel on your Apple Watch running watchOS 2.