Mobile in the Enterprise

Have you started planning Apple Watch apps?

March 31, 2015

  • Felipe Laso Marsetti
  • 1
Apple Watch Home Screen

(This blog post is adapted from an iBusiness article by the same author.)

Apple Watch will make its debut April 24, 2015 and already companies are scrambling to create apps to work on the wearable device. Some companies like Salesforce have even fully developed Apple Watch apps. Once a space-age dream, the Apple Watch is expected to once again change how people communicate and interact.

Morgan Stanley predicts that the Apple Watch will sell 30 million units the first year and add more than $50 billion to Apple’s already sizable market capitalization.

Apps for Apple Watch will be a big component of the success of the device. While developers will need to become familiar with the new iOS/Apple ecosystem, it’s also important to develop apps that will have a real impact on businesses using these devices to drive efficiency and cost savings.

To come up with the best app concept for your business, keep the following in mind:

1. What pain point can the Apple Watch address? Understand the fundamentals first, including what inefficiencies exist in your company that the right Apple Watch app can address. Make sure you can make a business case for the app, including a return on investment.

2. What’s the best type of app to put on the Apple Watch? The device is best for three kinds of apps:

• Notifications that push short messages to the user. These are an excellent starting point for apps that rely on local and push notifications, such as calendar notifications.

• Glances that give wearers a quick glimpse into information, such as stock prices, email, calendars, weather, etc.

• Extension-style apps that can help enhance and “extend” current enterprise apps to the watch. For example, being able to monitor servers and facilities from any location.

3. Can your app provide unique experiences? In addition to the three types of apps, what else can your app do? For example, can the watch can be used to help you control your environment? If you make a lot of presentations, perhaps your watch can be used as a means of advancing slides. If you’re the first into the office each morning, perhaps an app that allows you to turn on lights and boost the heat would be helpful.

4. Will employees use the Apple Watch? The device is an entirely new product category, not just a smaller version of the iPhone worn on your wrist. People will interact with it differently. It’s a good idea to invest in a 3-D print of an Apple Watch to get a real feel for the size of the device, the user interface and how it fits on a wrist. Ask people to mock trial it in real-world scenarios at work and see how they feel about it.

5. Do you have the design expertise to optimize Apple Watch? It doesn’t make sense to port app user interfaces from the iPhone or iPad because the device will be used differently. Leveraging the native Apple Watch user interface elements and guidelines will make a much better app. On a wearable device, simplicity is paramount; interactions must be kept to a minimum. Consider whether you have the design experience to accomplish this.

 What Apple Watch apps you working on? How do you envision Apple Watch or other wearables impacting the enterprise?

See also:  Alex Bratton‘s tips in How the Apple Watch Will Work, as Explained by the People Making the Apps (FastCompany)