7 Apple Watch Opportunities For Mobile App Entrepreneurs

With the launch date for the Apple Watch rumored for some time in March 2015, there’s no time like the present for mobile startups to get in on the ground floor with new apps.

And the opportunity looks to be a strong one: 18% of people who bought either an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 Plus say they will “definitely” buy the Apple Watch, based on data from a Credit Suisse survey.

This translates to roughly 35 million units, according to Business Insider. A look at Apple’s watch overview hints at the opportunities that app entrepreneurs can start to incorporate into their plans.

#1 Time

As the name indicates, Apple Watch is an actual timepiece—and it also incorporates calendars, contacts and schedules. Users get notifications and alerts relevant to their lives and schedules, and they can accept or decline calendar invitations directly from their wrists. As the overview points out: “Apple Watch actually understands what time means to you.”

And if by any chance you feel this is trivial, let me remind you that the Night Stand iPhone app has clocked over 8 million downloads!

#2 Glances

By swiping up from the watch face, users can see the latest news and sports scores, travel itineraries or favorite recipes. Incorporating Glances provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to make it easier for users to interact with apps.

#3 Actionable Notifications

Notifications built with Apple’s WatchKit allow users to take action or respond right from their wrists. Because it touches the skin, the watch also can provide a gentle tap (vibration) when users receive incoming messages. Users will also be able to talk to the watch and get responses. Incorporating notifications and sound controls can be a great reminder for users to make the most of using your app.

#4 Entertainment controls

While you can access entertainment features directly on your watch, you can also control apps on your other Apple devices. For example, you can control the music or use the watch as a remote viewfinder for the iSight camera on your iPhone without taking it out of your pocket. Or you can navigate Apple TV and control the iTunes library on your Mac or PC.

This means that entrepreneurs can look at ways to work directly with the watch and/or the bigger picture Apple products represent. Entertainment rounded out the top 5 in most popular Apple App store categories in January 2015, according to www.statista.com.

#5 Health & Fitness

As with many devices that have evolved within the Internet of Things (IoT), Apple Watch also includes ways to help monitor health – measuring more than just the quantity of movement, such as the number of steps. It measures the quality and frequency of a user’s efforts, as well.

The three rings of the Activity app (move, exercise, stand) show your progress at a glance and provide the motivation you need to sit less, move more, and get some exercise. The watch will also reportedly include infrared LEDs, photo and other sensors, a gyroscope and an accelerometer.

Over time, Apple Watch can use what it learns about the way you move to suggest personalized daily fitness goals and encourage you to achieve them—with such goals representing another opportunity for entrepreneurs. The Health and Fitness category came in 11th, according to Statista.

#6 Shop

Apple Pay is an easy and secure way to pay using Apple Watch. You can soon buy coffee, groceries, and more right from your wrist at hundreds of thousands of US locations.

Apple’s iBeacons transmit location-based signals when the user is close to them, which could trigger certain functions and also mean opportunities for app developers, according to Business Insider.

#7 Navigation

See current location, get directions and turn-by-turn navigation to help you arrive at your destination with this feature. New apps can also find ways to connect with and enhance the phone’s GPS offering.

On the surface, much of the Apple Watch’s functionality looks much like the iPhone and other counterparts.

But perhaps the biggest opportunity for app development is remembering that the watch is even more portable and is likely to be with users wherever they go—which means your apps can be too.

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Rahul Varshneya

Rahul is the co-founder of Arkenea, a mobile app consultancy building experience rich apps for startups and businesses, and author of The Appreneurship Guide