Apple Watch a must-have? Apps will make it or break it 

Varieties of the new Apple Watch are on display in the demo room after an Apple event on Monday, March 9, 2015, in San Francisco.

Varieties of the new Apple Watch are on display in the demo room after an Apple event on Monday, March 9, 2015, in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

While the Apple Watch’s design and glitzy gold models may get your attention, that doesn't mean it will be another runaway Apple hit. 

Unless, of course, new apps make it as indispensable as the iPhone.

That's for consumers to figure out when the watch – ranging in price from $349 to $1,099 for non-gold models – goes on sale April 24.  Indeed, there are a number of apps that already hint at the Watch surpassing the iPhone in some use cases because, well, it’s a watch.  

Analysts see the potential. “The Apple Watch threatens to replace [the] iPhone” because it allows “more convenient access to…similar functions,” according to Ian Fogg, Director of Mobile Analysis, IHS Technology, a marketing research firm, in a statement released on Monday after the announcement.  

And the market is new enough that Apple has a shot at setting the standard for smartwatches. “The smartwatch market is still undefined. We are at a time similar to the point when Apple launched the iPhone into the smartphone market,” said Antonios Maroulis, also an analyst at IHS.  

Indeed, what makes the iPhone the raging success it is are the apps that consumers use day in and day out and which are – for better or worse – deeply ingrained in their work and play.  

So, what apps could make the Apple Watch  -- which works in conjunction with, or as an appendage of, the iPhone -- the smartwatch standard bearer and a must-have? Here are a few standout apps that could get the ball rolling.   

  • Apple apps: Better than Dick Tracy: built-in software from Apple allows you to respond to messages with your voice or dictate a text message.  Another app allows you to get phone calls – independent of the iPhone as long as you have Wi-Fi access.  Photos: uses the Digital Crown to zoom in to individual images, or swipe to browse through them one at a time.  Music:  controls the music on your iPhone and allows you to leave your iPhone at home and listen to a synced playlist from Apple Watch.
  • Social networking: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram will all have apps for the Watch but there are few details right now on how the apps have been tweaked for the Watch. 
  • American Airlines: App provides check-in and flight status updates. And a map tracks progress during the flight.
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide: See reservation details, get directions to the hotel, and use keyless technology to check in and unlock the room door.
  • Jiffies event tracker: An event-clock that shows at a glance upcoming events in the form of segments on the circular dial of the Watch.
  • Glimpse: Allows you to reduce full webpages to bite sizes suitable to the Watch by choosing a specific section on a webpage that you want to see on the Watch.  For example, read news snippets or check if a product is available.
  • Feed Wrangler: Provides quick browsing of headlines and skimming articles. The app can also place an article in a handoff queue for reading on an iPhone, iPad or Mac.
  • Email -- TL;DR: Emails are presented in a feed as “cards” so “you can grasp the email instantly, see conversations, links, images, reply and even Like emails - without leaving the feed,” according to the app’s creator TLDR Applications.
  • Nike+ Running: Tracks runs and assists in reaching goals.
  • Evernote: The iPhone and Apple Watch versions of Evernote work together. “Dictate notes, perform searches, and see recent content on your watch when you need it. Set reminders and check items off your list without ever taking out your phone.”