The Apple Watch Is Great, Just Not With Apps

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The Uber app for the Apple Watch seems to have been discontinued. I tried using the app on my Apple Watch Series 7, and I got the warning, “Please switch to the Uber mobile app. We no longer support the Apple Watch app. Sorry for the inconvenience,” along with a crying emoji. It may be a sign that some developers are starting to realize that Apple Watches don’t make the best standalone devices. “When it comes down to it, the Apple Watch isn’t really for apps,” Aaron Glazer, the CEO of Taplytics, a mobile app marketing company, told Lifewire in an email interview. “The Apple Watch has finally refocused on what it’s best at, which is fitness tracking, telling time, and receiving notifications. There are basically no apps outside of these core use-cases that get any real use.”

There’s still an Uber app listing in the Apple App Store, and Uber did not immediately answer a request for comment. But outlets such as Mac Rumors have also noted that the Uber app isn’t functioning.

The Uber Apple Watch app has been available since 2015, but it has fewer functions than the iPhone app. The app did not support uberPOOL, fare splitting, ETA sharing, or contacting an Uber driver.

Uber ended the support for its wearOS version of the app in 2020. And Uber isn’t the only company to backtrack on its Apple Watch ambitions. The ride-hailing company, Lyft, discontinued its Apple Watch app in 2018. Glazer said many technical reasons why making apps for the Apple Watch has always been a tricky proposition.

“Apple severely limits the APIs you can use, the communication between the app on your phone and watch is super slow and buggy,” he added. “There are also restrictions when it comes to CPU use, which makes it very hard to do anything outside of just displaying data.

“Given the limited functionality of Apple Watches, users are still required to integrate with a phone to reap all of the benefits, noted tech entrepreneur Omri Shor in an email interview. “As such, users are still returning to their smartphone to utilize its full functionality, thereby making the Apple Watch a limited offering.”

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