In addition to discussing the international Apple Watch launch and accessibility efforts at a briefing in Germany, Apple CEO Tim Cook teased “a whole ton of announcements coming shortly about all of the apps coming” for the Apple Watch, according to employees in attendance. Cook first highlighted the use of the Apple Watch in hotels by saying that “some of the best hotels in the world” will allow Apple Watch users to use the wearable to unlock room doors.
Additionally, Cook said that the Apple Watch hotel applications will even be able to replace the check-in processes for some hotels. “So people are beginning to think about doing not only cool things with their apps, but how it changes their whole business,” Cook said. As highlighted at the first Apple Watch event in September 2014, Starwood Hotels has already announced that it is working with Apple on an app for the Apple Watch…
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Cook also expressed pride in the health and fitness applications being developed by third-parties for the Apple Watch. These programs will come in addition to the bundled Workout and Activity apps on the Watch, which allow users to custom program exercise routines and measure fitness statistics. Cook called these apps from third-party developers “really, really fantastic.” The Apple Watch includes motion and heart rate sensors that should allow developers to make powerful apps.
On the other end of the spectrum, Cook said that Panera Bread is working on a WatchKit application that will allow Apple Watch users to pay for their carbs with their wrist. Panera Bread was an early Apple Pay partner with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last fall, so it’s not a huge surprise that the company is working to jump on the Apple Watch bandwagon, too.
Finally, Cook hinted that Apple is working on getting the Apple Watch into the enterprise. He noted that Salesforce.com is developing software for the Apple Watch. Salesforce.com has been a longtime partner in the enterprise with Apple, developing early applications for both the iPhone and iPad. Apple recently partnered up with IBM for enterprise efforts, but Cook did not comment on Apple Watch applications from IBM. Some apps, such as Launch Center Pro, have already been announced.
With the Apple Watch not having a single major feature, third-party applications and customizability will be critical to the product’s success. Realizing this, Apple has invited over 100 application developers to Cupertino to finish up, design, and test apps for the Apple Watch. It is likely that Apple will utilize a significant portion of its March 9th “Spring Forward” event to showcase applications for the Apple Watch, which will ship in April.