Google Maps, Amazon, and eBay Drop Apple Watch Support [Updated x3]
Over the course of the last few months, several major companies have quietly removed support for the Apple Watch from their apps. As first noted by AppleInsider, Google Maps, Amazon, and eBay have pulled their Apple Watch apps from the App Store.
Google Maps, Amazon, and eBay were all early supporters of the Apple Watch, releasing apps within a few months of the device's April 2015 debut.
Checking today, none of the three companies offer Apple Watch apps, having quietly removed Apple Watch functionality through App Store updates. It's not entirely clear when each app was updated to remove Apple Watch support, with the feature elimination appearing to have largely gone under the radar.
That three major apps were able to remove Apple Watch support without much fanfare seems to explain the reasoning behind the decision to cease offering an Apple Watch app, as it suggests there weren't many people using the apps in question. Whether the removal of the apps is permanent is unknown.
Google Maps was perhaps the only app that was useful on the wrist, with quick directions to places like home and work. Amazon's Apple Watch app simply allowed for voice-based searches and one-tap purchases, something that's easier to do on a phone or computer, while eBay's offered notifications for auctions being tracked on the site, which also required the concurrent use of an iPhone or Mac to track content in the first place.
Target has also recently removed Apple Watch support from its Target app, but Apple Watch functionality remains available via the separate Cartwheel by Target app.
With the Apple Watch having celebrated its second birthday on April 24, the kinds of apps that work on the wrist-worn device are becoming more clear, allowing companies to stop using resources on content that's not suitable for a wearable device.
Update: In a statement, a Google spokesperson said the Apple Watch app has been temporarily removed but will be re-launched later. "We removed Apple Watch support from our latest iOS release but expect to support it again in the future."
Update 2: Amazon has issued a statement to CNET's Shara Tibken on its removal of Apple Watch support: "We are constantly innovating on behalf of our customers. There are a number of reasons we don’t think this is the right solution for our customers at this time. We are always trying new things and look forward to experimenting with wearable solutions in the future."
Update 3: In a Twitter response to a customer question, eBay says it is "revamping" its Apple Watch app: "We are in the works of revamping it. We don't currently have a release timeframe from our mobile team."
Top Rated Comments
Developers are realizing it's not worth the time to update their apps for the functionality if no one uses it.
Design-wise, I find the rounded sides of the screen give (me) a lack of confidence with regards to interacting with the screen. How do I explain it? It's like one of those cheaper mattresses where the edges collapse easily. You find yourself wanting to hang out away from the edges. The down-sloping sides of the watch face give me that same sense of wanting to stay in the middle, and the edges feel "uncertain". It makes the workable space feel much smaller than it is.
In the watch faces above, you can see rather large margins around the edges of the usable screen. If Apple would take advantage of that, and use a flatter overall design, it would make the watch feel bigger without making it bigger physically.
I think voice will become a much bigger method of interacting with the watch than touch, and I think Apple has that goal, too. The watch has a bright future.