The Apple Watch launched with much fanfare. But the recent disappearance of some of its apps happened almost unnoticed.
Big-name apps such as Google Maps and Amazon have pulled their support for Apple's wearable Apple Watch as Apple prepares for the launch of Watch Series 3. The wearable fitness tracker has just launched watchOS 3.2 last March, so the absence of some apps may come as a surprise to Apple Watch owners.
The Curious Case of Google Maps
The disappearance of Google Maps and other apps from Apple Watch was reported by AppleInsider. The recent update of Google Maps on iOS did not mention the removal of Apple Watch support in its release notes.
However, the disappearance may be temporary. When reached for a comment, Google said:
"We removed Apple Watch support from our latest iOS release but expect to support it again in the future."
That a major app like Google Maps disappeared without anyone noticing can suggest that the app is not being used often by most Apple Watch users. If this is the case then it is not surprising, given the limited functionality of Google Maps on the watch.
The Google Maps on watchOS is a stripped-down version of its iOS iteration. It offered directions for driving, walking, and transit directions for recently visited places. However, conducting searches must still be done on a tethered iPhone, which practically defeats the use of the watch. And unlike the first-party Apple Maps, Google Maps lacked the conventional map view that most users are familiar with. This lack of integration may be the reason for the lack of users, but until Google makes an official announcement, the real reason remains uncertain.
Amazon, eBay, And Other Shop Apps
Online shopping apps like Amazon and eBay likewise disappeared on watchOS. As one report pointed out, the reason could be as simple as practicality and usability.
Shopping on Amazon isn't exactly user-friendly and immersive. A user can buy a product via the app using its 1-Click ordering system. The user can search for products using voice; a tap of the Search button brings up the voice interface. The search result only brings up a picture and a short product description. The user can also save products on their Amazon wishlist.
On the other hand, eBay's case simply lets a user track bid status. Other shopping apps like Target have also pulled out from the Apple Watch.