The first Apple Watch apps have some limitations

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The First Apple Watch Apps Have Some Limitations

The Apple Watch started shipping to consumers on April 24, so naturally there's already an app ecosystem springing up to fill it with software.

Apple showcases some of the first apps on its website. Names such as Twitter, Shazam and The New York Times are already bringing their services over to the new gadget.

But don't expect a wrist-mounted iPhone. Early testers find there are both software and hardware limitations when it comes to watch apps.

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The first Apple Watch apps have some limitations
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 24: Daniel Miller shows his new Apple Watch outside the Maxfield in LA store on April 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The upscale fashion boutique is one of the only five places where the Apple Watch is being made available to customers today. Other boutiques releasing the Apple Watch today are in Paris, London, Tokyo and Berlin. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 24: Christian Langvatn who travelled from Norway is one of the first customers to purchase an Apple Iwatch from Dover St Market on April 24, 2015 in London City. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
New Apple Watches on display at the Apple Grand Central Station store on April 24, 2015 in New York. The Apple Watch debuted in selected global markets Friday with sales limited to clients who had pre-ordered online, making the launch a relatively low-key affair compared to tech titan's usual fanfare. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
A new Apple Watch on display at the Apple Grand Central Station store on April 24, 2015 in New York. The Apple Watch debuted in selected global markets Friday with sales limited to clients who had pre-ordered online, making the launch a relatively low-key affair compared to tech titan's usual fanfare. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - APRIL 17: General view during Apple Debuts New Watch In Milan on April 17, 2015 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images)
PALO ALTO, CA - APRIL 10: An Apple Watch with stainless steel link bracelet is seen at an Apple Store on April 10, 2015 in Palo Alto, California. The pre-orders of the highly-anticipated wearable from the tech giant begin today as the watches arrive at stores for customers to preview. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
The Apple watch Edition, made of 18-karat gold, is displayed in Washington,DC on April 10, 2015. The Apple watch is being presented in stores today and will be available on April 24. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: The new Apple Watch is viewed at an Apple store in Manhattan on April 10, 2015 in New York, New York. Consumers around the world were able to try on the long awaited smartwatch on Friday and to place orders. On April 24, consumers will be able to buy it online or by appointment in select stores. The Apple Watch sport starts at $349 with the standard version retailing at $549 in the U.S. Luxury 'Edition' watches with 18-karat gold alloys will be priced from $10,000 and will go as high as $17,000. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
PALO ALTO, CA - APRIL 10: Apple CEO Tim Cook holds an Apple Watch at an Apple Store on April 10, 2015 in Palo Alto, California. The pre-orders of the highly-anticipated wearable from the tech giant begin today as the watches arrive at stores for customers to preview. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
A customer tries on an Apple watch in Washington,DC on April 10, 2015. The Apple watch is being presented in stores today and will be available on April 24. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
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"Starbucks shows you where to get a latte, but doesn't let you buy one. You have to launch a whole other app, called Passbook, to do that. And Instagram only shows you the 10 most recent pictures in your feed. And they're too small to like with confidence," said The Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey Fowler.

With the exception of those pre-installed by Apple, all these apps run on your phone and send their data to the companion watch. The Verge found it can make for a sluggish experience.

"Think of them more like remote controls for the apps on your phone. You don't really need them. Apple says true native apps are coming later this year, and hopefully they'll do more," said Nilay Patel.

Still, developer interest is high. Analytics firm App Annie has already counted more than 3,000 apps designed specifically for the Apple Watch. Utility apps currently hold the largest share of the market, beating out health and fitness apps and weather tools.

There are even games, but Ars Technica's investigations show some built-in caveats.

"The design language allows for only very simple interactions and interface elements like scrolling lists, stationary buttons, and static images. The more dynamic inputs used in many games feel left out, developers told [Ars Technica.]"

That means you shouldn't expect to sit down and game on the Apple Watch the same way you might on a bigger iPhone screen. Ars expects simpler games will be more successful. (Video via Everywear Games)

Apple says support for native apps that run directly off the watch's hardware will arrive later this year.

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