The Apple Watch might be getting more sales, but app makers are discovering that their apps do not fit on the wrist and are removing them. The latest app to pull out is Uber.
No matter how you feel about having a computing device on your wrist, the form factor does not suit some apps, making many Apple Watch owners ignore them. Faced with this reality, Uber is quietly shutting down its app on the Apple Watch. People who have already downloaded the app see a message asking them to use the mobile version. The message states that Uber is “no longer supporting the Apple Watch app” and apologizes for any inconvenience caused.
The Apple Watch version of the app is still listed in the App Store, meaning you can presumably still download it. However, a new update will probably remove it. Uber has yet to comment on it in an official capacity, but the handwriting has been on the wall for some time.
Uber is not the only company to abandon the form factor because other very useful apps on the larger mobile phone realize they are not core to the wrist-device operation. These kinds of electronic devices are more suitable for fitness tracking, receiving notifications, monitoring music playback, etc. Apple, however, wants to make more than just a fitness tracking device.
It is hard to imagine people are anxious to hail a ride from their wrist in the first place, even if the manufacturers claim these devices can do so. At any rate, this is a reminder that having a feature on a device does not mean people will use it.
The limited screen estate and less convenient navigation on the Apple Watch mean Uber can only offer a pared-down experience. For example, the app never had features like divvying up fares or sharing the driver’s expected time of arrival. A combination of these two factors makes using the app tedious and unnecessarily inconvenient.
Uber had already discontinued the app on the WearOS years back, meaning the lack of interest affected Android users too. The other popular ride-hailing app, Lyft, had cut its losses faster and abandoned the form factor since 2018. You can only get notifications from the iPhone Lyft app on the Apple Watch. Interestingly, Lyft also quietly removed the app without releasing a press statement. If Uber follows the same pattern, the app is simply die off.
The loss of Uber on the Apple Watch is significant because Apple mentioned it specifically in its marketing materials. It states that with a Watch with a cellular connection, you don’t need your phone to set up a ride. Obviously, this development creates a hole in the marketing document and will require an edit.
Perhaps, with apps seeing themselves off on their way out of the Apple Watch will make the company rethink its wrist wearable approach.
Meanwhile, Uber still offers full support for its app on the iPhone and iPad.
In other Apple Watch news, the next version may not have a body temperature sensor as it has been rumored. An Apple analyst with a good track record, Mark Gurman, had hinted the Watch would get the feature, raising expectations. Gurman, however, has retracted the claim. In his recent popular newsletter, he says, “Don’t expect any of these soon, though. Body temperature was on this year’s roadmap, but chatter about it has slowed down recently. Blood pressure is at least two to three years away, while I wouldn’t be surprised if glucose monitoring doesn’t land until later in the second half of the decade.”