As launch nears, iOS apps get Apple Watch support

Third-party apps that support Apple Watch have started to arrive in Apple's App Store.

Almost a month ahead of the Apple Watch launch, big brands have started to add support for the device to their apps.

While Twitter still doesn't support Android Wear with its app, it was one of a handful of companies that today released an update to its app which adds support for Apple Watch. Apple's new device will be available to purchase from $350 in nine countries from April 24, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK, and the US.

9to5 Mac noticed over a dozen of the Watch-friendly iOS apps arriving on Apple's App Store today, including a spattering of apps likely targeting the markets where the Watch will launch first, such as the app of Australian airline Qantas. As the publication notes, they're likely being released now to allow people preparing reviews of the Apple Watch to use third-party apps for the device.

Others that have updated their apps for Apple Watch include Air Canada, AliPay, Babbel, Dark Sky, ECB Cricket, Evernote, Expedia, Kitchen Stories, Line, At Bat, Procreate Pocket, Redfin, Runtastic Six Pack, Sky Guide, SPG: Starwood Hotels and Resorts, The New York Times, Target, Things, TransitApp, The Wall Street Journal, WeChat, and Yahoo Tourney Pick'Em.

Most people will have to wait until April 24 to see how the apps function, unless some are on display at Apple Stores for the Watch previews that begin on April 10.

The Watch apps released today are just a small subset of apps for the device to come. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, NPR, and a host of productivity, fitness, travel, automotive, smart home, shopping and entertainment/sports apps are also in the works, as ZDNet's sister site CNET reported earlier this month.

While it's still not known how popular the Watch will ultimately be in its first year, some surveys suggest it should sell in large enough numbers to deliver Apple as much as $32bn in the first 12 months after launch.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll earlier this month found that about 40 percent of adult iPhone owners in the US are keen on buying an Apple Watch. Another survey of 3,000 people from across the globe found it could fuel the number of Android to iOS switchers.

Meanwhile, other research found earlier this week that 50 percent of device owners, regardless of their region and the OS they currently used, said they were "strongly interested" in the device. Potentially bad news for Google and particularly Samsung: that Android users were more interested in the Apple Watch than iOS device owners. And, since Apple Watch depends on having an iPhone, the product could fuel the number of Android users switching to an iPhone.

It's also probably no coincidence Apple selected April 10 to let customers to try on the new Apple Watch at an Apple Store - that date being when Samsung will begin selling the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

Apple is also expected to launch a new Android trade-in program at its stores, again timed to coincide with the launch of Samsung's new flagships.

Check out our gallery below for more pictures of the Apple Watch

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