​Over 3,000 Apple Watch apps now available as first devices ship

As the Watch goes on sale, Apple has launched a new space in the App Store dedicated to Watch-friendly apps.

As the first Apple Watches reach buyers today, there are already over 3,000 compatible apps available from the App Store.

Over the past month, a handful of apps for the Watch have appeared on Apple's App Store. This week, however, the company opened a dedicated 'aisle' for Watch apps which, according to the Wall Street Journal, now houses over 3,000 of them.

Searching for Watch apps in the App Store returns a link to the new category, which works by launching the Apple Watch app. iPhone owners can also search for the new category of apps directly from their Watch app.

App icons in the store appear round rather than square, and tapping on one will display both how the app looks for the Watch, in a short rectangle, and how it appears for the iPhone, in a larger display.

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Some of the well-known apps that now have Watch-compatible versions are Twitter, Flipboard, Instagram, the New York Times, Yahoo Weather, Evernote, Expedia, RunKeeper, as well a host of others in categories such as productivity, education, food, health and fitness, travel, and gaming. Notably absent from are apps from Google, while Facebook is also yet to release its Watch app.

Although the Watch apps are presented differently to iPhone apps, they're installed on the iPhone: if a user has an app like Twitter already installed on their smartphone, if they then buy a Watch, they don't need to install the Twitter Watch app as well.

Following a fortnight in which the Apple Watch has been available for preorder online, the device will become available for sale in a number of countries on Friday. Prices range from $349 for the base aluminum frame model to the luxury 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, which costs up to $17,000.

Apple hasn't revealed how many Watch devices it sold during the pre-order period, however analysts have estimated that 957,000 people preordered a Watch and on average ordered 1.3 devices. Last year, according to analyst firm Canalys, just 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped. Google recently updated Android Wear to give it a few new features ahead of the Apple Watch launch.

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