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Here are 9 must-have Apple Watch apps

9 good starter Apple Watch apps

Stefanie Loos | Reuters

If you're one of the lucky few who will be strapping an Apple Watch onto your wrist this week, your search for useful apps may already be underway.

While the watch comes preloaded with interchangeable faces and alerts for texts, calls and emails, that novelty isn't enough to justify the expense, and certainly doesn't fulfill the device's potential.

Because it's so early in the Apple Watch lifecycle, most of the apps for it are refinements of existing iPhone (and iPad) apps, but some are better than others—and a few apps made specifically for the watch could be worth a look.

While the watch app landscape will almost certainly be dramatically different in six months—and the functionality of the device should be much wider by then—here are 9 good starter apps that demonstrate what the Apple Watch can do.

Chris Morris, CNBC.

Posted 24 April 2015

SPG

Source: SPG

One of Apple's showcase launch partners for the watch, this app from Starwood Hotels and Resorts lets Starwood Preferred Guests (thus the SPG name) open hotel room doors with their watch at about 150 locations, with a focus on Aloft, Element and W properties. The app will also let you bypass the front desk, and Starwood says it plans to expand the capabilities in the months to come.

Alarm.com

Source: Alarm

This subscription service shows how the smart home and the smartwatch can work together. Users will be able to check the status of their home's security system, turn the lights on or off, and lock or unlock their doors remotely. It offers customized alerts and lets you watch events (such as your garage door opening and closing) on the watch itself. Of course, to use it you'll also need the Alarm.com system.

MLB.com At Bat

Source: Apple

With the launch of the Apple Watch happening right as America's Pastime gets back underway, Major League Baseball did a quick update of its popular app for the device. You'll get live stats, pitch-by-pitch updates, player details, highlights and scores from around the league (with subscribers also being able to listen to any game). It's the same basic functionality as the iPhone/iPad app, but in a form factor that's optimized for your wrist.

DexCom

Source: Dexcom

Apple has been touting the potential health-monitoring implications of the watch since its introduction, and DexCom is hoping to gain an early leadership position with diabetics. The app will track and display your glucose levels via a sensor worn around your abdomen. A standalone app from the company will also let you share that information with your doctor.

Fandango

Source: Apple

Like many upgraded apps, Fandango's lets you avoid pulling your phone out of your pocket. From your wrist, you'll be able to see how long you've got until your movie starts, get directions to the theater and have a scannable barcode, letting you bypass the box office. (You'll still need to buy the ticket using your iPhone, though.)

Epicurious Smart Timer

Source: Epicurious

Recipes might seem too lengthy for a screen as small as the Apple Watch, but popular food site Epicurious is hoping to prove otherwise. This app offers simple, time-based cooking instructions for everyday tasks. So while you won't find Boeuf Bourguignon, it can offer a timer to ensure you don't, say, overcook your steak.

Remote Battery

Source: Remote Battery

The Apple Watch, as has been heavily reported, works in conjunction with your iPhone. So if your iPhone's battery dies, you could be in a pickle. Remote Battery keeps an eye on your phone's remaining charge, letting you monitor that data from your wrist. It will also send an alert if the charge drops beyond a certain level, giving you ample time to find a power source.

Dark Sky

Source: Dark Sky

Dark Sky is one of the best weather apps for the iPhone, and it may see a surge of popularity if the Apple Watch takes off. The app gives you up to the minute forecasts, letting you know not only if it will rain or snow, but exactly when it will begin. That can give you the opportunity to sneak in chores or run out to grab lunch before the deluge hits.

Office Time

Source: OfficeTime

Meetings are terrible. They suck up seemingly endless hours of your day, but dragging out your phone to see exactly how much time they chew is poor office etiquette. Office Time lets you more subtly track how much time you're spending in meetings. Alternatively, if you bill by the hour, you'll know exactly how long you spent working on various projects.