By Alex

It’s almost impossible to imagine life without your trusty smartphone, and it won’t be long until you don’t know how you lived without your new Apple Watch. Thanks to your wrist’s new best friend, everyday living just got a whole lot easier. Here are nine essential apps for getting the most from your Apple Watch.

1. For Weather: Dark Sky

Are those dark clouds going to delay your flight, kill your hairstyle, or postpone your kids’ soccer practice? With Dark Sky, one tap on your Apple Watch gives you the lowdown on the day’s weather.

You can open the app for a five-day forecast or see the day’s weather in Glances. If you don’t feel like taking the initiative, that’s fine, too — Dark Sky will send a push notification when inclement weather approaches.

2. For Commuting: Transit

Apple Maps still doesn’t offer public transit information, so thank goodness Transit does. When you open the app, you see two buttons at the top of the screen: a “Take Me Home” button that shows you public transit directions to your home or office and a second button pulls that pulls up recently searched locations.

Your route appears in a simple map on your Apple Watch screen. If you need details for any of the steps, such as directions to a train stop, simply tap the appropriate spot on the map for an on-the-ground perspective.

3. For Coffee: Starbucks

You can’t start your day without a hot, steaming cup of Joe. The convenience of paying with the Starbucks app for Apple Watch will convert even the staunchest Dunkin Donuts fiend.

If you feel squeamish about paying with your Apple Watch, don’t be; companies like Starbucks have strong cloud security measures in place to protect your financial information. It’s incredibly simple: When you open the app, a QR code appears on your Apple Watch screen. You state your order, hold out your wrist so the cashier can scan your code, and caffeinate to your heart’s content.

4. For Instant Music Information: Shazam

You’re listening to a great song through your iPhone, but you don’t want to reach into your pocket to check what song’s playing. One tap of the Shazam app on your Apple Watch will show you everything you need to know. If you want to add the song to your iTunes collection, just open the Music app on your watch to make the purchase — all without rummaging in your bag for your phone.

5. For Health: Runtastic

Tired of carrying your iPhone while you run or trying to cram it into that contraption and strap it around your bicep? Make your Apple Watch your new running buddy by downloading Runtastic. Your time, distance, and speed all appear on the screen – no swiping required.

6. For Math: Calculator+

The Apple Watch doesn’t carry a native calculator app, so you’ll need Calculator+ to calculate tips, add sales tax, and figure out your percent-off coupons on the go. You can even choose from multiple color combinations to color-coordinate your screen and your watchband.

7. For Checking the Score: theScore

There’s no need to dig out your iPhone to see if your favorite team is winning. With theScore, you choose your favorite teams and then open the app to see their scores in real-time.

If you want more details, you can tap the screen to see information related to the game. It’s not in-depth sports reporting, but when that after-work meeting keeps you from catching the score, it’s the perfect incognito solution.

8. For Working: Evernote

Evernote for Apple Watch makes it easy to scan through your notes when you’re out and about. You can also dictate new notes into your Apple Watch, and Evernote will save them and sync them across all of your devices. Tap the screen and speak your to-do list, or record that fantastic idea for your next short story.

9. For the Airport: Southwest

You’ll never have to print another boarding pass or put down your luggage to find your smartphone at check-in. If you’re flying Southwest, you just pull up your boarding pass barcode on your Apple Watch. Let the flight attendant scan it before you traipse on down the tarmac.

It’s Shiny…and Useful!

These nine tested and ready-to-run apps will get you started on your Apple Watch journey. Before long, you’ll be looking at your wrist and asking, “Where’ve you been all my life?”

Apple Watches image by Shinya Suzuki from Flickr Creative Commons.

Starbucks cup image by rekre89 from Flickr Creative Commons.

Apple Watch app screenshot image by Karlis Dambrans from Flickr Creative Commons.

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