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E*Trade, Hotels.com jump on Apple Watch apps amid pre-sales rush

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April 13, 2015

Etrade Apple Watch app.

E*Trade Apple Watch app.

E*Trade and Hotels.com are among brands that are releasing Apple Watch apps as pre-sales take off for Apple’s long-awaited wearable.

E*Trade’s app will deliver essential market data in an engaging and simple format to help investors and traders keep a watchful eye on the markets and their portfolios, while Hotels.com’s platform will enable users to seek nearby hotel deals, view upcoming reservations and locate their hotel via GPS. The flood of apps points to potential for Apple’s smartwatch to jump-start the wearables market even as it challenges marketers to find ways to deliver more concise, personal messages to watch users.

“Much like when smartphones were first introduced, delivering stock and market data to the palm of consumer’s hands, we believe the Apple Watch will become another entry point for consumers to become investors,” said Kunal Vaed, senior vice president of digital channels and active trading at E*Trade, the New York-based financial services company. “It makes it even easier to check in on the market – in a fun way – as you go about your day.”

Backlogged orders
As of Friday, when pre-sales began, all models of the Apple Watch were back-ordered for at least four to six weeks, CNN reported.

The E*Trade app offers investors and traders a new, intuitive way to track the markets and their portfolios wherever they are. Its features include visual snapshots of market indices such as Dow, NASDAQ and S&P, as well as core metrics such as volume and performance.

Quote Detail (Stock)[11]_opt

Streamlining investing on the small screen.

It also provides easy-to-glance summary of accounts, portfolios and watch lists, including positions and daily gains or losses.

E*Trade’s Apple Watch app builds upon its iPhone app, re-envisioned for the Apple Watch, and makes the iPhone and Watch experience seamless.

First, the investor receives a notification on the watch that a security on the watchlist hit a price target.

He or she then enters the E*Trade Apple Watch app to check the markets. The investor then swipes right to check the account, and then swipes right again to look at the portfolio. He or she swipes right again to look at the watchlist. Next, the user taps on the “PMDV” stock symbol, which is on the watchlist. Examining the quote detail for PMDV, he or she decides to buy.

Next, the user takes out an iPhone, which has a dedicated icon on the locked screen whenever the Apple Watch is active.

He or she swipes up from the icon, going directly to the trading function on the app and executes the trade.

Apple Watch apps are a natural fit for the fast-changing investment space. The E*Trade Apple Watch app delivers the pulse of the market at a glance, so folks concerned about the market, their positions or potential investments can get an instant look at their performance without disrupting their day.

The app undescores how as smartphones grow stronger and offer a richer experience, they are beginning to overlap with tablet and site experiences. As a result there is a growing need for a new device for quick glancing.

Hotels.com’s watch app permits guests to be notified about upcoming reservations and have full access to booking details, such as the hotel image and address. The app also displays directions to the hotel and reminds the guest about check-in and check-out information.

A special feature also enables travelers to find last-minute hotel deals in their current location, to help them choose their ideal hotel for the best rate.

In addition to E*Trade and Hotels.com, the list of brands and platforms releasing Apple Watch apps so far includes Fandango, Twitter, Honeywell, Uber, Dark Sky, Nike + Running,

The watch’s emergence has played a role in Apple’s adding at least 39 more banks and credit unions to the roster of institutions offering support for Apple Pay, bringing the total to more than 180 since the service’s launch in October 2014, according to Apple Insider.

Blending in
As the wearables market grows to have annual value of about $80 billion by 2020, fashion-first wearables are expected to have far greater appeal than tech-centric devices, as they blend in with consumers’ lives more effectively.

Hotels_com Apple Watch Compatible App

Hotels.com’s Apple Watch app.

Forty percent of online consumers in the United States say they are tired of pulling phones from their pockets and purses, suggesting that more mobile time will be spent in quick glances to the wrist as smartwatches catch on.

“It really speaks to how consumers want an easy way to glance and receive time sensitive information quickly,” Mr. Vaed said.  “As the smartphones have evolved to offer a wide range of experiences, consumers are now looking for a more streamlined experience.

“We believe the Apple Watch will fill that need.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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