Apple's Watch companion app for iOS is what you'll need not only to set up an Apple Watch for the first time, but also how you'll discover new apps that work with it. Yet, up until now it was unclear just how exactly the second feature would work. That's changed today with Apple quietly flipping the switch in its app to open up the built-in App Store for WatchKit apps.
Right now the store is about as barebones as you can get, with a simple list of of 35 apps with WatchKit integration. Included are apps like Flipboard, Evernote, Twitter, Instagram, and The New York Times, which are being shown off on Apple's site, too. You can download and install these apps right from the list without hopping out to the normal App Store, but a lot of the features you'd find on the usual store are missing — things like search and browsing through genres of apps just aren't there.
Read next: Read our Apple Watch review.
Right now the store is about as barebones as you can get
Oddly enough, there is a larger store hidden within the app (complete with search), which is likely to become the default storefront that people see in the coming days. You can get to it by tapping the App Store tab in the app seven times (Thanks Eytan!). This takes you to a special version of the store with several curated lists of things like "healthy living," "get stuff done," and "get the score."
Watch App pages have a few things you won't find in the usual App Store — at least for now. Each Watch app has screenshots both of what you'll see on an Apple Watch, and what you'll see on a normal iPhone app. Also, once you've installed any of those apps, you can very quickly hop over to a separate section of the Watch app and toggle whether you want to receive notifications or have them show up on your watch screen, something that's a completely different process for standard iOS apps.
The Apple Watch officially launches tomorrow, with many who preordered back on April 10th getting the first deliveries in time. However unlike with many past new product launches, Apple's provided more vague delivery dates that range several weeks at a time. Those in this first batch are slated to get their Apple Watches sometime between tomorrow and May 8th. Apple yesterday began notifying some customers that their orders were still being worked on, suggesting a delivery timetable sometime in the latter half of that window, in what's since been called the "email of death" by expectant buyers.
As Buzzfeed — which spotted the feature — notes, there are far more than this smattering of apps that will work with the Apple Watch right out of the gate. Third-party site WatchAware is compiling them, though all are also expected to end up inside the Apple Watch companion app too.
Update April 23rd 2:35PM: Added reference to hidden full store mode that can be seen by tapping the App Store icon seven times.
Verge Video: The Apple Watch review