I took my son skiing the other day, and while we were riding up the chairlift I wanted to check the time and see what notifications I might have. I started to fumble with my gloves to dig out my iPhone, then quickly realized the golden chairlift rule – those who take off gloves in a chairlift ski down with cold hands. So I didn’t get out my phone to check the time, see if Mom messaged me, or check how the markets were doing, but I wanted to.
During the summer I take advantage of the exceptional trail network near my home and take my horse out on trail rides. While I always take my phone with me on a ride, I almost never interact with it on a ride – it’s too easy to get distracted and become off balance should my horse spook. Sometimes I really want to see how far we’ve ridden, check the time, look at messages, look at investment performance, etc., but I don’t because I don’t want to fall. So my iPhone stays tucked away in a case attached to my belt.
Why do I bring up these winter/summer stories? To illustrate why I think Apple’s foray into the watch market is spot on. Fetching an iPhone 6 or 6+ from a pocket or purse is inconvenient frequently enough that many people would rather just glance at their wrist. Now I realize all of the various moments that it’d be so much easier to just glance at my wrist, and once you start paying attention too, you’ll realize there are a lot!
There are several broad financial questions we’d like to be able to answer easily and sometimes even throughout the day. Are my investments up or down today and by how much? How well am I sticking to my budget and can I afford this ACME widget? Similary, do I have enough money in my account to buy this? We thought an Apple Watch app that easily allows a customer to answer these questions makes perfect sense. So I’d like to introduce the iBank Watch app.
Before I go in to the details of the app, I want to talk a little about how Apple Watch apps are built. Third party developers get to build an app extension that displays on the Watch but is inseparable from its parent iPhone app. This works well for our case, as we want our Watch app tightly integrated with iBank for iPhone. In addition to the normal iBank Apple Watch app interface we are also implementing a Glance. Glances happen by just raising your wrist and flicking up from the screen that shows the time. Once you are in this Glance state, you can swipe left and right to see the apps that support Glances. Tapping the Glance screen launches the app in the Regular mode. This is true for iBank for iPhone and any other Watch apps that support both modes.
So let me now tell you about how our Apple Watch app will work. On the Glance screen we provide overall summary information about your finances. Specifically, you can see how your investments are performing and check your budget status. The budget area has a progress circle with inner and outer rings for income and expenses, and a today line to see how well you are sticking to your budget within the context of the month.
Here is the Glance view showing your daily loss (doh!) and budget status. Stock quotes are pulled when you launch the app (they are 20 minutes delayed) and continue to update every few minutes.
The Glance view of iBank Apple Watch app shows important information about how your investments are doing today and how well you are sticking to your budget.
If you tap on the Glance view, you get a swipe-enabled paging view where each page shows one account. We show different information for investment and non-investment accounts. We also badge the screens with appropriate icons to help you quickly interpret what account you are looking at.
Here is an account called “Investment” in the regular app mode. It shows the value of the account and the daily change of your investments:
If you tap on this screen, you’ll get a list of your investment holdings for this account, along with information on how they are performing:
Here are screenshots of what some of the other account screens look like in the regular app mode:
On non-investment account screens we show current balance and monthly cash flow in and out of the account.
A credit card account. The balance, because it’s money you owe, is red.
I know that some of you are probably thinking, “this is cool, but I have 35 accounts in iBank and I don’t need to see them all on the Apple Watch.” We have this solved – within the iBank for iPhone app, there is a new option under the settings view where you can choose which accounts (or none at all) will be made available on the Watch. This will allow people to just keep an eye on their most important financial information.
Our Apple Watch app extension will be available in iBank for iPhone 2.6 and we hope to have it ready to go as soon as the Watch is made available on April 24. This new extension is free as long as you own iBank for iPhone 2 or higher.
I’m really excited to get this new app (extension) to all of the future Apple Watch wearers out there!