Apple may not have had Jews in mind when they created the watch, but a new app makes this gadget a must have for halachically-minded men. Designed by Rusty Brick, it does much more than answer the question of ‘what time is it?’ Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the product last September, saying it would go on sale in March or April of 2015 and the basic device would cost $349, with higher prices for devices with more memory and upgraded styles. There have even been rumors of an 18k gold version, which will cost about $10,000. The apps that will be available include health/activity apps, communication apps and interfaces with iPhones and iPads. CEO of Rusty Brick, Barry Schwartz commented on the purpose of his Jewish oriented apps: “Judaism is such a time-oriented faith – you have to pray at certain times a day, the Sabbath begins and ends at specific times, and so on, so it’s strange we haven’t had a real ‘Jewish watch‘ until now,” he said. “I think the Apple Watch could fulfill that role.” In order to release his app, he has to wait until after he has an actual watch, and that may be difficult. “Even in its sixth iteration – when everyone who wants one already has one – the demand for iPhones sets demand records each time a new one comes out, so you could imagine what is going to happen when the Apple Watch goes on sale. There will be an unprecedented demand,” said Schwartz. Their Apple watch apps will probably be based on their existing iPhone apps, which include a Siddur, tehillim, a Shofar app, Shabbat , Menorah, Tanach, Hebrew/English translator, Mikveh, sefirat Haomer, Minyan Now, and many other apps that are incredibly useful for frum users. In addition, they have Jewish apps for Google glass, though the demand for that is quite small. Schwartz feels the Jewish public has special needs that can be met by the new devices. “It’s considered rude for a person to take their phone out in a business meeting to check an alert, but an observant Jew can’t stop the clock in order to delay the obligatory time for reciting mincha, the afternoon prayer,” said Schwartz. “The Zmanim will provide an alert via the watch, so they can quickly glance at it and see how much time they have to say the prayer during the required time, before nightfall.” Many of the apps are text based and there is the obvious question of whether it is truly useful to put such apps on a screen as small as a watch. “Obviously, the surface of the Watch is smaller than that of an iPhone’s, but people who have tested it tell me that the text is very crisp and clear, and quite readable,” said Schwartz. “Instead of stuffing all the text for a prayer in a single screen, text could be scrolled or accessed via the watch’s buttons or touchscreens. The user experience should be an easy one to adapt to,” said Schwartz. On their site, the new platform for their apps is described: The Apple Watch Jewish app consists of three main components right now (a) Zmanim (Jewish times), (b) Brachot (Jewish blessings) (c) Kosher (finding a kosher place to eat). Below are animated GIFs that communicate the difference screens of the apps we are designing for Apple Watch. We feel this has a lot of potential to help improve the quality of life, living as an observant Jew. Zmanim: When can I pray afternoon services until? Alert me two hours before Shabbat starts. Let me know when I should wake up in order to make the time to pray Krias Shema. Brachos: Get quick and fast brochot (blessings) on your Apple Watch so you can make a quick blessing before or after you eat a snack or a meal. After you use the bathroom, say the blessing for that. See a rainbow, make a blessing on that. And yes, it is smart enabled, just like our Siddur App, showing you the portions you need to say that day. Kosher: Need a quick bite to eat, check your Apple Watch and either search by closest kosher restaurant to you or dictate a name and the Apple Watch will find it for you. You can initiate walking or driving directions to the restaurant or call and place your order over the phone. Who knows, maybe in the future you can do online ordering via your watch. Rusty Brick also does web application development, SEO services, and custom app development.

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the Apple Watch during an Apple event in San Francisco