In the spring of 2015, Apple launched the highly anticipated Apple Watch and watchOS 1 to the market. TigerText became one of the first developers to embrace this technology in healthcare messaging by releasing the TigerText watch app. We believed (and still do) that this additional mode of communication effectively extends the TigerText experience, especially at times when reaching for the phone is disruptive or inconvenient – caregivers or healthcare providers have mentioned it to be valuable during hospital rounds or when they’re simply on-the-go. The app was well-received by our early-adopting clients (where usage and adoption have continued to rise), but we later uncovered several challenges (our own experiences and client feedback) that the original watch and the watchOS 1 presented.
The performance of watchOS has matured significantly since 2015, but the first-generation operating system revealed well-documented challenges, specifically with issues keeping data synced between the watch and the phone. This directly impacts our ability to acknowledge TigerText’s message delivery status accurately (i.e. Was the message read? Was it delivered?). This is key as many of our features and app behaviors rely on this information to function correctly. If it’s not accurate, the messaging experience is greatly impacted. API performance was also limited, which resulted in our users reporting a sluggish experience, often times with the app hanging on the watch. This combination often led to a lackluster messaging experience for our users.
That’s why we were more than thrilled to hear of the release of watchOS 3 last fall, which Apple described to have greatly improved the mechanism for syncing between the phone and watch (Cool!). Also exciting to hear was the improvement to running apps much faster and more efficiently, mainly by keeping frequently-used apps in memory and updating information in the background (Really Cool!). All of which makes for a more favorable operating environment for a healthcare messaging app.
With this news, our team set out to revamp the TigerText watch app from the ground up, utilizing all the improved performance benefits watchOS 3 offers. We also took the opportunity to update the look and feel of the user interface. We’re very happy with the end result, which boils down to a much snappier and responsive messaging experience.
With all this said, take the new and improved TigerText Apple watch app out for a spin and let us know what you think!