The new RustyBrick Apple Watch Siddur, says RustyBrick CEO Barry Schwartz, is “aimed at making Jewish life just a bit easier.” The goal is to give individuals easy access to common tefillos, important zmanim, a glance at the Jewish calendar and access to find nearby shuls, reports Times of Israel.
The app was made available in the App Store Monday for Watch owners who are using iOS 7.1.
The app, Schwartz believes, is also the answer to prayers for better-written Watch apps. Although the Watch has been on the market for barely a month, there’s already a lot of griping in the tech media about its apps, with the main complaint being that they are just very slow. For example, uber-geek and app author Marco Arment wrote in a recent post on his blog about how a watch app he designed based on an iPhone app “sucked. WatchKit load times are inconsistent and problematic. Every time the interface loads or changes, the Watch and iPhone communicate round-trip over Bluetooth. Whether due to wireless flakiness, 1.0 OS bugs, or (most likely) both, WatchKit is frustratingly unreliable.”
That’s not a problem for RustyBrick’s Apple Watch Siddur app, said Schwartz, which was designed from the ground up for Apple Watches. “This update is not some basic Apple Watch app you’ve seen from others, it is likely the most comprehensive Apple Watch app out there.”
The app provides full details on times for tefillos, shul location, brachos, Daf Yomi, Sefiras Ha’omer, and much more.
Among the features: “Quick prayers” which show up in the correct context (hour of day, etc.) on a Watch; a Jewish calendar with programmable alerts for times of tefillos, Yomim Tovim, events, etc.; a shul locator that shows you where services are taking place, connected to the iPhone’s map app which provides directions; and “handoff support with the iPhone, which allows a screen that is being displayed on the Watch to show up on the iPhone.
That latter feature is important, because although Watch apps can operate independently, they are generally much more useful when working in tandem with an iPhone “parent app.” On the other hand, many such Watch apps simply display the same screens that can be seen on the iPhone and are effectively just mirrors of their namesake app. The RustyBrick app is neither “rootless” nor iPhone dependent; it’s got its own screens and displays, and connects to databases to display times, locations, etc. on its own, but knows when to defer to its Big Brother, always remaining on call in case the user wants the larger feature set of the iPhone Siddur app during their interaction with the Watch version.