Apple Watch Distinguishes Between Short and Long Looks

It's fun to see so many more details of the Apple Watch emerging as a result of Apple's releasing their WatchKit to developers who are creating apps. I summarized many of these details in a previous post, including the pixel dimensions of both sizes of the Apple Watch. An interesting article on The Verge also has a good summary, including some details that I missed. In particular, an interesting feature of the Apple Watch is that it will distinguish between "Short Look" and "Long Look" notifications. If it senses that you're just glancing at your watch, you'll get a single message, such as that your plane is boarding now. But if you keep looking at the notification, more information appears. In this case, the flight number, boarding time, and gate number.

During the Long Look, the icon for the app and the original notification get smaller and move to the top of the screen to make room for the additional detail. You can then scroll through the additional information and perform actions such as commenting, favoriting, or dismissing. It's amazing how Apple has thought through such fine details as this. 

The Verge again discusses a point I made in my earlier post: that much of the computing power takes place on one's iPhone, which then pushes information to the Apple Watch. However, they note three exceptions: dates, times, and timers function independently from your iPhone. Presumably that means that if you don't have your iPhone with you, you'll still be able to use your Apple Watch as a watch. And again they make the point that Apple says native apps will be coming to the Apple Watch later next year, meaning that these apps will function independently of your iPhone.

Why would Apple make their watch so completely reliant on connecting with one's iPhone? I'm guessing it comes down to their fundamental guiding principle: user experience. In this new environment, they want to have strict control over the user experience. So they've greatly constrained the ways in which information can be presented on the device. Once the environment is launched, and developers gain experience in feeding select bites of information to the device in precisely the way Apple requires, then Apple will open up the platform for native apps. 

Apple has also constrained the gestures used to interact with Apple Watch. Presumably this is because the display is relatively small, with simple gestures being necessary for a positive user experience. According to The Verge, the gestures are limited to vertical swipes to scroll through the screen, horizontal swipes to go between pages, tapping to select, and a "force touch," which opens a contextual menu. Also, the digital crown lets one scroll quickly through pages. Plus, there's an "edge swipe" that goes back and another edge swipe that opens the Glance view.

I believe Apple has another winner. They've given an extraordinary amount of attention to every last detail. This is what makes Apple products special, and loved. It will be fascinating to see how the Apple Watch does in the marketplace.

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Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.