Short  Watch Thoughts - III The Missing Magic

Two things made the original iPhone so incredible:1

  1. It could do incredible things that no “phone” had ever done before.
  2. It did a very good job of disguising the slow things that it couldn’t do well right off the bat. (think checker box web views in original Safari)

I think that the Apple watch compares very favorably on item #1, but too often fails at #2 (thinking spinner when trying to launch the simplest of apps). Additionaly, it may be that the acceptable delay is shorter than it is on a phone, since we are so accustomed to responsive phones, and because holding your arm up while looking at a postage-stamp sized screen quickly becomes unpleasant.

Obviously, passing data between the phone and the watch is REALLY hard to do. I wouldn’t suggest otherwise. But that is the constraint around which Apple either needs to impose a simpler paradigm on its users, or figure out how to fake it magically. This is the type of minor detail that so often gives users and fans a small moment of catching their breath when Apple seems to pull off something impossible.2

Here’s a dumb idea inspired by my thinking about the delay in text parsing: maybe, any time a user initiates anything that takes more than half a second, there is a system-based guarantee that if the user drops their wrist and doesn’t move on, that the watch will give them a designated tap them to indicate that the app/action is ready for use. It would at least solve the problem of users feeling frustrated waiting an unknown amount of time with their arm propped up like Walter Kornbluth. I don’t know if it’s a good idea, but it has a lot of appeal for me.

  1. Among an incredibly long list of things… 

  2. There is another post in here probably about Apple’s success being related to successfully pulling off existing “impossible” but commonly held ideas (a flat computer that you hold in your hand), rather than coming up with new whiz-bang ideas (live-photos). 


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