Wrist Input Is Just Starting

The Apple Watch could really change things. Fundamental concepts of how we interact with a device/machine are progressing and the new wearable iOS interface by Apple is opening huge opportunities to leave the interfaces of the 20th century behind.

bone-and-muscles-of-the-hand-31-638We know it has a touch screen and accepts voice commands, just like the android watches. I think those are both clumsy and greatly flawed interfaces. Voice control is on version 1000 and it’s still crappy. Touch works great when you can see what you are touching, but not so much on a screen the size of your fingertip.

The future lies in the other three input methods –

  1. The “Digital Crown”, Apple’s name for the multifunction wind dial that can scroll, click, and home button. This is the perfection of 15 years of iPod/iOS interface, shrunken down to millimeters. Every Apple wearable will rely on this scrollable interface control and I’m sure GoogSung will copy it soon enough.
  2. The motion sensing abilities, including movements like shaking, rising, falling, walking, running, and rotating. Imagine the possibilities here if the device is responsive to these various movements.
  3. The pressure sensing touch screen. Apple is not clear if it’s got 2 levels or more, but the touchscreen knows if you are hitting or caressing it.

Put that watch on the wrist of a drummer and think of the data it could generate! C’mon Apple, let the OS accept continue/cancel commands from movement…. turn in for Accept, turn out for Cancel…. Use different faces or run commands based on orientation & movement….. so many new ways to integrate the technology and hopefully assist us in finding some sort of modern happiness ;-).

If they went so far as to give the scroll wheel a slight tactile click and then standardize the clicks needed to get to various tasks, it would actually allow for a pattern-based navigation that could be used by an impaired user:

press button, 3 ticks up, turn wrist in = call home
turn wrist in while 1 tick up = go to latest message

This could be our future interface when a large screen or keyboard isn’t available, and I hope Apple will continue to put their R&D, marketing, and integration skills into building this out.

My take deals mainly with how we interact with the controls of the watch. Here’s a great overview of the ways this new platform could be used in the world.