I’ve been wearing a Pebble for the past year or so, because (1) I think wearables are where tech is headed & I want to have an educated opinion on them, and (2) I “deserve” a reward for juggling a newborn and two big sisters. (Don’t you judge me!!1!!! 😉 )
There’s enough to fill a bunch of notes about my experience with the Pebble but for those who haven’t seen one: a Pebble is a smart watch with a week-long battery-life, a monochrome display, and four buttons (back, up, select, down). It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and does lots of stuff, chief among that being the display of your phone’s notifications.
What it doesn’t do (on iOS at least) is let you quickly respond to those notifications. To do that you have to pull out your phone. I find myself wishing it had a built-in mic so I could dictate things like “reply I’ll be there in 15” and have the phone stay in my pocket.
Meanwhile, I’ve been slowly watching the WWDC keynote as time and kids permit, and got to the part where they show off interactive notifications in iOS 8. (It’s about 50 min into this video.)
“Well that’s interesting”, I thought, then “YAAAARRRRGLLLLE!!!” and collapsed to the ground, clutching at the Lego minifig embedded in my bare foot. (Mental note: don’t walk around our house barefoot while viewing videos an iPhone screen.)
But in that moment of searing pain, I think I had an epiphany.
What I want in a wearable is exactly what Apple seem to be lining up to give me.
– a display just big enough to render 107 characters in Helvetica Neue Light plus some UI chrome
– a screen filled with the display, and small enough to compare favourably to a woman’s larger size fashion watch; perhaps a 320×240 display at 1.3 or 1.6 inches
– default watchfaces that fill the whole display
– maybe licensed faces from Tag Heuer, LV, etc?
– either the same four buttons(!) as the Pebble, or
– a touch-enabled screen that supports more complex swipe-style interactions…
– ‘back’ via left-to-right
– ‘act’ via right-to-left to bring up two menu items akin to the ones in iOS Mail *or in notification centre*
– Siri integration via either one of the physical buttons(!) or
– raise-to-speak, or
– “Hey Siri” always-ready support
(I’m not super happy with this list – it seems too complex for Apple.)
– 2-day-long battery life
– support for an extended battery in the strap
– possibly just a tiny face with straps or clips sold separately to make it a broach instead of watch.
– the actual hardware available in the same three variants of materials / colours as the iPhone 5S.
[ Update: another possibility for interaction is constrained-width versions of an app’s Today view widget. See my three-liner here. ]