Following the release of WatchKit earlier this week, I've been reading through the documentation and listened to what developers had to say about it. Here's my original roundup of links and tweets. Below, other interesting reads from around the web.
Tapping and swiping continue to be the primary way of interacting with all iOS apps, Apple Watch included. The watch has a few new swipe gestures, including a left edge swipe (to return to the previous screen) and a swipe up from the bottom (which activates Glances). Pinch-to-zoom and other multi-finger gestures don't exist on the Apple Watch; instead, you're presumably expected to use the device's Digital Crown to zoom in and out. There's also Force Touch, a long-press action that activates the menu or important contextual buttons within an app.
In a sense, this is like 2007 all over again. The native APIs almost certainly aren’t finished, and battery life is a huge concern. But with the Watch, Apple is ahead of where they were with the iPhone.
To that end, the Apple Watch is more of a “widget watch” — that is, it displays content which are less like apps and more like the widgets found in the notifications drop-down on iOS devices. (And yes, they require iPhone apps as a base.) And that shows the importance of iOS 8, which first introduced these widgets to third-party developers. For the first couple months of iOS 8, these widgets were pretty clunky. It’s only now that developers are starting to smooth out the kinks and make these widgets more useful and performant. And this will clearly be key for the Apple Watch as well.
These physical interactions with your designs are incredibly important at this point. Wondering why the scroll indicator only appears in the upper-right corner while you scroll your view? I was until I realized that’s where the digital crown is physically located.
San Francisco Text — that’s the one for smaller text sizess — has similar metrics to Helvetica Neue. Not the same, but if you squint a little, kind of close enough, and closer still to the metrics of Lucida Grande. Perhaps this is eventually the new UI font for all Apple interfaces. It certainly would be more of a distinct signature face than Helvetica, and it would be more legible, too.
And last, some early mockups of third-party Apple Watch apps.