It's Time the Apple Watch Got Smarter

It's Time the Apple Watch Got Smarter

May 4, 2016 13:01 EST • Alexandre Vallières-Lagacé • 3 minute read

We all noticed the Apple Watch bashing is kind of an ongoing trend nowadays. I personally already voiced my opinion on what Apple should do to fix the  Watch. So today, let’s take this a step further, no bashing I promise, it’s time the Apple Watch got smarter.

The very concept of a smart watch always made me smile. Not all smart watch are actually doing smart things. Displaying notifications alone does not make you “smart”. These little devices are the extensions of our phones and have a ton of useful data on them, and I’m not even including the cloud data in this. There is a lot of potential to do smart things with all this data.

Where the  Watch could excel is similar to what Google is doing with its predictive technology when you, for example, get a plane ticket reservation email in Gmail. It basically knows you will have to take a plane and presents you with the appropriate information at the right moment. Using a similar approach, there are a bunch of ways the Apple Watch can reduce friction, especially when you are a creature of habits.

What Workout?

Starting a workout is not complicated, one tap on the wheel, one tap on the icon and two more taps and you’re good to go. But the  Watch should know when I start a workout simply based on heart rate and accelerometer information.

Also, similar to when you did your stand-up for the hour and get a notification, your watch should ask you: “Did you just complete an 8 minutes run?” This way, no workout would be left untracked.

This technique would use the heartbeat monitor and accelerometer to guess your passed workout. Another technique would be for those having a time-based routine. Let’s say you walk 15 minutes to your morning commute, every day, well the  Watch could easily know and detect your schedule and movements to trigger an Outside Walk. Or simply ask you, “Have you just started to walk outside?” The GPS in your phone could also help.

A Special Context-Aware Complication

There could be a complication on your watch that is aware of what you are doing on your phone or Mac and shows you an icon (and shortcut) to an  Watch app when you raise your wrist.

This could work in a very similar way as Continuity works between your iPhone and your Mac. Let’s say I’m currently in Clear checking off a list of items. Rising my watch would show me this complication with the Clear icon and with a single tap, I could be brought in the Clear watch app on the right checklist. This could be triggered just by looking at the watch or doing a double wrist raising motion.

When we connect earbuds to the iPhone the app we most use with these is showing up on the lock screen. When you start your car, the  Watch could guess where you’re going based on your schedule and if you’re going to work check the traffic and propose a different route. The iPhone could also do this instead of just showing me “1 minute to Home” when I’m in my driveway…

With so few physical interactions possible on the watch, it’s not easy for Apple to implement these suggestions, but I really think they should push these smart features further and really come up with new ideas.

Even on a local system between the  Watch and the iPhone, there is enough data to help us go through our day in a more efficient way, after all, it’s a personal device so it’s time it starts to know you personally.