Categories
Apple

Apple Watch, “Round Edition”?

I took a bit of time this morning to play with the concept of a round Apple Watch. Some notes:

  • Converting watchOS to work with a round display would be a massive design effort. Everything would need to be rebuilt from the ground up, since most of the platform’s UI elements are rectangular. My proposal solves… almost none of these challenges. It’s literally the easiest screen to mock up.
  • I’ve moved the side button to the other side of the display, mainly for symmetry’s sake. This creates some problems, though, since I use the buttonless side of the Watch to brace against when I’m pressing the button or the crown. On the other hand, this change would make the “hold both buttons” gesture far easier.
  • The bezels here are the same size as on the current watch. A bezel-less round design would look sick, though—better than on the rectangular watch, since you wouldn’t have to deal with fitting square elements into the case’s rounded corners. ■

Image credits


Categories
Apple

Imagining a “bezel-less” Apple Watch

Yesterday, I imagined a thinner Apple Watch, engineering constraints be damned.

Today, another exercise in ignoring technical limitations! The market is trending towards “all-screen” smartphones; what would happen if Apple slimmed down the Watch’s bezels, too?

Some notes on the image above:

  • In shifting pixels closer to the Watch’s edge, the design above suffers for lack of white space (or, rather, “black space”). watchOS was engineered with wide black bezels in mind; because the UI’s default background is also black, the bezels read as “on-screen” margins and give the content some breathing room. Even if the hardware were bezel-less, the OS might still recreate these margins in software. But that wouldn’t have been a very rewarding Photoshop hack job.
  • In a few spots, I’ve taken advantage of the larger screen by adding content. For example, the modular face sports a few more complication slots, and the workout app adds an onscreen altitude metric. For the home screen, I’ve blown up the UI instead of adding more apps; I’ve always thought those icons could stand to be a bit bigger.
  • In order to maintain a rectangular screen shape, I’ve shrunk down the curve radius on each of the four corners. Admittedly, the end result feels a little too “blocky.” ■

Categories
Apple

Ideal Apple Watch thickness

Yesterday, I posted a graphic comparing the thickness of the newly-announced Apple Watch Series 3 to its predecessors. With each generation (from the first gen Watch to Series 2 and from Series 2 to 3), the Watch has grown thicker. It’s not hard to see why; the power demands of GPS (for the Series 2) and a cellular radio (for the Series 3) required larger battery sizes.[1]

But what if physics didn’t apply? If internal component size weren’t a constraint, how thin would you want the Apple Watch to be? In prepping the comparison above, I made a few assumptions:

  • Again, this is fantasy land. I ignored the problematic stagnance of lithium-ion battery tech. My ‘ideal’ Watch wouldn’t last you through the day. It might not even make it to lunchtime.
  • The various external Watch components (band grooves, side button, and Digital Crown) retain their current dimensions. I’ve adjusted the band groove angles to reflect a shallower attachment angle, which might break legacy band compatibility.
  • You could shave off another millimeter or so without shrinking the Digital Crown. But I worried about potential friction between the Crown and the user’s skin, hence the extra depth on bottom.

Suddenly (and unfairly), the Series 3 looks a bit chunky, doesn’t it? ■


  1. The 42mm Series 2 Watch has a 34% larger battery than the 1st generation (2015) version.  ↩


Categories
Culture

The Apple Watch keeps getting thicker

Quickly whipped up this comparison graphic. With the Series 3, Apple Watch thickness continues to trend the wrong direction.

High-res image available here. Watch vectors adapted from this source; they’re not likely to be particularly precise. Depths cited apply only to the aluminum and stainless steel Watch models. ■


Categories
Apple Tech

Handling the notch

Apple-watchers agree that iPhone Pro’s screen will feature a hardware “notch”—a cutout in its otherwise bezelless design for the camera, earpiece, and other sensors. But there’s less agreement on how the notch will be handled in software. The current status bar doesn’t seem to fit. Where will the omnipresent, centered clock go—if it remains onscreen at all?

One potential approach, which I’ve hacked together and included above, is to adopt a “two-row” status bar. This would take advantage of the vertical screen space to the notch’s left and right. Here, I’ve center-aligned the various indicators, since the rounded top-left and top-right corners made left- and right-alignment look odd. The clock gets pride of place at top left.


Thanks to Evan Blass for the iPhone Pro render and to Olivier Charavel for the notch mock-up. ■