It’s not just about what the Apple Watch looks like; it’s also about what the wearable can do and, more importantly, the UI users will have running on their wrists. The Apple Watch software isn’t exactly iOS, but instead a more bubbly and shrunk down version, which users will mostly navigate using something Apple calls a Digital Crown.
We got to quickly check out a working Apple Watch model after the company’s event on Monday, and we filmed a brief overview of how users will be navigating through the UI when the wearable hits in April. It certainly takes some getting used to, and is especially different with the Digital Crown in play. There’s no pinch-to-zoom support; instead, you simply scroll the Digital Crown to zoom in and out. Press the Digital Crown and you’ll be taken to your home screen; press it yet again and you’ll see whatever watch face you prefer.
Force Touch is also another big way users will be navigating the Apple Watch. The technology will essentially determine how hard you’re pressing down on the device’s screen, and act accordingly. So if you press hard, one UI element will pop up, as opposed to a simple tap. There are a lot of new elements and gestures users will need to learn, so the learning curve is definitely steep in the early going.
Learning how to navigate software on your wrist has become a complicated problem, one that companies like Pebble and Google have tried to address. Apple’s take is nothing if not colorful, but, at least in our early hands-on, it’s definitely not the easiest thing to use. Not something you typically say about Apple products. However, this isn’t a typical Apple product.
To see what the UI is like, check out the video above.