Originally Posted on January 21, 2014
A few months ago Thomas Bogner posted an iWatch mockup on Dribbble that looked like a marriage between a Nike Fuelband and an iPhone. It was an impressive concept that got a lot of people excited including myself. However, it had a major flaw: the orientation of the interface made it impossible to use.
I had some free time over the holidays so I decided to take a stab at the problem and create a more user friendly concept. I wanted to retain a slim form factor like the Fuelband and incorporate familiar UI components from iOS 7. It needed to feel natural on the wrist and look like something Apple would actually produce.
I started with a few sketches then worked my way towards a rough 3D mesh of the device. I kept the band simple with a curved touchscreen display on the front. For physical controls I placed a single button on the left to act as the home button, and two more on the other side for volume controls.
For the lock screen I designed a simple black & white interface displaying the time, date, and button to activate Siri. From here the possible actions are: tap to use Siri, swipe up to unlock, or pull down to view notifications. Sound familiar? While I was designing this I found myself pretending what it would be like to use swiping gestures on my wrist. Give it a try, it feels pretty good!
The springboard has four app icons vertically stacked with a page controller on the right. Swiping up or down moves between pages of apps. Pressing the home button takes you back to the lockscreen.
Next, I decided to design an actual use case -- calling someone. In the animation below you can see how the Phone app could potentially work. One of the challenges I ran into was what to do about tabs. A normal tab view across the bottom wasn't going to work so I came up with a simple drop down control in the title bar. Tapping this would display a popover menu showing the other available pages. I also purposely left out several of the controls like "Edit" and "Add Contact." On a device this small I think it makes more sense to manage apps, contacts, and media from a synced iPhone or Mac.
Another concept I thought about was a heath & fitness app. Jawbone, Fitbit, and Nike have already proven the popularity of fitness wearables. I think it's safe to say that the iWatch will include a similar set of features like sleep and activity tracking.
One last thing I considered was how the iWatch will get its data. My bet is that it will be tethered to the iPhone over Bluetooth, providing a data connection through your existing plan. I always have my iPhone close by except for when I'm running or surfing so relying on it for a connection wouldn't be an issue. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that would disagree but that's a whole other discussion.
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