Chipsets and gestures
Last week was Apple’s annual unveiling of its new watches (and smartphones of course). As expected, the company launched the Apple Watch Series 9, as well as an updated Watch Ultra. The big news with the Series 9 was an upgraded chipset which, according to Apple, is 30% faster than before. The new chipset means that Siri requests are now processed on-device, rather than having to ping the cloud with every request, thus speeding up the process. But the bigger news was Apple’s launch of gesture control, called “Double Tap”. By tapping your thumb and index finger together twice (hence “double tap”) the primary action in whichever Apple app you are in takes place. For example, if there is an incoming call, rather than having to tap accept on the watch screen, a simple double tap will answer the call (and end it once you are finished chatting).
The Ultra also gained similar features (of course) as well as a screen that is 50% brighter without any impact on overall battery life.
The Circana Take:
- Double Tap is the key innovation here. Yes, advanced chipsets and better battery life management are key, but with Double Tap Apple has managed to take the next step towards using the watch while ignoring the screen (to an extent). It means that key interactions with the watch can be more subtle and, most importantly, means you can activate key actions without having both hands free (imagine you are carrying shopping bags when a call comes in, for example).
- While a very clever innovation, it remains to be seen how useful Double Tap is in the real world and how successfully it is embraced by consumers. To be fair, Apple’s gesture control is not the first example to come to a watch: Huawei and other manufacturers have also been experimenting with this functionality. But having said that, Apple launching this feature brings the capability to the mainstream. The key now will be how successfully the feature is integrated into core apps, thus making this gesture a natural and standard part of a consumer’s interaction with their watch.