Will the Apple Watch be so radically different we won’t understand how to use it at first? Perhaps so: Apple has produced a series of videos to teach Watch-wearers how the interface will work—videos which give us the best look yet at what our wrist-computer future might hold. (They also double as handy marketing tools.)
Four videos are up at Apple.com that not only act as tutorials, but also explain why Apple made certain decisions about the user interface design.
First, there’s an overall introduction to the watch that explains major features and components, like how to use the “digital crown” wheel on the side of the watch as a scrolling device. Though you can navigate with your finger on the watch’s face—it’s a touchscreen, after all—the digital crown allows for more precision. The digital crown also can be pressed in, letting you select content or take you back to the home screen.
We also get a peek at “force touch,” the technology by which pressing more firmly down on the screen gives you different options, kind of like an option-click / right-click on a mouse. The third button, on the bottom right, which oddly doesn’t have a name, always goes straight to your contacts, which helps confirm sneaking suspicions that the device will help replace your phone.
There’s also an explainer on messages, which you can see simply by raising your wrist when you get a notification that one has arrived. Apple shows a variety of ways to respond to messages: with a pre-written text reply (you can also write your own), a voice message, or Apple’s weird animated emoji.
The second video gives us a look at “face,” or the interface you see when your watch is on but you’re not using it. Apple explains how to customize each watch face—you can tap on specific pieces of information, then scroll through the other options you can have displayed there instead. All of this is done with a series of taps and the digital crown, which is interesting to finally see in action.
So, how do you communicate with your friends using the watch? A secondary small button below the crown brings you to “friends,” where you can scroll through a core group of contacts using the crown. When you choose the person you want to contact, you get a number of normal options—along with some special ones for watch-to-watch communication, including the much-oohed-over ability to send sketches, taps, and even your heartbeat to other users.
More videos are coming, including tutorials on Maps, Phone Calls and Workouts, all of which will reveal more about how the watch actually works. These are nice but it’s funny to think that we still have to learn how to use a new device that surely can’t be more complicated than our phones—shouldn’t it be so intuitive that we don’t need videos?