Saturday, 5 March 2016

Matt Birchler wrote a spot-on and comprehensive pieces about how Apple can take the Apple Watch further. While the whole article is accurate, I’m especially partial to his analysis of the Workout app, which seems very limited, and I’m sure leaves everyone wanting more:

Workouts has very basic functionality, but the functionality that is there works well. This is one part of the Watch where it seems like Apple was suitably conservative with what they were trying to do. It left us with an app that has us begging for more, not questioning its very existence.

[…]

One: Give me media playback controls in the app. People tend to work out with music or podcasts playing in their headphones, and they’re almost certainly going to want to skip forward or pause at some point. Right now you have to press the crown once to go to the app selector, again to bring up the watch face, and then swipe up to get the controls. Then you have to double press the crown to go back to the Workout app.

The fix seems simple, and would be to enable a swipe up from within the Workout app to bring up media controls. Swiping up does nothing right now, so it could be added without impacting anything in the existing app. Boom, done.

Birchler also suggests giving third-party apps more power, but I’d take that a step further: the Workout app is composed of different components: ‘Outdoor Run’, ‘Rower’, ‘Indoor Cycle’, but I don’t think it would be too hard to allow apps to build extensions for the Workout app itself. It doesn’t sound too crazy, given that the fitness features are some of the Apple Watch’s main selling points, and why wouldn’t Apple want to expand its non-exhaustive array of workout types? I’m sick of having to choose ‘Other’ every time I play a game of basketball, and if a third-party option gives me a wider breadth of workout styles, that’s win for everyone.

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