Future Apple Watch to Adopt Solid State Buttons With Haptic Feedback

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
8,286
2,471
Doesn't work.
A touch surface needs to be bigger than your fingers to recognize movement.
Your fingers cover the whole crown.
If they move, the electrical field doesn't change in a meaningful way.
I can't accept this.
What about fingerprint sensors, some now on android even recognise different swipe directions across the small pad.
If it can detect your fingerprint, it can detect a movement.
Even a normal phone screen tech, can tell what direction your finger moves.
You build either tech into a small area and t can watch (pun intended) for direction of movement across it's surface.
 

Niklas_nick

macrumors regular
Dec 12, 2016
144
186
No. The iPhone required your gloves to be off because of Touch ID. Though curiously the button, if I remember right, only sensed a press if it sensed your skin on the outer rim of metal. This was perhaps done to prevent it from going off in your pants all the time. My iPhone X does this and it really annoys me. I sometimes have it in my pocket while mowing and when I get sweaty it registers through my pocket if I don’t have it turned around facing outward. It will dial my emergency contacts randomly. I hate that.
OT but I have exactly the same problem, my iPhone X always calls my emergency contacts when I'm working and so far only when there's a lot of ambient noise (factory, outdoor work).
 

Arran

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2008
4,353
2,725
Atlanta, USA
Doesn't work.
A touch surface needs to be bigger than your fingers to recognize movement.
Your fingers cover the whole crown.
If they move, the electrical field doesn't change in a meaningful way.
Good point. I like the physical rotation of the crown anyway. It feels more satisfying.

Maybe they could build the rotational sensor into the crown/case junction itself? That would remove the shaft which is where water can leak in. Then they’d have to decouple the interior (dry) and exterior (wet) components of the sensor via magnetic or optical methods. Shouldn’t be too hard.

That would also free up internal space for more battery.
 
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jarman92

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2014
504
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The engineering difficulties behind making something like that work and still retain all-day battery life are far from trivial, for a number of reasons. Idle power draw would probably go up by several hundred percent. I wouldn't expect it, honestly. Also, OLED displays work poorly with static graphics elements; you'd get noticeable burn-in on the display within a week tops, and I can only imagine how much people would scream their heads off on forums over that... ;)
I would take slightly less than all-day battery life for a watch I can reliably check the time with. The battery has gotten larger and the chips better, to the point where the newest Watch can get nearly 2 days of runtime. Take that battery, strip on the cellular radio that I don't need or want, and make an option for an always-on display.

Android manufacturers have been doing it for years with OLED and don't seem to have burn-in issues; just make the time move around slightly.
 

aleni

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2006
2,136
235
They really need to make the watch thinner. Right now it’s so thick when I see it from the side, it’s like David Blaine performing an elevation trick right on my wrist.
 

Williesleg

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2014
347
564
NY, NY
Oh please please make it so I have to buy new watch bands, Timmy Cook!

BTW still waiting for the Mac Pro and Mac Mini update. The Intel NUC Hades Canyon is looking pretty good these days.
 

bluespark

macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2009
1,849
1,989
Chicago
I’m not crazy about moves like this. There’s nothing that lets you know you’ve pushed a button on a device better than feeling the click but I get that the more they can seal up a device the better they can water proof it.
Do you have an iPhone 7 or 8? The click is very much there even though the home "button" is solid-state. Once you get used to the slightly different feel, it's very difficult to tell that it isn't an actual mechanical button.
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Oh please please make it so I have to buy new watch bands, Timmy Cook!

BTW still waiting for the Mac Pro and Mac Mini update. The Intel NUC Hades Canyon is looking pretty good these days.
I'm not sure what the point of this post is. The new Apple Watch will certainly be backwards-compatible to all prior AW bands.
 

Tozovac

macrumors 65832
Jun 12, 2014
1,502
1,514
I’m not crazy about moves like this. There’s nothing that lets you know you’ve pushed a button on a device better than feeling the click but I get that the more they can seal up a device the better they can water proof it.
Agree. Next they will get rid of the screen and Siri will just dictate to you, for even more of a minimalist experience. Not a good path to keep diminishing certain physical connections. I agree, nothing feels better than actually pressing a well-designed button, just like it’s better to touch a icon on the screen larger than your finger so that you can tell it was depressed, instead of pressing on tiny thin text that your fingertip covers completely, often leaving you wondering whether or not the request took place.
 
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cfc

macrumors 6502a
May 27, 2011
703
347
I am hoping for another button or two on the other side with app-specific functionality.

Most of Apple's competitors in the workout market have at least 3 buttons. If non-workout users wouldn't want that then maybe they could offer a separate workout-oriented version.
 
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Mac 128

macrumors 603
Apr 16, 2015
5,361
2,903
I'm wondering how they'll do a solid state digital crown.
If they keep the Digital Crown, then they’re doing it strictly for style. An anachronistic throwback to the analogue watch, which is one of the chief arguments some make against having a round watch.

The Taptic Engine makes a lot of sense for a watch, as it’s the mechanical parts that breakdown. Buttons and crowns and the like. And there’s absolutely no reason to keep the crown now. There’s a nice thick bezel on the watch which can be used as a crown, and even if the touch capacitance is defeated by water or sweat, the Taptic Engine can sort out what the user is trying to do. Tapping the bezel along the length will advance the scroll, in much the same way as clicking along a scroll bar on a Mac advances the window scroll incrementally.
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The engineering difficulties behind making something like that work and still retain all-day battery life are far from trivial, for a number of reasons. Idle power draw would probably go up by several hundred percent. I wouldn't expect it, honestly. Also, OLED displays work poorly with static graphics elements; you'd get noticeable burn-in on the display within a week tops, and I can only imagine how much people would scream their heads off on forums over that... ;)
Well, other smart watches offer always on displays. But you do make a good point about OLED INhadnt considered before. Even a dim static display would lead to burn in on an OLED in no time, even if the image were constantly shifting, which just takes more power. But Apple is looking at micro LED displays going forward, right? Might that solve some of these issues?

Oh gods please no. How would you fit it? There's not enough room on either the bezel or in the case to put one there, and image quality would be absolutely abysmal. You could only squeeze in the worst kind of miniature pinhole webcam sensors, and aiming it in any sort of steady fashion would be a nightmare, especially for anyone on the other end watching you through it.
I don’t really agree. The Apple Watch currently has a huge bezel, which would easily accommodate the lens of my iPhone FaceTime camera. The rumor is that they’re enlarging the display, possibly edge to edge, in which case that’s lost, but they could always add a notch on the watch, just like they did on the iPhone (makes the flat tire complaint on the Moto sort of trivial) ;). If everything else is going toward face recognition, why not the watch?

The larger issue, is whether there’s enough room in the case to accommodate the camera mechanism, and not compromise battery life. Certainly getting rid of the physical buttons and stupid Digital Crown would free up quite a bit of room.

As for aiming it, it would primarily be for FaceTime and face recognition purposes, and aiming shouldn’t be a problem with visual display feedback. It could also be used for snapping quick pics when otherwise without a phone, and aim would be general. I shoot photos like that with my iPhone all the time which turn out fine. Sometimes, I just get feet, but most of the time it works. On the watch it will definitely be better than nothing. For things like selfies in a mirror it would work just fine. The camera could also be used for scanning bar codes and such, and could have an audible or haptic feedback for when captured.

So it’s not pointless, so long as there are no other major compromises to accommodate it.
 
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ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,138
1,795
Between the coasts
Please get rid of the Terminator red eye dot looking at us
Yeah, I don't think this is all that attractive, but it has nothing to do with function, it just distinguishes between cellular and non-cellular models. Since cellular is a new feature, Apple chose to find some way to make that obvious. I'd expect that'll disappear within another year or so.
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Huh? But isn't a "solid state button" exactly that? Therefore it doesn't move?
If it still spins then its not really "solid state".
And then the article also states "Apple is also said to be working towards a watch that has no buttons at all".

Therefore according to the article the progression will be solid state button then no button at all.
Solid state does not mean it doesn't move. The term originated to distinguish semiconductor devices (transistors and semiconductor diodes made from blocks of silicon, and piezoelectric buzzers made from blocks of crystalline material) from electromagnetic devices like solenoid-actuated switches (relays), and electromagnetic coil-based loudspeakers. It also distinguished between vacuum tubes fabricated from many discrete components and (again) semiconductors that are made from a monolithic block of material (therefore, no fragile wire filaments to burn out or break due to vibration).

While it has come to mean, "no moving parts," in fact there have been rotating "solid state" devices for many decades. They're called shaft-encoders. Rather than a potentiometer or rotating electromagnetic motor/generator, shaft encoders use either solid-state Hall Effect elements or optical sensing to register shaft rotation. In fact, that's exactly what the Digital Crown already uses. Quoting from http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2015/02/apple-reveals-the-technology-behind-the-apple-watchs-digital-crown.html (emphasis added):
A Trackable Element: Apple notes that he wearable electronic device may include a trackable element (#146) and a sensing element (#142). The sensing element is configured to detect the trackable element in order to detect inputs to the button. In one example, the trackable element may be a magnetic element and the sensing element that may include a magnetic field sensor, such as one or more Hall-effect sensors, that may be used to track rotation of the trackable element.
You may want to check out the entire article, as it includes a detailed drawing of the patented mechanism.
 

Mac 128

macrumors 603
Apr 16, 2015
5,361
2,903
Yeah, I don't think this is all that attractive, but it has nothing to do with function, it just distinguishes between cellular and non-cellular models. Since cellular is a new feature, Apple chose to find some way to make that obvious. I'd expect that'll disappear within another year or so.
[doublepost=1528563849][/doublepost]

Solid state does not mean it doesn't move. The term originated to distinguish semiconductor devices (transistors and semiconductor diodes made from blocks of silicon, and piezoelectric buzzers made from blocks of crystalline material) from electromagnetic devices like solenoid-actuated switches (relays), and electromagnetic coil-based loudspeakers. It also distinguished between vacuum tubes fabricated from many discrete components and (again) semiconductors that are made from a monolithic block of material (therefore, no fragile wire filaments to burn out or break due to vibration).

While it has come to mean, "no moving parts," in fact there have been rotating "solid state" devices for many decades. They're called shaft-encoders. Rather than a potentiometer or rotating electromagnetic motor/generator, shaft encoders use either solid-state Hall Effect elements or optical sensing to register shaft rotation. In fact, that's exactly what the Digital Crown already uses. Quoting from http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2015/02/apple-reveals-the-technology-behind-the-apple-watchs-digital-crown.html (emphasis added): You may want to check out the entire article, as it includes a detailed drawing of the patented mechanism.
Thanks for the explanation. Very interesting.

But it’s still a moving part that takes up space inside the watch case, which could be easily and more reliably replaced with a touch controlled scroll bar on the ample bezel of the watch face, or the side of the case. Now that the buttons are going away, the entire side of the watch can serve all three functions currently served by two buttons and a knob.
 

slu

macrumors 68000
Sep 15, 2004
1,636
106
Buffalo
I might be weird but I don’t use the spinning wheel - I always touch The screen to make selections
I was going to post the same thing. I use the side button to bring up Apple pay and I push the crown to bring up the apps, but I don't think I've ever turned the crown to scroll and I've had this thing like 2 years.
 

hxlover904

macrumors regular
Aug 20, 2011
139
37
Why not? If it's like the taptic trackpads used in recent MacBook/MacBook Pros (which work great, btw), it should work fine with regular gloves.
Try using the home button with a bandaid on. It doesn't work. (obviously TouchID doesn't).
 

Goaliegeek

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2009
564
203
Colorado
Hmm. I wonder how many more times I will non intentially hit the senor with my wrist when I bend it back when I swing a golf club or play hockey... it’s bad enough with the physical button.
 

ignatius345

macrumors 68020
Aug 20, 2015
2,324
3,087
Not crazy about Apple's war on physical interfaces, myself. I love that the iPhone still has a physical mute switch, for example, because it's totally unambiguous and works give you solid, tactile feedback. See also: the hated butterfly keyboard with its near lack of key travel.
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Sounds like you’ve never used an iPhone 6s or later, a 2016 or later MacBook Pro or 2016 or later MacBook, or a Magic Trackpad 2.
Never used, or used and didn't like? I've used a newer MacBook butterfly keyboard plenty. Used it for a month to try to write with it, and then used it to type up the eBay description to sell it because it sucked so badly.
 
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alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
1,104
NYC
I always felt this was obvious.

Why have a physical wheel (crown) that actually spins?
You need a shaft and waterproofing.
And it's pointless.
With today's tech, you can have the exact same looking wheel, but its stationary, and as you move your finger tip across it as you do now, instead of it physically spinning, it's surface just detects your finger movement and passes on the movement to the watch.

Think of it exactly like the iPod circular control dial/disk.
You ran your finger around it, to do things just as you would have a moving wheel.
But your finger just slipped over the surface, and it stayed still

I knew this was going to happen as it's so obvious and the user experience will be 99/9% the same as it is now.
With e benefit of no moving parts.
How do you get the tactile feel of a spinning grooved digital crown from your static surface?
 
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Lennyvalentin

macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2011
1,429
739
I would take slightly less than all-day battery life for a watch I can reliably check the time with.
Raise to wake is quite reliable IMO. Probably less than 1% failure rate.

Android manufacturers have been doing it for years with OLED and don't seem to have burn-in issues; just make the time move around slightly.
Moving it around would just make the burn-in area larger and slightly fuzzy. Phones with always-on displays have a much larger display to move the graphics around on; not really any such luxury on a watch, or at least not with an analog watchface.

I don’t really agree. The Apple Watch currently has a huge bezel, which would easily accommodate the lens of my iPhone FaceTime camera.
You seem to forget that the camera is bigger than its lens, and also that part of the bezel of an apple watch rests on the casing of the watch. You have to physically be able to fit the devices INSIDE the watch case.

Notching the display is going to be like going to failtown. Pretty much no matter where you put the notch it will interfere with some part of a watchface or widgets or app layouts.

Also like I said, very small cameras with very small lenses have bad image quality, particularly in low light, and sticking a camera on your wrist is always going to be a very bumpy ride. As soon as you move your arm (which doesn't have the same fine motor control as your hands/fingers) the image will shake like crazy. It would be a terrible experience for facetime for example, and unergonomic for the watch wearer as well. Try holding up your arm aiming your watch level with the ground at your face for any length of time. It's not going to be comfortable.

If everything else is going toward face recognition, why not the watch?
You unlock your watch just once when you put it on, and then it stays unlocked (unless the strap is too loose...) Not much point in face recognition then.

Forget cameras. It's a dead-end idea, shown by the general lack of cameras in pretty much all other wrist wearables as well.