Future Apple Watch to Adopt Solid State Buttons With Haptic Feedback

tex210

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2003
270
63
No camera. Animoji sensors for lighting up the screen when it detects gaze and turn. Kill false activation and assist proper time display. But my personal dream would be an e-ink type version offered as well. I don’t need pretty colors, and it would be great in the day.
I agree with the death of the crown. If we’re using the iPhone X Animoji type sensors, gestures don’t need to be on screen.
Edit- does e-ink use more juice in dark mode, or is that just lcd?
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
9,426
3,440
So I can't push the button with standard gloves on?

Isn't that the button I need to push in emergencies?!?
Looks like they hate buttons and want to eliminate ALL of them. Soon, we will develop a new phone that can ONLY be powered on and off using special device because we don’t have a god damn button to press and turn a device on.
 
  • Like
Reactions: garylapointe

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,142
1,803
Between the coasts
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.
Yes, there are other ways to skin this cat. That's part of the fun of design.

I'm not the sort who would say that I'd hate Apple forever if they were ever to get rid of the Digital Crown. However, I do enjoy it, both for its practicality and whimsy.

The practicality, as I see it, is that its function is almost instantly understandable. Granted, rotating it does not charge the battery (wind the watch), but it does cause things on the display to move, much as if you were setting the time on an analog watch. Contrast this to the mouse, with a function that's totally incomprehensible without a demonstration or significant experimentation.

Like touching the screen, touching the crown has an understandable, direct effect on what you see on the screen. Call it WYTIWYG - What You Touch Is What You Get (pronounced witty-wig, the way Tweety Bird might pronounce wizzywig).

If it was replaced by, say, a solid bar along the side of the case (like a touch pad), functionality would be less obvious - it also wouldn't be begging to be touched.

The whimsy is in its connection to timekeeping tradition. While plenty of digitals have emulated mechanical watches (sometimes by overall shape, nearly always with virtual watch faces that mimic analog), their mechanical pushbuttons are more reminiscent of early digital watches from the likes of Casio and Timex, "Now which two buttons am I supposed to press and hold to set the alarm??" Those 3-to-5-button UIs were the complete opposite of intuitive - why do we need a reminder of those not-so-good old days?

So yeah, I really like the Digital Crown as a UI element. When Apple does come up with a substitute (which I expect they will at some point), I hop it will be an exciting change, not just another pushbutton or touch surface.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: bluespark

tresmith

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2014
413
192
They need to expand that technology and bring about a solid state keyboard for the macbook pros. That butterfly garbage isn't cutting the mustard.
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
8,286
2,471
They going to get rid of physical buttons to cut costs. That's all there is to it.
Whilst that may a side effect of such a change.
Going from a physical moving mechanical control, to a solid state version is often a very positive move.
Like ditching the popper button mechanism for the old home button on iPhones to the solid state one that just detects your touch, and not needing you to physically press it in.
It becomes vastly more reliable, nothing physical to wear out and break.
Waterproofing such things is a lot easier generally.

If such a dial was a GIANT dial that turned, then it would be very obvious it was not actually turning, and you hand/finger was slipping over it's surface, and it was electronically working out it's movement.
But given how tiny the "digital crown" right now, I'd imagine most people, most of the time would not even realising it was not actually physically turning.
 

cmaier

macrumors G5
Jul 25, 2007
14,049
8,522
California
Looks like they hate buttons and want to eliminate ALL of them. Soon, we will develop a new phone that can ONLY be powered on and off using special device because we don’t have a god damn button to press and turn a device on.
They don’t hate buttons. They hate moving parts. They have plenty of “buttons” with no moving parts. Magic Mouse, magic track pad, iPhone 7 home button, etc etc.
 

Macaholic868

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2017
387
427
So same will happen to the iPhone? No buttons anywhere? Also, I stopped using the digital crown to scroll. I just use it as a home button and if Apple adopts iPhone X swiping gestures on Apple Watch, there's no need for it in my opinion.
If they do it for the watch I don’t see why they wouldn’t also do it for the phone at some point unless it’s a disaster and they can’t get it to work properly.
 

pika2000

macrumors 603
Jun 22, 2007
5,389
4,624
This will probably use a similar tech as HTC’s squeezable phone, putting a pressure sensor on the frame of the watch.
 

Macaholic868

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2017
387
427
Still use a basic analog watch and an iPhone. Don't think I'll ever need a "smart" watch.
There are really only a specific set of use cases. The first is if you’re heavily into health and fitness and want to use it as a fitness tracker. The second is if you want to use it to receive notifications, reply to text messages, receive directions via maps and/or use Apple Pay without taking your phone out of your pocket.

Mine is the latter. When a call comes in and I’m in a meeting or driving I can use the watch to remind me to call the person back later or to fire off a quick response to a text message when I’m in a meeting or driving and stopped at a red light.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DeepIn2U

Arran

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2008
4,353
2,725
Atlanta, USA
What’s so great about taptic engine is when you click either the flashlight or the camera button in the iPhone X’s homescreen, it feels like I’m clicking real physical buttons. It blows my mind.
That flashlight button on the lock screen has really annoyed me. Until I read your comment.

I had no idea that you had to deliberately push it. I've mostly been giving it a light touch (like the control center flashlight button) and 95% of the time the light refuses to turn on. Maddening.

But now that I know, I agree with you that it has a nice, satisfying, click-button feel: Click-on, click-off, click-on, click-off. I could do it all day now. :)

The BIG problem is that there's no visual indication on the UI that it's a force touch button. Apple needs to fix that and then stop changing the UI so often.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ElectronGuru

DeepIn2U

macrumors 603
May 30, 2002
6,044
1,624
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Apple will continue to use a two button configuration with a Digital Crown and a Side button, but neither button will be a traditional physical button.



Article Link: Future Apple Watch to Adopt Solid State Buttons With Haptic Feedback
LMAO ...

That’s funny because the Digital Crown IS digital!

When in a scrolling menu or list or notification that ends, if you try to scroll beyond you get a force touch like feedback that stops the crown from scrolling. That’s digital to me.

I noticed this on my S2 Nike+ and now my S3 Nike+
 

cmaier

macrumors G5
Jul 25, 2007
14,049
8,522
California
LMAO ...

That’s funny because the Digital Crown IS digital!

When in a scrolling menu or list or notification that ends, if you try to scroll beyond you get a force touch like feedback that stops the crown from scrolling. That’s digital to me.

I noticed this on my S2 Nike+ and now my S3 Nike+
That’s not what digital means. That’s haptic.
 

DeepIn2U

macrumors 603
May 30, 2002
6,044
1,624
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Perhaps but given my experience with the Apple Watch I’ll believe it when I see it / feel it. With the watch we were told the haptic feedback engine would be inaudible and would feel like someone was tapping you on the wrist. The haptic feedback is clearly audible if the room is silent and I’ve got a call coming in. It feels like the phone feels when it’s on vibration mode in my pocket. That’s not exactly how Apple sold it. It works a hell of a lot better when the Maps app is open on the phone and you’ve got an upcoming direction notification. That feels like 3 quick taps and I don’t hear it but I’ve got a car with a moon roof so it’s not exactly quiet when the moon roof is open or the windows are down.
Phone ring yes haptic engine will be loud in a very quite room.

Reminders, meeting notifications, workout app countdown alert are all low vibration cycles and are taps on the wrist.

Sounds like you haven’t own one long enough or just picking battles to hate on a product.
 

Mac 128

macrumors 603
Apr 16, 2015
5,361
2,903
I'm not the sort who would say that I'd hate Apple forever if they were ever to get rid of the Digital Crown. However, I do enjoy it, both for its practicality and whimsy.
...
If it was replaced by, say, a solid bar along the side of the case (like a touch pad), functionality would be less obvious - it also wouldn't be begging to be touched.

The whimsy is in its connection to timekeeping tradition. While plenty of digitals have emulated mechanical watches (sometimes by overall shape, nearly always with virtual watch faces that mimic analog), their mechanical pushbuttons are more reminiscent of early digital watches from the likes of Casio and Timex, "Now which two buttons am I supposed to press and hold to set the alarm??" Those 3-to-5-button UIs were the complete opposite of intuitive - why do we need a reminder of those not-so-good old days?

So yeah, I really like the Digital Crown as a UI element. When Apple does come up with a substitute (which I expect they will at some point), I hop it will be an exciting change, not just another pushbutton or touch surface.
I’m all for keeping the Digital Crown to satisfy your nostalgic whimsy! So long as you’re also not one of those who insist there can be no round Apple Watches, since these are all choices of style. That said, I’d argue for Apple to make a proper left-handed version with the correct orientation, or otherwise center the crown.

I disagree that a touch bar functionality would be any different experience than the crown for the vast majority of users, sans the whimsy of course. As with all Apple products, there are many unintuitive control interfaces which a new customer must get used to — and it’s getting worse. Removing the home button required a learning curve for all previous iPhone users, and this would be no different. But once a customer knows the touch bar is there, it’s plenty intuitive. From a paractical standpoint, it’s possible to never need to use the Digital Crown.

They going to get rid of physical buttons to cut costs. That's all there is to it.
There are many reasons to get rid of the physical buttons — eliminate all moving parts prone to failure and water ingress, increase space inside the watch for more battery capacity or additional functionality, and yes cost. But I would say reclaiming space is among the top reasons to eliminate a bulky mechanical part on a device where space is at a premium, especially if they want to make the case thinner, or shaped differently.
 

DeepIn2U

macrumors 603
May 30, 2002
6,044
1,624
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
No, I've thought myself that the 'digital crown' is a pointless gimmick, just like the touch bar.
Hmm.

When I’m having a workout and I’m feeling super strong and push up 20-50lbs in weight I can easily tap on the weight or sets in an exercise and set my desired number with significantly more efficiency (speed, accuracy, and effortlessly) using the Digital Crown than anyone could using swipe touch.
 

Attachments

Mac 128

macrumors 603
Apr 16, 2015
5,361
2,903
Hmm.

When I’m having a workout and I’m feeling super strong and push up 20-50lbs in weight I can easily tap on the weight or sets in an exercise and set my desired number with significantly more efficiency (speed, accuracy, and effortlessly) using the Digital Crown than anyone could using swipe touch.
You could do this just as easily with a touch bar on the side of the bezel as well. Or even easier by saying: “Hey Siri, add 50lbs more weight”.

The crown is a stylistic affectation, reflecting a nostalgic, anachronistic, throwback to the days of the analogue watch. But any potentiometer can do this in any form if manual interaction is required. Some round Android Wear watches accomplish this with a rotating bezel.

That said, I find the crown somewhat fiddly, both in placing my finger on it, as well as turning it reliably. It’s hard to imagine for me that it’s a quicker, more efficient input method than a direct numeric keypad, assuming that’s what happens when you tap on the entry window — in essence moving your finger from the display, sliding the crown to the exact number you want, and moving to set it? But I suppose with a little practice it might be slightly more efficient depending on how the interface is designed.
 
Last edited:

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,142
1,803
Between the coasts
I’m all for keeping the Digital Crown to satisfy your nostalgic whimsy! So long as you’re also not one of those who insist there can be no round Apple Watches, since these are all choices of style. That said, I’d argue for Apple to make a proper left-handed version with the correct orientation, or otherwise center the crown.

I disagree that a touch bar functionality would be any different experience than the crown for the vast majority of users, sans the whimsy of course. As with all Apple products, there are many unintuitive control interfaces which a new customer must get used to — and it’s getting worse. Removing the home button required a learning curve for all previous iPhone users, and this would be no different. But once a customer knows the touch bar is there, it’s plenty intuitive. From a paractical standpoint, it’s possible to never need to use the Digital Crown.



There are many reasons to get rid of the physical buttons — eliminate all moving parts prone to failure and water ingress, increase space inside the watch for more battery capacity or additional functionality, and yes cost. But I would say reclaiming space is among the top reasons to eliminate a bulky mechanical part on a device where space is at a premium, especially if they want to make the case thinner, or shaped differently.
This entire thread has gotten off the original premise, but what the heck!

I find it interesting that you're defending the use of unintuitive interface elements (or, perhaps more accurately, believe that Apple will eliminate the intuitive in favor of something less intuitive). "Intuitive" can be considered one of Apple's core values. When they use an element that's less than intuitive (like needing to force-touch the flashlight and camera buttons on an iPhone X lock screen) they've fallen short of their ideal. The unintuitive needs to be eliminated or made more apparent (like color-coding or shading to indicate the presence of a force-touch function). (By the way, as much as I'm a heavy user of right-click/control-click on a mouse/trackpad, there does need to be a sensory cue that a context menu is available - a change of pointer shape/color, for example, or a taptic response - far too many users are unaware that this incredibly useful feature even exists). My standard would be, "If you want to get rid of the Digital Crown, the replacement should be at least as intuitive and effective." I hope it's Apple's goal as well.

Now, to whimsy... I have mine (Digital Crown), you have yours (round watch case). There are many reasons why a round digital case is inefficient. Most electronic components are rectilinear, so they pack well into a rectilinear case (how many people use round suitcases?). There's less waste cutting rectangular displays from a sheet containing multiple units (like cutting square vs. round cookies from a sheet of dough - round is only preferred because there are no corners to break off).... I've yet to see anyone make a convincing argument for practicality, other than that a round watch with the same diameter as the diagonal width of a rectangular watch encloses more space, leaving room for a larger battery. The trouble is, that larger battery is in a bigger watch. I'm not a fan of huge wristwatches, and I've yet to see a useful round digital with a modest diameter, so I'm happy with my inelegant rectangle. A bit of form-follows-function can be a good thing. All the other arguments come down to, "I don't want to wear a rectangular watch."

Yes, there are plenty of solid arguments for eliminating all mechanical switches and knobs in favor of touchscreen displays. It's the fundamental reason the smartphone has been so successful. However, so long as a computing device needs to be reset/restarted from a non-functioning state, physical/mechanical switches continue to have an important function. Two switches seems to be the minimum on heavily-handled devices like smartphones and watches, to reduce the chance of accidental resets. A reset where the user's body is used to complete the circuit is at least possible, but again, preventing accidental activation is a challenge.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shirasaki

Ian999

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2018
1
0



A future version of the Apple Watch will be updated with solid state buttons that don't physically click but instead use a Taptic Engine to provide haptic feedback to users, reports Fast Company.

Apple will continue to use a two button configuration with a Digital Crown and a Side button, but neither button will be a traditional physical button.

What Fast Company is describing is the same solid state button design that Apple first introduced with the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus Home button. These devices, and later iPhones with a Home button, use solid state buttons that provide haptic feedback from the built-in Taptic Engine to mimic a button press. Apple uses a similar method for its MacBook and MacBook Pro trackpads, which also lack physical buttons.

Solid state buttons will improve water resistance in the Apple Watch and also take up less space, leaving more room for a bigger battery or other components. Fast Company's source also alleges Apple is working on using the top of the buttons as sensors to gather health-related data like heart rhythms as some types of measurements require more than one point of contact with a user's skin.

According to Fast Company, the Apple Watch could adopt solid state buttons as early as 2018, but if the feature doesn't make it into the 2018 Apple Watch models, solid state buttons will be introduced in 2019. In the future, beyond 2019, Apple is also said to be working towards a watch that has no buttons at all, with the sides of the device designed to respond to touch and swipe-based gestures.

Previous 2018 Apple Watch rumors have made no mention of solid state buttons, but we have heard that the fourth-generation Apple Watch models could feature a display that's 15 percent larger, perhaps through a reduction in bezel size. New models are also said to feature a longer battery life and improved health monitoring capabilities.

Article Link: Future Apple Watch to Adopt Solid State Buttons With Haptic Feedback
Digital Crown? More like Robots Ring-piece.
 

DeepIn2U

macrumors 603
May 30, 2002
6,044
1,624
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
That’s not what digital means. That’s haptic.
Haptic doesn’t force tension against rotation. Their not connected that way. Digital can do that.
[doublepost=1528663797][/doublepost]
You could do this just as easily with a touch bar on the side of the bezel as well. Or even easier by saying: “Hey Siri, add 50lbs more weight”.

The crown is a stylistic affectation, reflecting a nostalgic, anachronistic, throwback to the days of the analogue watch. But any potentiometer can do this in any form if manual interaction is required. Some round Android Wear watches accomplish this with a rotating bezel.

That said, I find the crown somewhat fiddly, both in placing my finger on it, as well as turning it reliably. It’s hard to imagine for me that it’s a quicker, more efficient input method than a direct numeric keypad, assuming that’s what happens when you tap on the entry window — in essence moving your finger from the display, sliding the crown to the exact number you want, and moving to set it? But I suppose with a little practice it might be slightly more efficient depending on how the interface is designed.
Due to a digital slider bar ... accuracy would need to be calibrated uniquely to everyone’s use.

HTC used to make a keyboard smartphone back in the Microsoft Pocket PC days using one .... I think H620 or something like that (can be found on gsmarena.com site) and they killed the product. This is before Samsung also tried to compete with Blackberry in their heyday with the “blackjack” keyboard smartphone using a digital 4-way click pad. Guess which one won out?

Screen solves the problem with minute actuation accuracy due to having the right friction for perceived resistance- just like the trackpad on all MacBooks since 2008. Even the glass on iPhones feels very different to my touch at least vs any other android phone.

Digital slide slider could happen but how would Apple avoid spurious actions vs intended actions? How is this solved using a crown (in other non smartphones vs digital watches)?!