(Poll) Does the Apple Watch need text input?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by ManicMarc, Jul 11, 2015.


Does the Apple Watch need text input?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. ManicMarc macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2012
    One thing I've noticed that significantly decreases the utility of the watch is the lack of any way to input text without dictating it. I work in an open plan office, and often don't want annoy other people by dictating to my watch (or other device) - or perhaps I don't want the entire room to know what I'm texting.
    Pre-set replies are OK sometimes, but don't allow for a more nuanced response that is so often needed.

    Obviously there's no room for a keyboard, and the entering a PIN is cumbersome enough that T9 input would be a horrible experience.

    I like Microsoft's approach however, and would love to see this implemented on the Apple Watch.

  2. Sheza macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2010
    Cambridge, UK
    That Microsoft thing does look pretty cool.

    If you look a Samsung's latest(?) attempt at a Smart Watch, the one that slightly curves on your wrist. I mean it's awful, isn't it? It's clunky, unsightly, and although it does have a keyboard, it's too small for it. If you made the Samsung any bigger it'd look obscene. Rachel Riley famously said it was her 'fat fingers' causing problems when demonstrating the watch at whatever press event Samsung used. But she's hardly got fat fingers.

    I think Apple are right to push for better ways to input information into such a small device.
  3. jabingla2810 macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    Hand written recognition input is such a slow clunky input method. Especially one letter at a time.

    For the times when voice dictation isn't viable or appropriate, you can use your phone.

    The watch doesn't replace your phone, it works with it.
  4. shortcrust macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2008
    No, but I'd like to be able to input numbers during phone calls. I use it to make calls when on the move and am constantly stymied by "If you'd like to speak to main office, press 1".
  5. ManicMarc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2012
    I get that, but it does replace your phone for some scenarios - such as viewing an incoming message.
    By allowing simple text input (I'm not suggesting people are going to write novels on their watch) the situations where I can leave my phone in the drawer (or my desk at work while I'm two floors up) greatly increases.
    I think Apple will add it at some point - in my view the watch will replace the phone. When you want a big screen you'll reach for a much more usable iPad sized device.
    For that the watch needs its own cellular connection, which is a good few years off I reckon.
  6. friedmud macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    I don't think Apple will ever add it. This is very similar to when the original iPhone came out and everyone yelled and screamed about the need for a physical keyboard... but Apple knew better and stayed the path.

    Apple knows that tiny keyboards and single letter writing are terrible interfaces... and they would never release something like that.

    Just pull out your phone when you need to type something. This is the whole reason why the Watch is a phone add on and not a standalone device. The Watch is better at MANY things, but there are some things a phone is better at. The devices are not mutually exclusive.
  7. bunnicula macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2008
    I think expanding the preset texts list would be satisfactory for most situations.
  8. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    When I receive text messages on my Apple watch at work and I feel that it's important to provide a non-canned reply, I use my iPhone. In situations where I want to be as unobtrusive as possible in responding, I use one of the stored replies. Since I edited them, I find that they take care of most situations, letting the sender know that I got their message but can't reply fully and will get back to them.
  9. ManicMarc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2012
    Perhaps.. We will see. My take is the fact that they added voice dictation tells me they think people do want to enter content into their phone. As an owner of the first iPod Touch in 2007, I remember it didn't do email and it didn't let you add calendar appointments (despite the previously released iPhone already doing these things). Clearly someone thought a music player 'shouldn't do those things' but in the end they came round to the idea (back then you had to pay for software updates for the iPod Touch).

    Agree... Unlike the phone it seems it doesn't offer different replies based on who you're talking to. That would be pretty cool.
  10. Jack426 macrumors regular


    Jan 4, 2015
    North Carolina
    My vote is a "Yes", but another good option would be the ability to edit the preset replies "per person." That way you could set different replies for family/friends/work.

    I still think that an up/down scrollable keyboard would work. You could use the digital crown to scroll through the alphabet to the character, then either swipe the screen to select it or click in the digital crown.
  11. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I voted yes, but honestly, I don't know what would be a good text input system for a screen as small as a watch. Even Microsoft's method seems clunky. But I do hope someone figures this out, because I can't use Siri due to a speech disability.
  12. ATS macrumors regular


    May 7, 2015
    North Carolina
    The current set up works well for me. It's easier to pull my phone out if I'm sending and receiving multiple texts and I'm okay with that.
  13. doboy macrumors 68020

    Jul 6, 2007
    Want a text input to correct occasional mistakes in dictation, especially for foreign language.
  14. TrueBlou macrumors demi-god


    Sep 16, 2014
    Completely agree with this. The watch does fine with Siri and some pre-cooked responses to cover pretty much everything I've needed it to the past few months. When it doesn't, well that's what my phone is for.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that if Apple came up with some revolutionary method that they shouldn't add it. I just don't think it needs it.
    When they make a watch that can operate completely independently of a phone, well that'd maybe make me reconsider.
  15. JohnApples macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2014
    Does the Watch NEED text input? No. Would I like text input? Yes.

    I know the general consensus is that if you need to input text that can't be dictated for whatever reason, then just use your phone. And that's what I currently do. However, I don't want to use my phone in certain situations, and it would be really convenient if there was a way to type on the Watch, at least it would be for me.

    The problem is, I really don't know what kind of typing method would work. The screen is too small for any sort of real keyboard, T9 is clunky and outdated, and handwriting would be too frustrating and take too long. If there is a intuitive way to introduce typing to such a small screen, I'm sure Apple will figure it out somewhere down the road.
  16. JohnApples macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2014
  17. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Don't forget that the Watch works without a phone when connected over WiFi to Apple services like iMessage.

    I think it would be very handy in some situations, especially if you want to write a short reply but don't want to speak out loud.

    It would also be nice to use it to connect to new WiFi hotspots without the phone around. (My old WIMM smartwatch had a slow but usable text input method that I used often for this purpose.)
  18. Tmelon macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2011
    To me the lack of text input is the biggest downside of the watch. The Microsoft solution seems clunky but it's better than nothing. At the very least they should add a dialer to the phone app.
  19. anez macrumors 6502


    Jun 7, 2011
    That single-letter input would leave me clawing my eyes out with frustration-- it would be, in my view, unbearably slow. Text input would be nice, but I can't think of a way to implement it which would be more trouble than it's worth.

    In my book, what the Watch really needs is a greater array of user-defined text responses. That there are only seven or so available is one of the biggest (and most unnecessary) oversights on Watch OS 1.
  20. The Doctor11 macrumors 603

    The Doctor11

    Dec 15, 2013
    New York
    I would much rather pull out my phone and type it real quick rather than painfully try and hand write each letter. Also I feel Apple watch simply does not need a text input method other than the dictation it has.
  21. ManicMarc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2012
    I guess as someone who used to write pretty quickly on a Palm & Windows mobile PDA, The thought of typing each letter doesn't really bother me – I used to do it all the time pretty quickly .
  22. Shanghaichica macrumors G3


    Apr 8, 2013
    No. The screen is too small. I think anything other than Siri dictation would be cumbersome on such a small screen.
  23. Rok73 macrumors 65816


    Apr 21, 2015
    Planet Earth

    Apple will never ever implement text input on the watch. Never.
  24. iBighouse macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2012
    I think it might work if they combined predictive typing with gestures. I could see a method where after you swiped a couple of gestures for the first few letters a scrollable list, via the digital crown would allow you to pick the entire word from either an alphabetized list or a most-commonly-used list. All the while your sentence scrolls horizontally across the top of the display. A force touch might give you options to delete words or characters. Pressing the digital crown might then send the reply.

    I would definitely use something like that. Sometimes the reply choices just have no good choices...and all I need are the perfect two words to get the job done right.
  25. danmart macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2015
    Lancs, UK
    I voted 'no', but I was also a Graffiti user on Palm back in the day. I could write as fast using that as I could using regular writing with a pen, and without looking at the device, either.

    I would love Graffiti on iPhone even now. And you could probably make it work on a surface the size of the Watch but it would probably be slower to use.

Share This Page