The Apple Watch needs an action button. Something to allow you to confirm, acknowledge, activate and navigate using a physical press. There’s even a button right there, on the side, waiting for the task.
The button, located right below the scroll wheel, was originally used by Apple for the People function. So few folks used this feature that Apple is canning it in watchOS 3 and replacing it with the “dock,” a series of apps that you swipe through like you previously did with the “glances” that popped up from the bottom.
So now, you tap on the button and you get a swipeable dock of apps. Still not ideal. I’d venture to guess that so few people will use the dock that it could be up for replacement again with watchOS 4.
When that time comes, I want Apple to replace it with a general OK or Action button. Something you can physically press when you need to confirm, stop a timer with sweaty hands, mute a notification, move “forward” in a stack — anything.
I’ve been talking about this concept for a year with Chris Harris, founder of Tapjet. But the importance of having a button seemed to pale in comparison to the issues loading and transferring data and keeping interaction times down to just a few seconds. We started the discussion up again after Apple announced such solid progress on fixing the slows this week at WWDC.