The future of the Apple Watch

The future of the Apple Watch

I’m two months deep into living with an Apple Watch, and while it’s not quite ready for the mainstream, I’d say that wearables will be the future for a lot of us. Sure, it’s a slightly clunky first-gen product, but it definitely has its exciting little moments that feel like the future.

Obviously the thing we’re most interested in is the Apple Watch’s email abilities. These may at first appear limited in their current state but, again, offer up an interesting glimpse of things to come.

First-glance shortcomings

Take a quick peek at the Apple Watch’s email experience and you’ll no doubt hit on these pretty glaring issues.

A teeny-tiny screen – The smaller Apple Watch has a screen size of 1.3 inches making conventional email viewing problematic.
Emails are text only – No standard HTML to see here, keep your plain text versions brief.
No CTAs – No web browser means no CTAs
No metrics – No images and no CTAs mean no open and read tracking.

Dig a little deeper

Look a little closer and it’s plain to see that Apple are aware of these issues, and you can already see some of the groundwork that’s been put down to combat them.

Watch specific email – Apple have created a special email part just for the Apple Watch. This means you can send a hidden version of your email that will only be displayed on the Apple Watch. Consider us impressed, especially seeing as it supports…

Basic HTML formatting – That’s right, while the Apple Watch ignores conventional desktop/mobile HTML it does support limited HTML within the watch specific email. Formatting includes bold, italics, text colour, lists, quotes and more… (See ‘current’ watch example in article title image)

Deep app linking – While you can’t add a CTA, doesn’t mean Apple can’t. Phone numbers & addresses are automatically linked to the watch phone and maps apps respectively. Meaning deep-linking to 3rd party watch apps could be possible in the future.

apple-watch-actions

As wearables get increasingly popular it’s a safe bet that these email capabilities will be further enhanced. To be honest, I’m still pretty stoked that version 1 of that watch has a super-special email part for it, and is something that is definitely required to make email more watch-friendly.

Could we be seeing the future for a new breed of email? If we have watch-specific email, could watch-specific email actions be around the corner? (a la Google Schema?)

Smart watches thrive on quick interactions, which email could be a perfect medium for. Accept friend requests, record a TV programme or confirm subscriptions far faster than using a desktop or getting your phone out of your pocket.

Watch this space (#Sorrynotsorry)

By Sam Beddoes

Sam Beddoes is a Designer at Action Rocket, an email creative studio based in London. Find him on Twitter at @B3ddoes

  • Eric Joffe

    I hope to god wearables like the Apple Watch don’t catch on. If they do I really can’t see much use for them in this space. Yes, VERY specific types of emails could work, but do we really want them to? I think all of this is too soon and unworthy of the hype by email marketers.

    • Beddoes

      Agreed that it’s *very* early days for wearables, and emails will always be somewhat limited on them. They’re tantamount to unusable in their current state, but seeing as wearables can access emails it’s interesting to keep an eye on where it could be going.

  • http://time-wellspent.com Jaina

    While I’m against wearable tech, for the moment (I just don’t want my wrist flashing at me!) the deep app linking is interesting! Having emails be able to be more interactive and relevant to the device they’re being opened on is a very cool idea. I mean, sure we see it now with telephone numbers being clickable and what nots. I see some promise there. But still staying out of the wearable tech game. For now.