Just as iPhone has become all things to all people, Apple’s Watch has a similar use case or value proposition issue. It’s not just a device that does one or two things. We live in the 21st century and mass market devices are required to be multi-faceted. Watch is that.
On Tuesday I wrote about Watch as a fashion gadget and health gadget, but also touch on the navigation issues that remain, and a work around the provides faster access to applications by using multiple Watchfaces and Complications.
The key to rapid app navigation on Watch is not the Launchpad. Unlike iPhone or iPad, the Watch’s launchpad is ridiculously small and swimming with icons that are not easily recognized because there is no underlying app name. It’s just a bunch of icons, a few of which are recognizable, most are not. Complications can fix that.
In horology, a complication refers to any feature in a mechanical timepiece beyond the simple display of hours and minutes. A timepiece indicating only hours and minutes is otherwise known as a simple movement. Common complications in commercial watches are day/date displays, alarms, chronographs (stopwatches), and automatic winding mechanisms. The more complications in a mechanical watch, the more difficult it is to design, create, assemble, and repair.
Any feature or function on a watchface beyond the time is a Complication, and Apple Watch has plenty, and each one gives you a single tap access to its application. I prefer the Modular Watchface because it contains the most Complications; five in total; upper left (next to the time), middle, lower left, lower middle, and lower right.
Switching from one Watchface to another is a breeze on Apple Watch. Just swipe from right to left for a new face. Do it again for another face. And again. Or, swipe from left to right to go back. While the Watch Dock is limited to 10 applications and multiple taps to get to each one, a single swipe to a new Watchface can bring up five new Complications.
Watch takes a bit more effort and trial and error to determine which Watch applications to use, and which Complications work best. This is what I use.
Applications – All the standard Apple Watch apps are used; Mail, Messages, Phone, Photos, Calendar, etc. I’ve also installed Cardiogram (captures heart rate all day), Dark Sky (best micro-weather app), Deliveries, Dictionary, Due (like Reminders, but better), HealthView and HeartWatch (obvious for exercise), iTranslate, Just Press Record (great one tap audio recorder), PCalc and Pedomerter++, Spark email, theScore, Things, Storm Shield, Wunderground weather, and WeChat.
All those app icons show up together is a big screen mess on the Watch Launchpad. There’s a better way and it has to do with apps that use Complications. First, set up a Modular Watchface and add Complications to the five locations. Starting from the top left and going down to the lower right, I use HeartWatch, Calendar, Wunderground, Battery, and Pedometer. Those apps are the most important quick glance apps on my Watch.
Then, set up a second Modular Watchface and add more complications. One swipe, right to left, brings this Watchface into view. For this one I display WeChat, Weather, Phone, Messages, and Spark email.
Then, do a third Modular Watchface to add five more complications. Mine includes Just Press Record, Cardiogram, Alarm, Stopwatch, and Timer. Repeat the process of creating a new Modular Watchface and adding Complications until you get Watch set the way you want. Again, one swipe, right to left, brings up another Watchface and different Complications.
I use five Modular Watchfaces, each with five Complications, for a total of 25 apps which are more easily viewed and used than either the Launchpad or the Dock. The only negative here is that not all Watch applications have corresponding Complications. What you get with this arrangement is faster access to information– thanks to the multiple Complications on each Watchface– and faster access to open the applications; faster and easier than using the built-in Launchpad that swims with app icons, or the Dock itself, which is slow and cumbersome to use, and limited to 10 apps.