A feature in Wired looks at the story behind the development of the Apple Watch, through the eyes of Kevin Lynch, the former chief of technology at Adobe who was hired by Apple to lead the project, and Alan Dye, who heads Apple’s human interface group.
The feature reveals that the first working Watch prototype was an iPhone with a Velcro strap. “A very nicely designed Velcro strap,” Lynch is careful to add.
Engineers sampled the sounds of everything from bell clappers and birds to lightsabers and then began to turn sounds into physical sensations
It also has interesting detail about the degree of thought that went into the physical feedback the watch provides its wearer: “They started experimenting with a Watch-specific synesthesia, translating specific digital experiences into taps and sounds.
“What does a tweet feel like? What about an important text? To answer these questions, designers and engineers sampled the sounds of everything from bell clappers and birds to lightsabers and then began to turn sounds into physical sensations.”
Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design and the person who originally proposed that Apple should make a watch, was the aribter: “There were weekly meetings where the software and interface teams would test out, say, the sound and feeling of receiving a phone call.
“Ive was the decider and was hard to please: ‘Too metallic’, he’d say. ‘Not organic enough’. Getting the sounds and taps to the point where he was happy with them took more than a year.”