How the rest of Apple's ecosystem could benefit from Apple Watch: Smarter, contextually aware notifi

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited June 2015
Apple frequently introduces new technologies and features in a singular new product, then gradually brings them to other devices in its ecosystem, making for a more coherent user experience. With the recent launch of the Apple Watch, the company has begun offering smarter and more contextually aware locations --?something we'd like to see on the rest of the company's platforms.




The Apple Watch must be tethered to an iPhone to fully function, and Apple takes full advantage of this with tight integration between the two devices. Perhaps the best example of this comes from notification alerts.

When a user's iPhone is locked and a notification is received, the user will get an alert on their Apple Watch, while the iPhone will remain silent with the screen off.
The iPhone and Apple Watch interact so seamlessly, it feels inevitable that the rest of Apple's ecosystem will soon follow.
If a user is actively using their iPhone, the alert will instead display on the iPhone screen, while the Apple Watch will remain silent.

In this way, notifications between the iPhone and Apple Watch are much smarter. Apple has devised a way to make sure that alerts are only received on one relevant screen.

The same can't be said for the rest of the company's ecosystem --?yet. For example, if you're on a Mac and are logged into your Apple ID for iMessages, and a message is received, the user will receive alerts for a message on both their iPhone and Mac.


In the case of Apple Watch plus iPhone, some more beautifully than others.


It's easy to see how Apple could adopt the philosophy used in the Apple Watch and apply it to the Mac with future updates: Using Continuity and Bluetooth Low Energy, Apple's platforms would know that when a user is actively sitting at their Mac, alerts should be sent to the computer screen.
Ideally, users would be able to only receive alerts on their currently active device, and could also respond to or cancel alerts from that device, regardless of platform.
In the event that the Mac is turned off, idle, or out of range, Apple's smart notifications would know to send the alert to the user's iPhone, or to their Apple Watch.

The same logic could also be applied to the iPad, where alerts are again received side by side with an iPhone or Mac. While a user is on their iPad, future Apple software could disable iPhone or Apple Watch alerts for relevant cross-platform applications.

Another cue that Apple could take from the Apple Watch is dismissing alerts. With the company's current platforms, dismissing an alert or opening a relevant app does not always affect identical alerts on different hardware.

Again learning from what it has created with the Apple Watch, the company should have alerts for connected applications sync between all devices within the ecosystem -- and for all apps,?not just some.




The Apple Watch also supports actionable notifications on the iPhone, even if the iOS app does not have an Apple Watch app. For example, notifications from the popular email client Mailbox allow the user to archive a new incoming message directly from their wrist.

Those same actionable notifications would work extremely well on a Mac, where users could quickly respond to alerts from their iPhone without having to take the handset off the table or out of their pocket.

Finally, there's also the issue of alerts for phone calls. This is an area where Apple's Continuity has, in some ways, become somewhat of an annoyance.

Anyone who has installed iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite knows that whenever receiving a phone call, all of their devices automatically begin to ring. In fact, the devices often continue to ring even after the phone call has been answered.

Generally speaking, users only need to be alerted on maybe one or two of their Apple devices for any type of notification, phone calls included. It's clear that in this respect, the rest of the Apple ecosystem has much to gain from the tight pairing of the iPhone and Apple Watch.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    whodawhoda Posts: 29member
    Um, notifications seem to work right on my Mac. If I'm sitting at my computer and someone messages me it pops up on my Mac first. If I click on it, it doesn't buzz me any where else. If I don't click on it, like I'm not paying attention to my screen, it goes away on my Mac and buzzes my watch. Perfecto!
  • Reply 2 of 30
    whoda wrote: »
    Um, notifications seem to work right on my Mac. If I'm sitting at my computer and someone messages me it pops up on my Mac first. If I click on it, it doesn't buzz me any where else. If I don't click on it, like I'm not paying attention to my screen, it goes away on my Mac and buzzes my watch. Perfecto!

    It varies though. The entire Continuity system still is a work in progress. There are times it works great, and times my iPad and iPhone seem like they don't even want to talk to each other. It seems more stable with 8.3 so hopefully it keeps improving.
  • Reply 3 of 30
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Ideally, incoming messages and calls would be treated as if every user had a personal assistant and calls and messages would be given priority based on typical response patterns. Some calls could go straight to voice mail almost every time, while certain texts would override all incoming messages.

    Once our communications interact with us intelligently, there will be far less need to sift through dirt to find gold.
  • Reply 4 of 30
    The exception is phone calls: both the iPhone and Watch will ring. And if your Mac is on and running Yosemite, that will ring as well.
  • Reply 5 of 30
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    Then, there's the [I] Grate [sp] Siri Face-off ...[/I]

    Consider, you're sitting around the family room, with several family members' iPhones and iPads plugged in -- charging or being used.

    You lift your wrist and to the Watch you say [I] "Hey Siri" ...[/I]

    There's an instantaneous cacophony of replies from Siri on all your iDevices -- each vying for your attention ... [I]"Pick Me" ... "No, Pick Me" ... "No, Pick Me" ... [/I]
  • Reply 6 of 30
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Then, there's the  Grate [sp] Siri Face-off ...

    Consider, you're sitting around the family room, with several family members' iPhones and iPads plugged in -- charging or being used.

    You lift your wrist and to the Watch you say "Hey Siri" ...

    There's an instantaneous cacophony of replies from Siri on all your iDevices -- each vying for your attention ... "Pick Me" ... "No, Pick Me" ... "No, Pick Me" ...

    Being able to "rename" Siri would be nice.

    "Your name now is... Reek."
  • Reply 7 of 30
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,824member
    American express allows you to configure your Amex card account so that you get a text notification on your phone every time a swipe-less purchase occurs. That's a very rudimentary security measure, I'd prefer that rather than just informing me of the transaction, it actually prompts me to signal approval for the transaction. Still, I am given the chance to call Amex right away if the transaction being reported to me is fraudulent.

    Now imagine a more comprehensive system and infrastructure where every financial transaction done in your name is routed to you for real-time approval. To work, this has to be convenient and secure. Passwords or PINs that you key into your phone to approve a transaction are too unwieldy. Likewise fingerprint authentication. At most approval should just be a tap in response to a prompt. A smartwatch with unobtrusive bio-authentication (such as a scan of your wrist using the watch's back) would be perfect.

    This is the smartwatch's killer app: If it eliminates the threat of identity theft, then the smartwatch becomes an indispensable device.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    I'm hoping someone with make an ordinary watch with iPhone-effective buttons to mute music and podcasts, raise or lower volume, and skip forward. Vibration in place of my phone ringing would be nice too, with different buzzes for different people. That way I could use any earphone I like.

    In short, give us the most useful features of an Apple Watch at a fraction of the price and with a much longer battery life.
  • Reply 9 of 30
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    Being able to "rename" Siri would be nice.

    "Your name now is... Reek."

    I would probably pick Moneypenny. ;)
  • Reply 10 of 30
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,323member
    inkling wrote: »
    I'm hoping someone with make an ordinary watch with iPhone-effective buttons to mute music and podcasts, raise or lower volume, and skip forward. Vibration in place of my phone ringing would be nice too, with different buzzes for different people. That way I could use any earphone I like.

    In short, give us the most useful features of an Apple Watch at a fraction of the price and with a much longer battery life.

    What's "most useful" for you may not be the same for me.
  • Reply 11 of 30
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    inkling wrote: »
    I'm hoping someone with make an ordinary watch with iPhone-effective buttons to mute music and podcasts, raise or lower volume, and skip forward. Vibration in place of my phone ringing would be nice too, with different buzzes for different people. That way I could use any earphone I like.

    In short, give us the most useful features of an Apple Watch at a fraction of the price and with a much longer battery life.

    Have you heard about EarPods? :rolleyes:
  • Reply 12 of 30
    friedmudfriedmud Posts: 163member
    whoda wrote: »
    Um, notifications seem to work right on my Mac. If I'm sitting at my computer and someone messages me it pops up on my Mac first. If I click on it, it doesn't buzz me any where else. If I don't click on it, like I'm not paying attention to my screen, it goes away on my Mac and buzzes my watch. Perfecto!

    I agree: it works fine on my Mac for me as well.

    The exception: Phone calls. Everything freaking rings. I'm sitting at my Mac Pro with my laptop open on my desk, my iPad in my bag, iPhone in my pocket, Watch on my wrist... and a phone call comes in.

    OMG. The WORLD ERUPTS. Drives me crazy. On the other hand... there are times when I went to answer on any of those devices so I don't want to disable it.

    Hopefully they'll fix it soon...
  • Reply 13 of 30
    Rhey really should sort this out. It's the kind of feature people really tout and looks and feels very pro when it works like you would expect but when it doesn't it lead to a kind of "oh well" feeling that doesn't sit very well. It's also the kind me of feature that tends to have lingering problems if hurried. They should use the man power and get this rock solid.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    What I would like to see is the ability to automatically turn Do Not Disturb mode off/on on my phone when I put my watch on/take it off. I only take my Apple Watch off to sleep so it would be the perfect solution.

  • Reply 15 of 30
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,369member
    The exception is phone calls: both the iPhone and Watch will ring. And if your Mac is on and running Yosemite, that will ring as well.
    That's because you may not be actively using any of them. You get to choose which one to answer.

    It's no different than having multiple landline phones in your house. They all ring.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    friedmudfriedmud Posts: 163member
    eriamjh wrote: »
    That's because you may not be actively using any of them. You get to choose which one to answer.

    It's no different than having multiple landline phones in your house. They all ring.

    No: that's the whole thing I AM using one right now. Like I might actively be holding my phone, surfing on it and everything still rings. It knows not to do that with iMessage... so why phone calls?

    At the very least it could start to ring the device you're using right now, and then ring other devices later (again, like the way iMessage works)

    Another thing about the ringing that drives me crazy is that it doesn't stop when I answer the phone. It's often the case that one of my computers will keep ringing even after I've answered the phone! I have to mute it quickly to get it to shut up.

    There are definitely still kinks here. I mean, I do love being able to answer on any device (JUST used that capability to answer a phone call on my iPad while I'm laying in bed actually!)... so it's not like the whole thing is terrible. I just wish they could file off a few of the rough edges...
  • Reply 17 of 30
    hagarhagar Posts: 120member
    There's a lot of work to be done by Apple in this area. If I get 20 messages and I deal with them on my iPhone or iPad, can somebody explain to me why I get those same 20 message notifications when logging into my Mac afterwards?

    It seems so trivial for apple to address this (= if status of message is read, then do not send notifications to other devices), it's a mystery to me why they haven't addressed it yet.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    thejdthejd Posts: 37member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hagar View Post



    There's a lot of work to be done by Apple in this area. If I get 20 messages and I deal with them on my iPhone or iPad, can somebody explain to me why I get those same 20 message notifications when logging into my Mac afterwards?



    It seems so trivial for apple to address this (= if status of message is read, then do not send notifications to other devices), it's a mystery to me why they haven't addressed it yet.



    Agreed.  My question is why does a whole new product have to be created to address this issue?  Notifications across multiple devices are central to the idea of Apple's new ecosystem.  They need to just work.

  • Reply 19 of 30
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,570member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by whoda View Post



    Um, notifications seem to work right on my Mac. If I'm sitting at my computer and someone messages me it pops up on my Mac first. If I click on it, it doesn't buzz me any where else. If I don't click on it, like I'm not paying attention to my screen, it goes away on my Mac and buzzes my watch. Perfecto!

     

    Works exactly the same for me... If my Mac is awake, the notification goes to it. If I don't respond to it, then it goes to my iPhone. If I do respond to it, I never get the notification on my iPhone. It works this way for all cross-platform notifications and I haven't noticed a problem yet.

  • Reply 20 of 30
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    thejd wrote: »
    hagar wrote: »
    There's a lot of work to be done by Apple in this area. If I get 20 messages and I deal with them on my iPhone or iPad, can somebody explain to me why I get those same 20 message notifications when logging into my Mac afterwards?


    It seems so trivial for apple to address this (= if status of message is read, then do not send notifications to other devices), it's a mystery to me why they haven't addressed it yet.


    Agreed.  My question is why does a whole new product have to be created to address this issue?  Notifications across multiple devices are central to the idea of Apple's new ecosystem.  They need to just work.

    Not quite as trivial as you would make it sound ...

    Consider: You want to send a notification to Cindy:
    • You know all of her device addresses!
    • You don't know if she is using one or more of her devices!
    • You don't know if she is within hearing or taptic range of any of her devices!
    • You don't know the Off/On or battery/power status of any of her devices!
    • You don't know the Internet connection status (wired, WiFi, Cell, no connection) of any of her devices!
    • You don't know on which of her devices she will first recognize that she has received a notification!

    You could maintain a profile of Cindy's device usage patterns and use some fuzzy (convoluted) logic to determine which device to first send the message ... then the next device ... then the next device ...

    How long do you wait between sending messages to her various devices?

    What if her primary device (that you determined above) is in for repair and she is using the 5th device in her normal use pattern?


    So, the only practical thing to do is send the notification to each and every one of her devices.

    OK -- so all the devices receive the notification about the same -- or as soon as they are able to ...

    So, now, let's get busy and eliminate alerting Cindy on device a, b, c ... if she has already read the message on device e.

    All we need to do is ask if status of message is read  to determine whether or not to present the alert on a device ...

    Who do we ask?

    Does each device need to query every other one of Cindy's devices to determine if one of them has already alerted Cindy?

    Or, does the alerting device send a notification to every other one of Cindy's devices "Ignore previous notification"?
     


    Likey, the best solution is to have some central control point, like an app in iCloud, that keeps track of messages read.

    But, this isn't perfect ... what if a device has received a notification, but when Cindy turns it on, the battery is dead or the device no longer has access to the Internet?

    And so it goes ...


    FWIW, Apple's Mail app attempts to do this by removing the bullet next to messages read -- but the devices don't always reflect the same status -- especially iDevices with low power or no WiFi connection.


    As to: why does a whole new product have to be created to address this issue?

    They really haven't addressed the issue. The Watch will present the alert if the Warch is able to -- the iPhone, if not.
     
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