Hands on: Apple's Walkie-Talkie app in watchOS 5 will let you talk to your friends in an i...

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in Apple Watch edited September 19
Demonstrated for the first time at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference Apple's Walkie-Talkie feature is one of the biggest additions in the now-available watchOS 5 this year. AppleInsider goes hands on with the upcoming app.





With the Walkie-Talkie app, all Apple Watch owners, except for those with first-generation "Series 0" devices, will be able to communicate with each other simply by selecting a contact name and pressing a button.

Opening the app, users are greeted by a splash screen reading, "Walkie-Talkie, a fun way to talk to other Apple Watch users." Below the message is a list of your contacts. To add someone to Walkie-Talkie, just tap their name to send them an authorization request. Likewise, when someone adds you to their Walkie-Talkie app, you'll get an automatic request asking if you want to pair.

Walkie-Talkie


Users can add anyone, even friends who don't own an Apple Watch. It would be nice to limit contacts to those who have compatible equipment. To remove a contact, just swipe their name card and press the "X" icon.

Once you have a contact added, the app is enabled by default and a shortcut icon shows up at the top of every watch face. If you don't want to be interrupted by an audio message, you can disable Walkie-Talkie by swiping down and toggling the "Available" switch to "off," an action that also removes the shortcut. All watch faces supporting complications will be able to use the new shortcut icon for the Walkie-Talkie app.

Walkie-Talkie Icon


Starting a session is straightforward. Select a contact from the list and, once connected, hold down the large "Talk" button while speaking and release when done. If your contact is available they will hear a notification sound and feel a haptic feedback vibration before your voice message is played.

The system works in real time with virtually no delay. Just like real walkie-talkies, only one person can speak at a time and if the other person is sending audio, your "Talk" button turns into a dynamic circular waveform. Spinning the digital crown will lower and raise the volume.

If you try to talk to a contact that has Walkie-Talkie disabled, the app will let you record your message and will try to connect. After about about five seconds, you will get a message saying they aren't available. If someone tries to contact you while you are not available, you will get a notification that they tried to reach you. Watch will then give you the option to talk to them, open walkie talkie, or dismiss the notification.

Walkie-Talkie Unavailable


We would love to have contacts turn gray in the app if they are not available to talk. That way we wouldn't have to send a message and wait for the connection to fail before finding out that they are logged off, and they wouldn't get a notification as a result.

Walkie-Talkie is based on FaceTime audio technology and works over both Wi-Fi and cellular. When you select a contact, a connection is established that stays open for up to five minutes before timing out. By using a live call, nothing needs to be recorded, sent or downloaded, which makes the feature much faster and more private than previous push-to-talk solutions.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    anomeanome Posts: 1,113member

    Walkie-Talkie is one of those great features which I get excited about using, only to remember none of my family or friends have an Apple Watch.

    It's still a good idea, though.

    razorpitmacmaniacanton zuykov
  • Reply 2 of 35
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,556member
    anome said:

    Walkie-Talkie is one of those great features which I get excited about using, only to remember none of my family or friends have an Apple Watch.

    It's still a good idea, though.

    Well you have some easy gift ideas ;)

    All my family have Watches so I am thrilled.  Kayaking and hiking is my first thought for this feature. 
    toysandmeanton zuykovlolliver
  • Reply 3 of 35
    What's the advantage over just placing a cellular call?
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 35
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 572member
    What's the advantage over just placing a cellular call?
    I think it is limited. Especially if you cannot have an open channel with multiple users. It may be useful if you and a friend are out and about, and wish to speak to talk to each other sporadically, but do not want the other person to hear everything all the time. Someone mentioned Kayaking, that sounds about the only use case I can think of.... If this can be extended to multiple users, it may be helpful, you can just blast out messages and information that everyone hears, e.g., while hiking, sailing, at festivals etc.
  • Reply 5 of 35
    mbenz1962mbenz1962 Posts: 102member
    Like I commented on a previous article: "...I hope there is some way to "deny" an incoming call."

    I hope you can just put your hand over the screen or something to prevent a shrill voice yelling at you from your wrist when you are indisposed. I would also like to be able to select Audio warning adn Haptic feedback or just the haptic to alert you to an incoming call.  Maybe they could even aloow some user selection of the time interval from receipt of the alert/warning of an incoming call untill playback.  Default (1 second), 3 sec, 5, 10, etc.

    I wonder if this "denial" would then some how alert your "caller" to the fact that you are in the middle of something so they just don't keep blowing you up.

  • Reply 6 of 35
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,298administrator
    If you can't find your comment, read the commenting guidelines again.

    Seriously, folks, the rules aren't hard to follow.
    DAalsethlolliver
  • Reply 7 of 35
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,859member
    What's the advantage over just placing a cellular call?
    Yeh,  I totally agree....

    Actually, the phone call sounds easier because you don't have to keep a finger on the watch as you speak.  In fact, with SIri and AirPods, ("Siri, call home") a phone call would be a lot easier -- particularly because you can then leave a message if the recipient can't answer.

    But I think DED may have a point that it could replace audio messages....

    I have enough respect for Apple that they think through these things and don't release frills just to put out some new product.  But I'm not seeing a lot of advantage here...   Mostly I see it used by two people doing similar activities (like shopping) and touching base with:  "You done yet?"

    I look forward to AI (and Apple) fleshing this out and demonstrating how it improves people's lives.
  • Reply 8 of 35
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,865member
    sflagel said:
    What's the advantage over just placing a cellular call?
    I think it is limited. Especially if you cannot have an open channel with multiple users. It may be useful if you and a friend are out and about, and wish to speak to talk to each other sporadically, but do not want the other person to hear everything all the time. Someone mentioned Kayaking, that sounds about the only use case I can think of.... If this can be extended to multiple users, it may be helpful, you can just blast out messages and information that everyone hears, e.g., while hiking, sailing, at festivals etc.
    This is my question also. Since this is based on FaceTime and FaceTime in iOS 12 will allow up to 32 people on a call, will Walkie-Talkie also allow a large group? Has anyone tested that?
    lolliver
  • Reply 9 of 35
    Hi, i was wondering if you put your watch in silent mode does it change your walk or talkie status to unavailable automatically or do you have to change both separately???? Thanks! 
  • Reply 10 of 35
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,578member
    If you can't find your comment, read the commenting guidelines again.

    Seriously, folks, the rules aren't hard to follow.
    My post was removed and all I said was I thought we’d see a demo of it in action here which would make how it works easier to understand and thus add reader value. What in god’s name was offensive about that? 
    SpamSandwichlolliver
  • Reply 11 of 35
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,865member
    If you can't find your comment, read the commenting guidelines again.

    Seriously, folks, the rules aren't hard to follow.
    My post was removed and all I said was I thought we’d see a demo of it in action here which would make how it works easier to understand and thus add reader value. What in god’s name was offensive about that? 
    Wow.
  • Reply 12 of 35
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,298administrator
    If you can't find your comment, read the commenting guidelines again.

    Seriously, folks, the rules aren't hard to follow.
    My post was removed and all I said was I thought we’d see a demo of it in action here which would make how it works easier to understand and thus add reader value. What in god’s name was offensive about that? 
    Wow.
    There is no post from you (StrangeDays) deleted in this thread. Looking at the database, this is your first post in the thread.
    edited June 21 lolliver
  • Reply 13 of 35
    takeotakeo Posts: 415member
    In this demo video shouldn’t they be saying “over” 😉
    edited June 21
  • Reply 14 of 35
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,865member
    If you can't find your comment, read the commenting guidelines again.

    Seriously, folks, the rules aren't hard to follow.
    My post was removed and all I said was I thought we’d see a demo of it in action here which would make how it works easier to understand and thus add reader value. What in god’s name was offensive about that? 
    Wow.
    There is no post from you (StrangeDays) deleted in this thread. Looking at the database, this is your first post in the thread.
    I’m not the one who claims to have a missing post. Maybe they thought they posted it even though they didn’t? That has happened to me in the past.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,298administrator
    If you can't find your comment, read the commenting guidelines again.

    Seriously, folks, the rules aren't hard to follow.
    My post was removed and all I said was I thought we’d see a demo of it in action here which would make how it works easier to understand and thus add reader value. What in god’s name was offensive about that? 
    Wow.
    There is no post from you (StrangeDays) deleted in this thread. Looking at the database, this is your first post in the thread.
    I’m not the one who claims to have a missing post. Maybe they thought they posted it even though they didn’t? That has happened to me in the past.
    Yeah, I know -- that's why I put SD's name in the parenthesis. I probably should have quoted the earlier post, though.

    What you say is likely correct, though.
    edited June 21 SpamSandwichlolliver
  • Reply 16 of 35
    anomeanome Posts: 1,113member
    If you can't find your comment, read the commenting guidelines again.

    Seriously, folks, the rules aren't hard to follow.
    I'm actually curious as to what someone would say on this thread in particular to get the post deleted. Not that I expect to find out, it will just remain one of those mysteries.
    lolliver
  • Reply 17 of 35
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 199member

    \Wonder if a one-to-many conference or group calling of some kind could be established. This could be way cool for family groups of watches. Since it is completely half duplex, I wouldn't think it would be that difficult.
  • Reply 18 of 35
    mbenz1962mbenz1962 Posts: 102member
    @StrangeDays ;

    You actually posted your comment in the previous article and it is still visible.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/06/19/everything-new-in-watchos-5-beta-2-walkie-talkie-feature-now-active

    There were two pretty similar articles posted only a day appart.  The first one was all new features in the Beta (2), and the second one was this Hands-On focused just on Walkie-Talkie.
    edited June 22 lolliver
  • Reply 19 of 35
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 267member
    What's the advantage over just placing a cellular call?
    I think it’s extension of instant messaging rather than email... One limits you to formal, the other frees you to be informal. It’s a extension of texting. I think most will discover it’s useful like texting... Most using it today never thought they would. Plus, if Apple didn’t add it... it’s competition would!
  • Reply 20 of 35
    What I'm confused about is the seemingly planned obsolescence of the 1st Gen Apple Watch. The 1st Gen can already do FaceTime Audio calls, so, if this is just utilising the same technology, why can't my 1st Gen watch use it? I'm quite annoyed about this. I finally have someone to give my Apple Watch 1st Gen to, and now the one feature I wanted to use, we can't.
    edited June 23
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