What we loved from Apple's "Far Out" event

There were lots of exciting announcements at this week’s Apple Event. But two were particularly dear to our hearts: 

  1. Dynamic Island - hardware/software innovation enabling new ways to interact with your phone and ultimately everything that it connects to.
  2. Apple Watch Series 8 - democratizing wearables with a focus on women’s health.

Dynamic Island in iPhone 14 Pro

Apple can introduce radical UX changes that may feel disorienting at first but users ultimately get used to because people use their phones many hours per day. The biggest change to the iPhone user experience from when it was introduced 15(!) years ago was the removal of the physical home button. That change prompted users to learn a new set of interactions to navigate their phones.

While not quite as big of a change as the removal of the home button, the new Dynamic Island is sure to disrupt how people use their phones. It’s a multitasking interface that appears around the camera notch at the very top of the screen to provide notifications and other information from apps on the phone without taking users away from the app they’re using.

Dynamic Island is a nod to the fact that iPhone users themselves have evolved over the 15 years that they’ve been interacting with this tiny handheld computer, to the point where they’re ready to multitask directly on a small screen. 

It’s fascinating to see innovation in modes of interaction. And it will be interesting to see how developers will end up leveraging this new functionality to help users control their apps and the things that those apps may control (IoT is always on our mind 😉). At the same time, it’s worth noting that many older users may struggle with this new feature and find the overall experience more confusing.

Women’s Health Features in Apple Watch Series 8

At Kraftful, our mission is to get connected hardware to a point where it can be usable by everyone across age, gender, and other demographics. While we focus on achieving this through usability, sometimes the reason products aren’t usable by everyone is because they don’t support important use cases. That was the case with the Apple Watch for the past 6 years. It’s a device sitting on a user’s wrist every day, where it could measure temperature to provide valuable cycle tracking to female users. 

That’s why we were particularly excited to see the cycle tracking use case finally unlocked with the new Watch yesterday. It was unusual to see "women's health" highlighted as the very first value prop for the new Apple Watch. 

While a few products like Oura have been providing period predictions based on temperature in the past, Apple’s description of the new features suggest much more powerful capabilities. It will combine with heart rate and cycle data to provide a detailed view of the menstrual cycle. In addition to period predictions, users will get notifications when they may have cycle deviation, like irregular or prolonged periods. 

Apple has also thought about how their new women's health product features play into the bigger (and unfortunately political) picture. All the period tracking data stays on the device and is encrypted while their phone is locked. That means government agencies can't get it from Apple.

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