The Apple Watch Series 7 has a new industrial design that emphasizes bigger 41mm and 45mm watch faces. Apple’s Alan Dye and Stan Ng discussed the new design, how watchOS is tuned to take use of the bigger displays, and more in a recent interview with the Independent.
Apple’s vice president of interface design is Alan Dye, while the company’s vice president of product marketing is Stan Ng. The trick for Apple, according to Ng, was to make the Apple Watch Series 7 display larger while not sacrificing other components of the wearable:
“The size limits the amount of information that, that can be shown and so every single pixel counts,” Ng said. “The re-engineered display on Series 7 is a major technical innovation. Growing the display is such a huge benefit to users, but only if it doesn’t compromise any other part of the experience, such as comfort or aesthetics or battery life or band compatibility.”
“We did this by integrating the touch sensor into the OLED panel allowing the height of the product itself to remain the same,” Ng revealed. “So, to all intents and purposes, we’ve been able to expand the viewable area without significantly growing, to overall case size.”
Apple’s objective, according to Dye, was to make the watchOS experience “more clear and approachable” by taking advantage of the bigger display.
“We knew this was an opportunity to optimize the design of the entire experience. So, we went about over the past couple of years reconsidering and recrafting every element, making hundreds of really small but we think important and impactful changes to make the UI to work in harmony with the new display design and making the UI even easier to use.”
The inclusion of an on-screen QWERTY keyboard for the first time on an Apple Watch was one of the ways this manifested:
“Since the first Apple Watch, text input has been critical and a huge challenge,” Dye said. “We always wanted a QWERTY keyboard and this new display enabled that and enabled it in a way that we think we could deliver the feature in incredibly usable and powerful way. Designing the new keyboard was really quite a challenge. So, we made some important decisions. One thing we did was we removed the bezels from the keys, those little outlines to help make it feel a little less cramped. And to imply that precision isn’t critical with your taps because of the intelligence behind the keyboard.