5. How might we use the Apple Watch?


5 minute read
Jo Reid

Jo Reid

Chief Executive Officer

Mobile Technology

Welcome to the 5th blog in our Apple Watch series. If you’ve been reading from the start, you’ll know that Danielle has been writing technical blogs on programming the Apple Watch, whilst she continues this is her next blog, in this post we consider ideas for how Calvium might use the Apple Watch in the future.

As we recounted in “What you can do with an Apple Watch”, one of the nice features of the watch is the ability to show glances – tidbits of context aware information – that are of interest to you.

We are intrigued in how glances might be used to enhance our AppTrails service (location aware sound walks and guides), both in helping raise awareness of trails that are near you and for enhancing the on-site experience.

A Digital Divining Rod

We have often described the advent of mobile technologies as a digital canvas over the world, with the AppTrail service a means for our clients to “paint” located trails upon it.  At the moment it is difficult for people to know what digital delights surround you, without searching. We can imagine a service that could let you know that there are walking experiences available nearby. The Apple watch could serve as a kind of digital dowsing rod for finding the source of great trails. It could provide an index into the virtual layer all around you. The watch has the capability of turning what is currently a tedious effort to find things into an effortless, mainstream service.

Hands Free Walking

The other exciting prospect is to use the watch as a minimal interface to our audio rich AppTrails. We have long held the belief that a great located experience allows you to keep your eyes on the world, with your phone stored safely in your pocket. However, we know that it is helpful to be able to pause the media, easily see who you are listening to and seamlessly interweave the real world with your audio experience.

The watch has the capability of letting you put the phone in your pocket and still have control over your AppTrail with a simple audio control interface.

Fitness, Photos and Cats

As Tom reports in his discussion on the Apple Watch, Apple has tightly constrained the first set of capabilities and so much of what we hope the watch could do for our AppTrails might not be possible in the first generation watch.

It is likely that the initial emphasis will be around Fitness apps. But a strong second contender is the use of the watch to alert you to things nearby. As a playful way to learn how to design for and program the watch we decided to make an app that will alert you to cats!


Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 15.08.39So, whilst Whiskr won’t be tracking live cats, what it will do is to find all geo-tagged photographs that are tagged with #cat and alert you to ones that are nearby.


To really get behind the concept and to test it, we even got our own Calvium cat pictured above. As yet unnamed, she will live in the Calvium office and be taken on outings, so that she can be photographed and tagged. She should ensure that we can test out the app and demonstrate how the watch works, when we are able to get hold of a device.

Here’s How Whiskr Will Work…

The following screen shots show how the app will look on the iPhone.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 14.55.42
(Cat photo credit – Flickr, David McKelvey JiJu, a Southville VIP)


The main screen is the map where you can scan for nearby cats. The cat-face icons show the location of where the cat picture was taken. The map will track your location so that you can easily see which pictures are nearby. Regular cat photos will be represented with a black cat face. Calvium cat pictures will be represented with a yellow cat face. When you select a cat icon it will bring up the photograph, illustrated in the second screen shot.

The following screen shots show how the app will look running on the Watch.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 14.58.52
(Cat photo credit – Flickr, Gavin White, unnamed photograph)

The watch app (known as an app instance) will display a list of the closest 100 cat photos to you. Pressing a list item will bring up the photograph, illustrated on the second screen image.

If you long tap on the cat picture (known as a force press) it loads up the watch context menu where you can either find more information about the cat picture (such as who owns it) or display it on a map if you want to see its location.

What’s Next?

Danielle will be posting a series of technical blogs over the coming week to describe aspects of how the Whiskr app has been developed. They will cover how to implement the different row types, context menus and modal dialogues, sharing data between iPhone and Apple Watch and Glances. But to start with she will cover getting started with Apple Watch Kit. 

If you have any suggestions for what we should call the cat we would love to hear them – just send us a tweet @calvium, with #calviumcat

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