Get ready to see people everywhere tapping two fingers together in the air, thanks to Apple

Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are powered by custom Apple silicon in the all-new S9 SiP. The most powerful Apple Watch chip yet delivers systemwide improvements and brand-new features, including a new double tap gesture.

By tapping the index finger and thumb of the watch hand together twice, users can perform many of the most common actions on Apple Watch Ultra 2.
By tapping the index finger and thumb of the watch hand together twice, users can perform many of the most common actions on Apple Watch Ultra 2.

With a new double tap gesture, users can easily control Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 using just one hand and without touching the display. Users can tap the index finger and thumb of their watch hand together twice to quickly and conveniently perform many of the most common actions on Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Double tap controls the primary button in an app so it can be used to stop a timer, play and pause music, or snooze an alarm. The gesture can be used to answer and end a phone call, and even to take a photo with the Camera Remote on Apple Watch. Double tap will also open the Smart Stack from the watch face, and another double tap will scroll through widgets in the stack.

This new double tap gesture is enabled by the faster Neural Engine in Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, which processes data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor with a new machine learning algorithm. The algorithm detects the unique signature of tiny wrist movements and changes in blood flow when the index finger and thumb perform a double tap. The double tap gesture will be available in a software update next month.

Samantha Murphy Kelly for CNN:

You’re about to see people in public tapping two fingers together in the air.

Over the past few days, I’ve been taking phone calls, playing music and scrolling through widgets on the new Apple Watch Series 9 without ever touching the device. I’ve used it to silence my watch’s alarm in the morning, stop timers and open a notification while carrying too many bags.

Although you can subtly flick on the display and do the gesture close to your body, trying to conceal the movement when around other people, I found it works much better when it’s raised a bit higher. This, however, makes the action more obvious — and it’s something that will take a little getting used to seeing in person.

“This is also about social acceptance. At the moment, I find the idea of people making this gesture more often than not in public a bit funny. But time will tell if users find it acceptable,” said Annette Zimmerman, an analyst at Gartner Research. “I think Apple is very use-case driven and focuses on user feedback on things they could improve.”

MacDailyNews Take: And, like Apple’s white-corded iPod earbuds before it, double tap will create curiosity and ultimately drive Apple Watch sales. Expect Apple to continue to release gesture controls for many of its products.

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  1. I was interested to see that they’ve ‘promoted’ this accessibility feature (which they released last year) to be so prominent. Obviously they want to sell more AW9s, and supposedly the neural engine is required to operate this feature (even though the similar accessibility feature runs, though allegedly not quite as reliably, on the previous models).

    Then I realized the real reason: Apple is getting us ready for the Apple Vision user interface. They’re promoting this feature now so that the AV seems more natural when we start using it.

    1. I recently set up the ‘accessibility’ feature on my Apple Watch Ultra and it works pretty well, definitely going to keep it on, even though it seems limited a bit relative to the new watches.

    2. Ah you’ve nailed it. I’ve had it turned on as an accessibility feature on my Ultra for ages now so did wonder how they could promote it so brazenly like a new feature. Vision is their…. Vision.

  2. Um . . . no. The headset is never going to seem natural, and it sure as heck won’t be practical or desirable. Apple has so lost its way these past five or so years, it is unrecognizable as a company, excepting Apple silicon, which the software teams had nothing to with (really: changing the interface to access core features while not improving the features themselves in useful ways is not ‘innovation’. Creativity and insight seem to be dead in Cupertino). The ‘next big thing’ might be someone finally making a viable non-Android alternative to iOS. I know I’m ready for it. You’ve done a great job at alienating your customer base, Tim.

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