Kevin Lynch and Alan Dye Reveal the Story Behind the Apple Watch

Wired has today published an extensive interview with Apple vice president of technology Kevin Lynch and head of human interface design Alan Dye. The two look back in time and share the story of the secretive project born in the post-Steve Jobs era.

Apple watch

When Kevin Lynch joined Apple in 2013, the Apple Watch was already an ongoing project with a deadline, dreamed up by Apple’s head of design, Jony Ive. When he accepted the job offer from Apple, he knew only that he would be working on something new, and then found that he was tasked with leading the group designing the new product category Apple is stepping into: the Watch.

As the team worked away on app-launch animations and the new iOS 7 Control Center, daytime conversations about smartphone software led to late-night discussions about other devices. Questions started coalescing around the idea of a watch: What could it add to people’s lives? What new things could you do with a device that you wear? Around this time, Ive began a deep investigation of horology, studying how reading the position of the sun evolved into clocks, which evolved into watches. Horology became an obsession. That obsession became a product.

It may sound funny, or maybe ironic, but the Apple Watch project had one well-defined aim: to free people from their phones, a phenomenon Apple has heavily contributed to with the iPhone, the Wired interview reveals. It’s somehow ironic that the first prototype was an iPhone rigged up on a “very nicely designed Velcro strap”, according to Kevin Lynch.

Our phones have become invasive. But what if you could engineer a reverse state of being? What if you could make a device that you wouldn’t—couldn’t—use for hours at a time? What if you could create a device that could filter out all the bullshit and instead only serve you truly important information? You could change modern life. And so after three-plus decades of building devices that grab and hold our attention—the longer the better—Apple has decided that the way forward is to fight back.

The Apple Watch means a new way to prioritize information. With the aim of taking your eyes off the screen, the team behind the Apple Watch created a feature called Short Look: You can view high-priority information right on your wrist by raising it, instead of taking out your iPhone (6 Plus?), or leave it unread if it is low priority simply by putting down your wrist.

With the Apple Watch, the company created three models. While the only differentiator seems to be the materials used, as the Apple Watch Sport (the low-end model) performs the same functions as the Edition models, Dye defended Apple’s pricing strategy, saying that they are very different products.

You can read the full article here.

Image credit: Wired

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