Monday October 02, 2023

What wonders can you do with Apple Watch's new double-tap feature?

One single-hand gesture can enable you to answer calls, play music, start timers, and do other common tasks

By Web Desk
September 13, 2023
This picture shows an illustration of the latest Apple Watch released on September 12, 2023. — X/@theapplehub
This picture shows an illustration of the latest Apple Watch released on September 12, 2023. — X/@theapplehub

Apple's annual iPhone launch event showcased a range of exciting updates, from new iPhone colours to a shift to USB-C charging ports but, its latest double tap feature in the new Apple Watch particularly caught the attention of accessibility advocates.

The double tap feature that Apple introduced in its latest Apple Watch enables users to activate controls with a simple pinching motion of the hand in which they are wearing the watch.

With this single-hand gesture, users wearing the watch can answer calls, play music, start timers, and perform other common tasks. It is set to become an exclusive feature of Apple's upcoming Series 9 watches, earning praise from devoted Apple Watch users and accessibility enthusiasts alike.

Despite the excitement surrounding this innovation, some users and accessibility advocates pointed out that Apple's marketing of the "magical new double tap gesture" may overshadow the company's longstanding commitment to pro-accessibility technology.

This new feature bears a striking resemblance to one of Apple's existing accessibility tools — a single-hand 'double pinch' gesture available under Apple's AssistiveTouch settings, according to Mashable.

The AssistiveTouch feature, which was initially introduced to iPhones in 2011 and Apple Watches in 2021, empowers Apple product users to employ a customisable, floating screen button and selective hand gestures to operate various device menus. It caters to users with disabilities, those facing mobility challenges, or individuals with damaged screens.

Several others echoed these observations, highlighting Apple's subtle rebranding and expansion of an accessibility tool. Notably, the same hand motion is set to become the primary gesture for Apple's upcoming Vision Pro augmented reality headset.

While the double tap feature bears similarities to existing assistive tools, it represents an evolution. Unlike AssistiveTouch's double pinch, this new feature acts as an automatic, built-in version of AssistiveTouch's numerous hand gesture settings and associated actions.

It simplifies accessibility and offers Apple Watch users, including those new to Apple's ecosystem, a single gesture for various purposes. This move aligns with the trend of tech giants adopting more accessible universal design principles.

For Apple Watch users who already own Series 4 or newer models and wish to explore similar accessibility features, Apple provides a guide on enabling AssistiveTouch.