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Apple Watch gets very clever upgrade today that changes how you use this device

The Double Tap gesture is being pushed out by Apple (Image: APPLE)

A batch of new Apple Watch models launched back in September and, as you can read in our full Watch Series 9 review, come packed with updates including a superior S9 processor, useful Precision Finding for iPhone and a much brighter screen which helps you check the time in the midday sun. Now there’s another boost coming to these latest wearables and it’s like nothing we’ve seen before.

Double Tap on Apple Watch

Double Tap is now available on Apple Watch models (Image: APPLE)

It’s called Double Tap and it lets you interact with the display in a whole new way. This function was first revealed during Apple’s autumn Wonderlust launch event but it’s only just being made available this week.

Once installed – via a watchOS 10.1 update – users will be able to answer calls, launch the Smart Stack function, pause timers and even reply to messages without physically pressing the display. Instead, they simply tap their thumb and index finger together with Apple’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor doing the rest.

This magical feature has also been made possible thanks to the inclusion of that impressive S9 SiP with this upgraded processor able to cope with performing more intensive tasks at once.

Apple Watch Double Tap

Apple Watch Double Tap is available via a watchOS update (Image: APPLE)

Double Tap has been a feature Apple has been working on for a while and has now been made possible via that mix of powerful new hardware and clever software.

“The challenge we had to solve was creating a reliable and intuitive experience that just worked,” explained David Clark, Senior Director of Apple Watch Software Engineering.

“The capabilities that the S9 SiP gives us, the computational power and the power efficiency of the processor allows us to bring all this to life.”

Express.co.uk had an early preview of Double Tap before its official release and it certainly helps at those time when your hands are full and you want to press the screen.

But how exactly does all this technology work?

The challenge we had to solve was creating a reliable and intuitive experience that just worked

“Double Tap and the gesture recognition is built on machine learning algorithms,” Clark explained. “We’re taking sensor data from several sensors and fusing them together looking for the subtle motion of your index finger tapping with your thumb.

“We also needed to design an experience for a diverse set of users; different wrist sizes, limb lengths and different ways the gesture is interrupted.

“We set up internal user studies collecting thousands of gesture iterations across hundreds of users to make sure we were able to represent all ways this could come to life.”

Of course, tapping your thumb and finger together is a pretty simple gesture that’s easy to do by mistake so how is Apple going to stop the display from leaping into life when users aren’t expecting it?

Apple S9 processor

The S9 processor from Apple has made Double Tap possible (Image: APPLE)

“We’ve done a lot of work to make sure that we are trying to capture all the ways that users are going to use their watch,” Clark said.

“We’re always looking for how our features are working in the real world, for all of our users and constantly making sure that we’re pushing on, not just creating brand new features, but also iterating and improving those that we’ve already built.

“As users get this feature on their wrists and find it delightful, helpful and useful. We get great feedback from users and we’re always open to listening to that feedback.”

Sadly, Double Tap won’t be coming to older devices such as the Watch 8 or Watch 7 as they don’t feature that new S9 SiP.

“It’s really two high-level things with S9 SiP”, Clark told Express.co.uk.

We set up internal user studies collecting thousands of gesture iterations across hundreds of users to make sure we were able to represent all ways this could come to life

“It is the power facility. Every time you raise your wrist it’s ready and available so that you can interact. To be able to do that all day as you’re wearing your watch requires the level of power efficiency that S9 gives us.

“In terms of the capabilities of the device with the ANE and its improvements over previous generations, were able to run even more things. Like the complex machine learning algorithm, that was built for this purpose.”

If you own an Apple Watch Series 9 or have the 2nd Gen Watch Ultra on your wrist then you should find Double Tap available from today. Just update your software to watchOS 10.1 and give it a try.

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