Apple Watch’s Futuristic Gesture Control Unveiled: Double Tap the Air!

by Barbara Wilson

The Apple Watch Gets a Touch-Free Upgrade with Double Tap Gesture Control

Prepare to witness a peculiar sight in public – people tapping their index finger and thumb together in mid-air. Apple has introduced a groundbreaking gesture control feature, known as Double Tap, for its latest smartwatches, the Apple Watch Series 9 and the high-end Ultra 2. This innovative tool allows users to control their Apple Watches without ever touching the device, offering a practical and hands-free way to interact with the wearable tech.


Touch-Free Interaction: The Future is Here

While some may consider it a gimmick, Double Tap provides an effective solution for navigating the compact Apple Watch screen. The feature allows users to perform various actions, including answering calls, managing alarms, pausing music, and interacting with notifications, all by merely tapping their fingers in the air.


While similar gesture controls existed in the previous generation, Apple has now brought this feature to the forefront. This development aligns with the company’s vision for a touch-free future, which became evident when they unveiled the Vision Pro mixed reality headset three months ago. The Vision Pro headset will incorporate a similar finger-tap control, signifying Apple’s commitment to advancing touch-free interactions.


How Does Double Tap Work?

Double Tap relies on the latest Apple Watch’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart rate sensor, which detect disruptions in blood flow when the fingers are pressed together. This data is processed using a new machine learning algorithm, powered by a faster neural engine, specialized hardware for AI and machine learning tasks.


The gesture is designed to simplify the Apple Watch experience. When the device’s display is active, it detects the finger tap and acts as an “accept” button. For example, users can accept incoming calls, pause music playback, or interact with various apps and functions using Double Tap.

While the concept is intriguing, the execution requires some adjustment. Performing the gesture discreetly may take practice, as it works more effectively when the wrist is slightly elevated. However, this makes the action more conspicuous, which could be amusing to onlookers and will likely take time for social acceptance.

Analyst Annette Zimmerman from Gartner Research commented, “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.”

A Future Dominated by Gesture Controls

Apple is not alone in developing gesture controls. Other tech companies, including Samsung, Microsoft, and some smartphone manufacturers, have integrated hand gesture functionality into their devices. However, Apple’s adoption of this feature in its flagship product, the Apple Watch, represents a significant step toward making gesture controls mainstream.

Sachin Mehta, senior analyst at tech intelligence firm ABI Research, lauded Apple’s move, stating, “It’s a great move by Apple as it differentiates the company from other brands when it comes to innovation and ease of usability. It also shows Apple’s commitment in the fields of artificial intelligence.” Mehta predicts that we can expect to see more gesture features integrated into Apple’s product lineup in the future.

Beyond Gesture Control

In addition to the groundbreaking Double Tap feature, the Apple Watch Series 9 boasts a powerful new in-house silicon chip and ultrawideband connectivity. It enables users to log health data using voice commands, share contact information through the “name drop” feature, and automatically brighten the display when raising the wrist. The Series 9 comes in a range of stylish colors, including pink, navy, red, gold, silver, and graphite.

Apple also introduced the second iteration of its rugged Ultra smartwatch line, equipped with the updated S9 custom chip and a new ultrawideband chip for enhanced communication. This version provides more detailed information for intensive tracking.

With the Apple Watch Series 9 starting at $399 and the Ultra priced at $799, Apple continues to innovate and lead in the smartwatch industry. While these watches begin shipping on September 22, the Double Tap feature will be launched through a software update next month, offering users a glimpse into the touch-free future of technology.


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