iPhone6 and Apple Watch – the effect on email

On Tuesday, Apple revealed the new iPhone 6, the iPhone 6+ and the Apple Watch (not iWatch, mind). I followed this launch, with one question on my mind “How does this affect how we do email?”

In all honesty, it doesn’t affect it very much.

Let’s start with the iPhone 6 and 6+…

  • They’re physically bigger. We might need to start rethinking screen real estate, and positioning of CTAs as people find that their thumbs no longer reach the whole of the screen, while keeping in mind some people are left-handed.
  • Screen size is 375px wide and iPhone 6+ 360px wide (as far as the Media Queries are concerned – different to the actual pixel width) so everything still works with the way we do responsive code.
  • The iPhone 6+ can be rotated and used landscape – just need to double check how the Media Queries work here, but it’s not the end of the world if you get the desktop version on landscape view. It already happens on some Androids.
  • iOS 8 – but there’s a new OS out every month at the moment isn’t there? Generally Apple’s operating system doesn’t change much when it comes to email, so fingers crossed there shouldn’t be many changes there.

Now we move onto the new kid on the block. The Apple Watch (not iWatch).

It should be noted that apart from the fitness and heart rate monitor, you need to have an iPhone 5 or above to use the Apple Watch. So this will limit numbers to start with. Added to that the approx. £300 price tag (in addition to an iPhone) and it’s probably not going to be on everyone’s wrist. Don’t forget that there are already smart watches already in existence, and we’ve barely noticed those.

We have seen that email is a function on the Watch. However speculation at the moment is that it’ll be the text version. This is based on a couple of factors:

  • There doesn’t appear to be a web browser and therefore if not dealing with HTML there, it’s unlikely it’d deal with HTML on an email app:
  • Demos on the night showed a text email
  • As you have to have the iPhone with the Watch, the better experience would be on the phone. Surely (surely?) Apple doesn’t think that an HTML email on a watch would be a good idea???

So the things that we’d need to do to ensure as good an experience as possible on the Apple Watch are things that we’re already doing:

  • Good subject line with keywords weighted up front
  • Use of preheader
  • Good text versions of emails

[Originally written 10/09/14]

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