Since the very first time we saw the Apple Watch, announced by CEO Tim Cook in Fall 2014, Apple has been pushing the envelope in terms of ways to communicate. From the numerous improvements made in the hardware to the improvements done at the software level.
Back then, the company made a big thing of how you could send your heartbeat to another Watch wearer by pressing two fingers on the timepiece’s display. You can still do this, and it feels surprisingly intimate. Now, it’s also possible to send your own personal flub-dub from iPhone Messages, too, and perhaps your heart was beating that bit faster if you were messaging somebody special.
At WWDC on June 4, Apple announced that from this Fall, when watchOS 5 is launched, the Apple Watch will have new a new way to talk: Walkie-Talkie.
The Walkie-Talkie app is included on the Watch automatically in watchOS 5 and once you’ve activated it, a shortcut to the Walkie-Talkie appears on every Watch face like a cute new complication sitting top center.
It’s simplicity itself to use. Choose a contact to request a Walkie-Talkie connection and they’ll accept (or not, I suppose, but you’ll have to work that out with them).
To initiate a call, tap on a contact and when the screen is filled with a button marked “Talk”, you (guess what?) press it. Keep pressing it while you speak your message and then release. It works over wi-fi, cellular, and whether you’re speaking to your wrist or to your AirPods.
This is still early days for Walkie-Talkie. There’s no way to talk to groups of people at the same time, which might be cool if, for instance, you’re trying to corral all your friends to meet in one place at a concert. And there are certainly times when you don’t want to use Walkie-Talkie if you’re in a meeting, say. But you can mark yourself unavailable at these times with one swipe of the screen.