Apple flooded us with information about what its first smartwatch will be able to do when it announced it back in September.
It will be able to share your heartbeat, prompt you to stand up when you’ve been sitting all day, and, of course, show you the time in a bunch of different ways.
But, one of its most interesting capabilities is a somewhat minor one that’s easily overlooked.
Apple’s industrial design chief Jony Ive talked about the company’s upcoming watch in a recent interview with The New Yorker.
Ive described how the Apple Watch’s screen will be different than that of a phone — it won’t light up the same way the iPhone’s display does when it turns on.
According to Ive, the screen for the watch uses deeper blacks than that of the iPhone. Ive thinks that an entire display, especially for something as small as a watch, shouldn’t have to light up. Rather, the screen should only highlight the specific thing you’re looking at.
“The whole of the display comes on,” he said to The New Yorker in reference to the iPhone 6. “That, to me, feels very, very old.”
But since the Apple Watch’s screen shows deeper and darker blacks than the iPhone’s, it will make the screen look like it has very little, if any, frames surrounding it. The New Yorker cited the neon jellyfish images Apple showed on the watch during its launch as an example. Since the display would be so dark and it would blend into the bezels, it would make it seem like the jellyfish is suspended in space rather than just being pictured on a screen.
Here’s how The New Yorker described it:
On a current iPhone screen, a jellyfish would be pinned against dark grey, and framed in black, and, Ive said, have “much less magic.”
It’s a small detail, but an interesting one, and it’s something that could differentiate the Apple Watch from its competitors.
Throughout the smartwatch category in general, there’s been some question as to whether or not a small screen on your wrist could serve any real purpose. It’s unclear whether or not the Apple Watch will answer that question, but based on Ive’s words it at least seems like Apple is trying by thinking about screens differently on watches versus phones.