The Apple Watch‘s more intimate and convenient interface allows people to connect more closely than ever before. “Every exchange is less about reading words on a screen and more about making a genuine connection,” says the Apple website.
And despite just a few apps being currently available for Apple Watch users, their very presence proves that creative online dating is a big part of our collective romantic future. According to thePew Research Center, the percentage of people from 2005 to 2015 who thought that online dating was a good way to meet people rose by 15%.
Sure, some apps will keep their Apple Watch versions similar to their phone apps (standard messaging, profiles and swiping), but others are using the watch to change the dating approach all together.
1. Eliminating photos
The smaller screen on the Apple Watch strips down dating apps to their basic function. In some cases, that means eliminating shallow swiping based only on physical attractiveness.
On Medium, the Tinder for kinky people app 3nder has proposed a slightly abnormal Apple Watch version called Close Encounters. Rather than a series of pictures or messaging system, the small screen would display only a user’s basic info: bio, interests and sexual desires. The app wishes to reinvent the blind date by urging people to meet up with very little information of each other.
While dating apps like Tinder distribute users within a certain radius, Apple Watch dating apps use a narrower range of distance. The new app WatchMe88 actually illuminates the face of the Apple Watch when the wearer is close to someone who meets their selected requirements. “Look around you and meet someone new,” its website says.
This glowing feature indicates your “availability” status to help you easily meet people. For example, if you start chatting with a fellow Apple Watch wearer in a bar, and you get within 10 cm of each other, both your wrists will light up. Talk about mood lighting.
3. Invisible mode
Because the watch is attached to your wrist, some users question the security — can people track them down easily? But users for Watch88 and Close Encounters will be able to go “invisible” or hide their location-tracking services if they wish. Phone dating apps like Tinder and Hinge currently do not offer the ability to go incognito from fellow users.
4. See how many people are into you
Gay dating app Jack’d was one of the first dating apps to release its Apple Watch version. The app shows how many people nearby have liked your photos — which might just determine whether to enter that bar or move on.
5. Preset responses
Part of the appeal of the Apple Watch is the convenience of being able to communicate on the fly. With Jack’d, users can send preset responses with the flick of a finger.
6. Turn-by-turn navigation
IMAGE: ERIC RISBERG/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Another gay dating app, PlanetRomeo, announced plans this spring for an Apple Watch version. To incorporate this dating-on-the-go aspect, users can quickly snag a date and then use the watch to receive turn-by-turn directions to the chosen date spot. And Close Encounters plans on using the app to guide two interested users right to each other using a displayed red line.
Just in a case a meeting goes wrong, Close Encounters wants to offer users a discreet way to tell others that they’re in danger. By tapping the screen three times, the user will activate the watch into emergency mode and a message will be sent to the user’s closest friends.