Apple Watch Set to Get a Translation Widget

Apple Watch Gets Translate Widget

The big theme for Apple’s annual conference (this year’s iteration – WWDC 2024) was clearly AI — more specifically, the variant the tech behemoth has called “Apple Intelligence.” 

The nearly two-hour-long keynote on June 10, 2024, discussed a range of new developments, for a variety of Apple products, with many of the new or enhanced functions falling somewhere under the umbrella of AI. 

Indeed, Apple’s tablets, smartphones, and watches are practically the frontlines of testing out consumer-facing language AI.

As Slator’s recent Pro Guide on Language AI for Consumers explains, consumers already use language AI — whether they know it or not — when they translate websites, subtitle short-form videos, and generate text.

The Apple brand enjoys a high-quality reputation for its mobile products, including phones and tablets. Its watchOS is also a point of pride for the company, and yet another means to impress current and potential customers. 

Now, Apple has introduced another way for users to employ language AI, via their Apple watches. 

“With Apple Watch, you can have quick and meaningful interactions right on your wrist, making it so easy to stay connected to the world around you and the people you care about,” Senior Director of watchOS Engineering David Clark said during the conference keynote.

Last year Apple introduced Smart Stack, with the intention of keeping users connected to “useful information;” now, Clark added, it is “even smarter,” since Smart Stack can automatically add widgets to the watch “right when you need them.”

The Translate widget, for instance, can kick into gear “when you’re somewhere new.” (Clark did not specify how exactly this is determined, whether by GPS coordinates, analysis of background noise or speech, or other methods.

Users can tap open the “new Translate app” on an Apple watch and use machine learning models for speech recognition and translation.

“You can now simply dictate to see and hear it right on your wrist!” Clark said as the watch in the video began to “speak” text translated from English into Korean. 

It may take some time for Apple to gauge the success of its new Translate widget for watchOS, but some observers have already shared their enthusiasm for the development.

“This will be by far the easiest way to translate on the go while travelling!” one posted on X. 

Journalist and self-proclaimed “all-around nerd” Parker Ortolani agreed: “Translate on Apple Watch just killed all your AI gizmo translation demos.”

One of the AI gizmos that may feel the heat from the Apple announcement is Japanese startup Pocketalk, which in March 2024 said it was gearing up for a USD 500m IPO.