Return to site

Watch App Beta Testing Update

ConnecTT for Tesla Apple Watch App

Summary
It's been a little over a week since the first beta (really alpha) version was released. There are 23 testers from around the world testing the app.
Testing started off a little rough with some major bugs, but those have been fixed. There were even some unexpected problems due to a TestFlight outage courtesy of Apple. It's now down to focusing on the user experience and screen designs. 
Thanks to all of my patient beta testers! You've all provided excellent and detailed feedback and are helping to make the app just what Tesla owners need.
Baseline
I really can't go too far without giving credit to the guys over at Elek Labs and the work they did on their Apple Watch Tesla App prototype. They were gracious enough to post their code on Github and I used it as a baseline to start the ConnecTT for Tesla Watch App. Considering they didn't have an Apple Watch and I don't think they had a Tesla, they did an amazing job and the code is well written and well structured.
Credit also must be paid to Tim Dorr, who created the unofficial documentation for the Model S JSON API.  The Eleks guys based their project on Tim's work. Without this, the work would have taken much longer. Tim, like myself, lives in Atlanta and we are part of a very enthusiastic user base here!
Overview of Watch App
Most everyone who owns a Tesla loves their vehicle and the company. However, we are a very impatient group when it comes to software updates. I wrote the ConnecTT for Tesla iOS App because I felt there was a void that needed to be filled for an app that was focused on Tesla Superchargers, Destination Chargers, News and the Tesla community as a whole. The Tesla experience encompasses many things and an Apple Watch app is a new and exciting opportunity to enhance that experience.
Similar to the main Tesla App, the Watch App focuses on the following areas:
  • Summary Information
  • Charging Information
  • Climate Information
  • Sunroof Controls
  • Location Information
The watch experience is different from the phone experience in that user interactions are measured in seconds instead of minutes. As a result, it is important to present to the most important information quickly and in an efficient and pleasing way.
Each of the screens are designed to display the most important information to the user. In addition, the app takes advantage of Force Touch to present the most important commands that can performed related to the content on the screen. You will see several examples below.
In addition to the above Watch App screens, a Glance screen was developed. It currently presents what I think is the most important information a Tesla owner wants to know, charging information.
Summary/Landing Screen
Apple boasts that the Apple Watch is the most personable device they've ever created so I decided to make the landing screen have the name of the vehicle. Tesla owners are very proud of their vehicles and take naming them very serious.  
If you have multiple Teslas, the name turns into a button which presents a modal screen to select/switch between vehicles. At least two of my beta testers have multiple vehicles and were gracious enough to lend me their credentials to test with. As you can see from the picture above, my wife has named our Tesla Kelly.
Using Force Touch on the Summary screen, the following commands are presented to the user:
  • Lock/Unlock (same button location displayed based on current state)
  • Honk Horn
  • Flash Lights
I've been contemplating putting a button for remote start, but am hesitant because I think Tesla would have an issue with including this in a third party app. But it'll be available for beta testers soon for a small fee (just kidding about the fee).
Charging Screen
One of the things Tesla owers enjoy most about the Tesla experience is the fact that they don't have make trips to the gas station (at least to pump gas). Personally, I love not having to pump gas anymore. That being said, viewing charging information is very satisfying, especially when at a Supercharger or Destination Charger location.
The watch has limited real estate to display data so the most important information is displayed in a simple layout. The range has both the Rated and Ideal data points and the charging field has the rate (in mi/hr or km/hr based on your setting). The "Charging" label changes to "Stopped" if charging is stopped but the cable is still plugged in. The was a specific request from one of the beta testers.
Using Force Touch on the Charging screen, the following commands are presented to the user:
  • Open/Close the charge port (you don't see that here because it is charging/plugged in)
  • Start/stop charging (same button location displayed based on current state)
  • Set Charge Limit to 90% (recommended for everyday use)
  • Set Charge Limit to 100% (recommended for trips)
These are pretty self-explanatory. Switching between 90% and 100% will come in handy for users that sometimes forget to do this during trips.
Climate Screen
Let's be honest here, being able to turn the air conditioning/heat on to set the climate in your car is awesome. With the watch, you can perform this action in about 5 seconds. Also, knowing what the temperature is inside and outside of your car helps you determine if you need to turn on the climate in the car.
Apple currently doesn't allow third party apps to use the Digital Crown as an input device.  However, when they do, you'll be able to control/set the driver and passenger side temperature simply by spinning the Digital Crown.
Using Force Touch on the Climate screen, the following commands are presented to the user:
  • Heat/Cool to the current preset values (previously saved by the user)
  • Turn the AC on to the lowest temperature
  • Turn the heat on to the highest temperature
  • Turn climate off (only shows when it is on)
Before the Watch App I rarely used this functionality because you had to pull out the phone, open the Tesla app and go to the climate screen. Now it is so simple and quick on the watch I end up doing this each time I am getting ready to go out somewhere. This use case highlights one of the benefits of the Watch app over the iPhone app.  
Sunroof Control
A lot of Tesla owners end up getting the all glass panoramic roof. The iPhone only let's the user vent and close the roof. Controlling the sunroof from your Watch is another one of those cool things you can do to show-off to your friends.
Using Force Touch on the Sunroof screen, the following commands are presented to the user:
  • Close the sun roof
  • Vent the sun roof
  • Open to 75% (Comfort)
  • Open to 100% (Open)
Location Information
The Watch App show the location of your Tesla on a map. If you touch the map, the location will open in the Maps application on the watch. In addition, if the vehicle is in motion, the speed will show above the map.
There are no Force Touch controls for the Map screen.
Glance Screen
A Glance is a summary screen of the most important information in your app. You can view Glances by swiping up on the display on your watch. Based on user feedback, I decided to put charging information on the Glance screen. Tesla owners often want to know charging information, especially when traveling. This information helps owners determine when they need to head back to their vehicle when charging is nearing completion.
Conclusion
The ease at which the Watch App allows you to control the Tesla is very compelling. The idea of controlling your vehicle from your watch is fascinating to me and this has probably been the most fun I've had on a project in a long time.
As developers we all want to develop engaging apps that provide a great user experience. The watch is a great medium to help us do this!
I'm still not sure Apple will ultimately approve this because it is developed by a third party to control features of a car. However, I do think it has a good chance as long as the vehicle cannot be started from the app. That being said, I'll give it my best shot and hope Tesla doesn't complain to Apple about the app.  
About me
I am an Apple and Tesla enthusiast and have been an iOS developer for about 4 years and have 20 years experience in the software industry. You can learn more about me on my website.
I will be attending WWDC this year in San Francisco and will also be touring the Tesla factory on that Friday! It would be great to meet other Tesla owners during the week. If you would like to meet up, just send me an email.
The main iOS app, ConnecTT for Tesla, is used by thousands of Tesla owners from around the world. It helps owners and enthusiasts keep up-to-date with Tesla news and information and has a searchable map of Superchargers, Destination Chargers, Service Centers and Stores/Galleries.
My email is:  markrusnak@me.com
All Posts
×

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly