What a huge month it has been for Australian tech lovers, with the launch of Netflix quickly followed by the arrival of the Apple Watch. But will these two entertainment behemoths talk to each other?
A quick look through the complete list of apps for the Apple Watch will show you that most of the major players in this space are getting involved in wearables. But what of Netflix, the internet TV powerhouse that has changed the way we’re entertained? We’ve been following the launch of Netflix in Australia in incredible detail, which is why we’ve been asking ourselves the question: will Netflix come to the Apple Watch?
There’s no reason why it can’t. In fact, we’d be quite surprised if it didn’t. However, the way in which it manifests on the much smaller screen of a wearable is unknown.
For the most part, the Apple Watch is reliant on the iPhone doing all the heavy-lifting in relation to apps. The Watch is effectively a second controller, which allows you to view and interact with an app that is actually running on your iPhone. So, for example, a weather app will send data to the Watch, and then it will be displayed right there on your wrist. Or the Watch will track your exercise, and send that information to the iPhone for gamification.
In this respect, surely Netflix could simply stream the content coming through the iPhone to the iWatch. However, with its much smaller screen size – just a 312 x 390 resolution on the 42mm option – would the experience really be one worth watching? Running the screen at such high capacity would drain the meagre battery life in no time, too.
Instead, the way we would anticipate a Netflix app working on an Apple Watch is for it to offer a second screen experience. A portal that provides a new way of interacting with the Netflix library. For example, perhaps as you’re watching a film or TV show on your iPhone, the Watch will display information or trivia about the cast members or director. Perhaps you can use the Watch to browse categories and mark films and TV shows for later viewing. We could even see notifications appearing on the Watch whenever a new show or movie has landed on the service.
Whether there is a demand for these kind of features or not remains to be seen, but certainly the potential is there for a Netflix app on the Apple Watch to provide added value to the experience. But we’ll just have to wait and see if the company would like us to watch, on a watch.