Storytelling on the smallest screen yet

The Apple Watch is coming. In 24 days it will be here, and analysts say Apple could sell 1 million devices in a single weekend.  Exactly how consumers will use it remains to be seen, but we can expect there to be apps, ads, and – according to The New York Times – single-sentence stories.

Yesterday, the Grey Lady announced that it’s creating “a new form of storytelling” designed to keep Apple Watch users abreast of its daily news reports. Readers will have the ability to read the stories on their iPhones, to which the watch is tethered, or save them to a reading list that can be accessed at a later time.


The Times is one of the first publishers to address the issue of content on this new screen. To date the focus has been largely on utility: the Apple Watch is being touted as a functional object that’s useful for getting calendar reminders, tracking fitness goals, unlocking hotel rooms, and receiving flight notifications. Its potential as a storytelling tool, however, should not be overlooked. Just as authors and aspiring writers have successfully tinkered with Twitter within the confines of 140 characters (this year’s #TwitterFiction festival is coming up in May), so too will they push the boundaries of a 1.5 to 1.7-inch screen. Single-sentence stories the likes of which will be told by The New York Times can just as easily be used as a vehicle for flash fiction and poetry.

We now know that The Economist will offer audio of its articles for Apple Watch users. It’s been almost a century since the debut of the six-word novel.

When it comes to storytelling on the Apple Watch, the iCloud’s the limit.

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