Well-regarded calculator app PCalc received an update today, which allows it to tap into the Apple Watch Taptic engine for subtle feedback on button presses. In watchOS 2, Apple opened up the hardware to developers, allowing them to take advantage of the Digital Crown, accelerometer, heath sensors, microphone, speaker, and Taptic engine.
Slowly but surely, more apps are beginning to trickle into the App Store that take advantage of these enhancements, and PCalc, already a wonderful app in its own regard, does an awesome job of using the Taptic engine to provide distinct feedback that feels different from anything else.
The great thing about PCalc is that, in addition to the full version, which is $9.99 on the App Store, there is a Lite version for those of you who want to try before you buy. The Lite version features many of the same enhancements brought to the full version, and it includes the new Taptic feedback as well.
When you tap on a button in PCalc, the Taptic engine produces feedback that’s perfectly suited for a calculator app. It’s hard to accurately explain without trying it yourself, but it just feels right. James Thompson, developer of PCalc, did a great job with this update.
@JeffBenjam The API just says play a click haptic, so it’s entirely possible it’s doing both.
— James Thomson (@jamesthomson) September 24, 2015
I almost believe that along with the Taptic feedback, that there is a subtle audio accompaniment from the speaker as well. When I hold the Apple Watch speaker up to my ear, I can hear the speaker toggle on after a keypress and toggle off shortly thereafter. It sounds like Apple is using both audible feedback and haptic feedback to achieve some of the nuanced effects. With that said, it’s been a while since I’ve gotten my ears checked, so it’s entirely possible that I’m just hearing things.
Again, PCalc can be had for $9.99 on the App Store. Not only does that score you a great Apple Watch calculator, but it also gets you the full app on both iPhone and iPad. And this isn’t your daddy’s Casio, PCalc allows you to do conversions, has a multi-line display, undo and redo functionality, and you can even perform hex, octal, and binary calculations. But even if you don’t need all of the fancy bells and whistles that the full app brings to the table, try the Lite version. It’s worth your time just to test out the Taptic feedback on your Apple Watch.