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What It's Like to Have a Friend With an Apple Watch

I've had an early glimpse of what it feels like to be humblebragged at via a smiley face that slightly quivers as it hovers in space.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

The Apple Watch isn’t the flashiest of gadgets. It can in blend in like a normal watch at the edge of the wearer’s sleeve. But as of this week, it’s the latest and greatest status symbol.

And those of us who know someone who has one? These are the ways they will let us know.

We’ll be reminded by the slightly different-from-normal iPhone notification noises for texts and emails, apparently arrived at after a year of painstaking chime research. We’ll know when they look down at their wrists, the universal signal for “I’m bored with this conversation.” And we’ll know when we get their bizarre dancing emoji.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

iPhone users know that they’re texting with other people in the club because there’s a nice blue circle around their messages; when they’re texting with outsiders they’re alerted by an offensively bright-green bubble. Apple Watch’s animated emoji are the marker of people who spent $349 or more to wear Cupertino’s latest creation on their wrists.

I happen to know a few people with early access to Apple Watch, so I’ve had an early glimpse of what it feels like to be humblebragged at via a smiley face that slightly quivers as it hovers in space. Being that I don’t have an Apple Watch of my own, I haven’t gotten to use the even more exclusive watch-to-watch feature where two people can send each other pulsing hearts and scribbles.

The dancing emoji are perhaps the kitschiest thing to come out of Apple since the green felt in Game Center. The aesthetic is 3-D clip art. There are three varieties: A yellow face blob that sort of looks like an M&M, a shiny dark-red heart that looks like a Mylar balloon, and a white-gloved left hand. They all sit on a blank black background, perfectly sized for a watch face, but perhaps a little too ample when it shows up on a phone, a tablet or a computer.

Using the watch’s metal “digital crown,” Apple Watch chosen ones can scroll through a range of emotions as reflected on the face, heart or hand. There’s a tongue-wagging, saggy-eyed drunk face, a tepid raised-eyebrow smile, a tear dangling from an eye and an extra-large frown. There’s a school of mini heart balloons gleefully circling above the main heart balloon, but there’s also a shattered heart. There’s a white-gloved fist-pound, a thumbs-up, an okay sign and a wave.

On the receiving end, you never knew there were so many shades of emotion to choose from. You just see one dancing emoji at a time quivering in space in your message thread. A drunk yellow M&M wags its pink tongue at you. A white arrow flies in and pierces a heart.

And you think to yourself, maybe I am missing out on something.

This article originally appeared on

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