iwatch-mockup

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Some iWatch concepts are, well, just a bit silly. But this concept by Stephen Olmstead has the kind of restrained design one might expect from Apple. Sure, the hardware design doesn’t quite have the finesse and finish of something Jony Ive would create, but it strikes me as along the right lines. The matching colored wallpaper and straps are a good fit with both iOS 7 and what we’re expecting from the iPhone 5C.

Some of the screens look a little unrealistic – I don’t see anyone scrolling through apps one at a time like that, or hitting a date on a calendar of that size – but Siri, Weather and Compass all look good. And Facetime on the iWatch? Hell yeah: we’ve all been wanting wristwatch videophones since those SF programs we watched as a kid, right?

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Martin Hajeck always produces interesting work. While I’m not a fan of the rather chunky-looking hardware shown here (I’d hope Apple can create something sleeker), the colored, embossed leather straps look every inch the sort of thing you’d expect Apple to produce….

More importantly, I think he’s spot-on with the companion app concept shown with maps: the phone displays the full map while the watch provides just a direction and distance indicator. The very small screen size of a watch means this approach is definitely the way I think Apple needs to be heading.

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Esben Oxholm‘s curved-screen watch remains one of my favourite visuals. Flexible screens exist, as do flexible batteries, so the concept itself is plausible from a technical perspective – but probably not yet at the kind of price-level the iWatch needs to hit.

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This one by WC is a rather crude visual compared to most of the renders around, and clearly the idea of the sidebar notification center on a screen that size is absurd. I include it only because he may be onto something with the widescreen display format. It addresses one of the key challenges of the iWatch from a software perspective – the tiny size of  watch screen. A widescreen shape would allow more display space without the problem of wrapping it around a small wrist.

Few of the concepts around have done much to address the fitness/sensor side of things. We know Tim Cook, who wears a Nike Fuel Band, is a big fan of sensors, and the iWatch team the company has assembled seems to include a sizeable showing from the medical sensor and fitness fields. We’ve love to see some concepts around this.

Finally, there are the ideas we’re definitely not going to see …

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This one is probably the silliest around. A complete wraparound touchscreen fails usability 101, even if it were economic.

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At the other end of the scale is this minimalist approach by Federico Ciccarese: the ‘watch’ is merely a Siri button, microphone and speaker. I do admire the elegance, but after all the hype, people expect far more of the iWatch than a button on a strap.

Other concepts we’ve featured in the past include an iPod-inspired one by Edgar Rios and a Retina display by Anders Kjellberg.

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The iWatch is not expected to make its debut until late next year. In the meantime, if you see any other concepts you like, post the links in the comments …

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