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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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17 Responses to “iWatch watch: a roundup of some of the more interesting concepts”

  1. reviewsapple says:

    The first concept looks best if you ask me.. :)

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  2. mkimid says:

    The round design is much better than the older concept design. I hope, Apple can make a cableless desgin. Wireless charging, WIFI sync ~

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  3. i dont like any of the designs… they all look like something nobody would buy cuz they simply dont add anything useful that an iPhone cant do already
    and the best part… they’re stuck in iOS 6 lol

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  4. All interesting and some quite beautiful but I think the round face ones are a bit of a non-starter. there is no reason to make the face round other than for the one minor function (a watch), and even then it’s not required, it’s just a doff of the hat to “old times.” Why constrain the entire project and introduce UI problems and display problems, just to emulate an old-timey watch effect?

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  5. The more I hear about an iWatch the more I think: “This is a terrible idea for a piece of consumer electronics.”

    As far as I can see, it solves no problems.

    Or perhaps one: How can I see what is on my phone screen without the tiresome bore of actually pulling out my phone and looking at it? What might be described as a very first world problem.

    At best, it serves the role of placing a tiny screen of glanceable notifications on the end of one arm.

    I am not convinced my thirst for such information is sufficient to motivate me to a)buy and b) recharge the thing.

    I hope within hope that Apple is deliberately leaking these rumours to keep copycat rivals barking up the wrong tree. While they get on with developing a product that genuinely addresses a real consumer need.

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    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I’m not 100% convinced I need a smartwatch, either. I haven’t worn a conventional one for years. Then again, I didn’t think I needed an iPad either, and I rarely go anywhere without it …

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  6. The round design is a crock. Why ? Because old watches were round ? We need a completely new take on this.

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  7. Actually the first rounded concept looks the best and really interesting to me.

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  8. “the colored, embossed leather straps look every inch the sort of thing you’d expect Apple to produce”

    Ehm … no.

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  9. Wow. The iWatch concepts went from being a watch that answers calls, and display messages, plays music and has other basic iPod-esque functionality to being a full-blown iPhone on your wrist. Whoa now. This is like before the iPad came out and people thought it would be a touch-screen tablet version of a MacBook. Don’t be surprised if the iWatch is just an iPod(minus the music playback – because let’s face it, what dumb-ass is going to plug headphones into something on their wrist) with Siri and bluetooth 4.0 that you can slap on your wrist.

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  10. The first one is decent and Apple kind of concept, bring it on.

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  11. Mondaine and the Swiss Railways are going to lose their shit over this.

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  12. I am really impressed with The HOT Smart watch; it is compatible with Siri! They also modified the design based upon consumer preference on Kickstarter. This company is the real deal! Check out the watch at http://kck.st/16Damav

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  13. Mark Granger says:

    Round LCD displays do exist. I have not seen a smart watch with one yet. Perhaps either Apple or Samsung are thinking this way. Here is one from a quick Google search:
    http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/717990119/1_5_inch_small_round_LCD.html

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  14. All crap! All pointless! All D.O.A.!!!

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  15. Something thats really caught my eye with technology is the HOT smart watch. You can answer calls with it by the motion of moving your hand to your ear and it works with Siri and much more. Check it out on http://kck.st/16Damav

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