Concept image: Stephen Olmstead

Concept image: Stephen Olmstead

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone seven years ago last week, he described it as “three revolutionary devices” in one: touchscreen iPod, mobile phone and Internet communicator.

The iPhone wasn’t the first touchscreen smartphone. It wasn’t even close: Handspring launched the Treo 180 a full five years earlier (I know this because I owned one). Same with the iPod before it, launched three years after the MPMan (yep, I owned one of those too).

Apple has never been interested in being first to market, so no-one should be remotely surprised that others launched the smartwatch first. The company’s USP is its ability to take a relatively crude piece of technology being used exclusively by geeks and turn it into something so slick, beautiful and cool that mass-market consumers will find irresistible … 

Smartwatches today are about where smartphones were ten years ago: limited functionality, clumsy user-interfaces, poorly integrated with other devices – and for the most part, downright ugly. It’s no surprise that Apple is taking its time creating something worthy of wearing an Apple logo.

So, just for fun, let’s say the iWatch was also introduced with that “three revolutionary devices” description – what do we think they might be? Here’s my take …

The first revolutionary device would be … a watch. No, I’m not crazy: remember, one of the three revolutionary devices in the iPhone was the phone. Revolutionary because it transformed both the form-factor and user-interfaces of smartphones. Apple’s first task will be to create something that actually looks like a watch, not like someone trimmed down a smartphone and strapped that to your wrist.

Revolutionary? Given what’s out there at the moment, yes. Apologies if you’re wearing your Pebble watch right now and think it looks fine, but you’re a 9to5Mac reader and by definition a techie. What you will accept in the name of gadgetry is very different to what the average person in the street will rush out to buy.

today

Sure, the Pebble Steel looks a little better, but it’s still not something anyone is going to wear as a fashion accessory. Let’s contrast it with a couple of watches out there right now.

examples

Now, tastes in watches vary tremendously, so if you were about to hit the comments to tell me you think the specific examples I’ve chosen here are ugly, then please just substitute images of your favourite watches and pretend I used those instead. My point is only that today’s smartwatches don’t make the cut as watches.

A Jony Ive-designed smartwatch will. I’ll wager good money that a fair chunk of the people who buy it will do so on the basis of it looking cool and giving them a choice of watch faces, without caring too much about the rest of its functionality.

Nike + FuelBand

The gadgetization of fitness significantly predates the Nike Fuel Band. GPS watches with bluetooth links to heart-rate monitors and on-board calorie calculators have been around for years. What Nike did was take something clunky and inconvenient and turn it into something sleek, simple and stylish. Sound familiar?

The problem is, fitness bands don’t offer much in the way of smartwatch functionality, and smartwatches, even with fitness apps, don’t offer the at-a-glance usability of a fitness band.

The iWatch, I’m sure, will integrate the two in a way that will seem blindingly obvious after the fact. Integrated fitness functionality in a smartwatch, then, will be the second revolution.

m7

The M7 chip in the iPhone 5s can already replicate the functionality of the dedicated fitness bands. Add a discreet heart-rate monitor in the strap and you have everything available today. (Sure, the radial pulse isn’t the perfect way to measure heart-rate, but we’re never going to see a chest-strap with ‘Made in Cupertino’ embossed on it.)

But I suspect Apple won’t stop there. Beyond mere fitness, we’re seeing a growing number of gadgets aimed at monitoring heath in a more general sense. Blood pressure monitors, blood sugar meters, breathing rates, oxygen saturation, perspiration, temperature, metabolic rate …

Sensors are the new black, and my guess is that the iWatch will be bristling with them. Perhaps bristling isn’t quite the right word, as I expect them to be invisible, but I think the iWatch will provide the most holistic view to date of our overall health.

Which leaves the third revolution: the smartwatch functionality. I’ve got a few theories there, but the one thing I’m pretty sure of is the iWatch is not going to look anything remotely like this:

Concept: jivaldi.com

Concept: jivaldi.com

That size of screen massively fails the stylish and discreet test that I’m confident will be a key part of the design brief.

Conversely, a true watch-sized display is never going to be usable as a primary input device, nor as a way of running apps that require a lot of interaction. Siri will help, but not everyone shares my enthusiasm for it, so I see an iWatch as mostly a secondary screen for an iPhone rather than a standalone gadget.

A smartwatch as a simple second screen to an iPhone might not sound that revolutionary, but I think what will set it apart from existing offerings is the depth of integration into the Apple ecosystem. Existing smartwatches get whatever notifications Apple permit and the developers can pull off; the iWatch will, I think, be capable of displaying anything in the Notification Centre. Alerts pop up as they occur, and you can then scroll through them as you would on your phone. 

I’d also hope that the iWatch would have some degree of intelligence, aiming to anticipate your needs. For example, if the M7 sensor can tell you’ve just stopped running, it’s likely you’ll want to see the run data, so that should pop up on the display unprompted. If you got an alert a couple of minutes ago and then lifted your arm to look at the watch, you probably want to see what that alert was, so it should reappear.

In short, I expect the iWatch to be revolutionary in the same way the iPhone was: not by doing anything radically new, but by doing what can already be done today in a much sleeker, slicker way.

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110 Responses to “Opinion: What “three revolutionary devices” will the iWatch be?”

  1. Great Article!
    /signed

    Like

  2. truth is the revolutionary Apple days are long gone now and Samsung can give Apple a run for its money

    Like

  3. Jasper Yeung says:

    i hope u get it right , or else it would make me lost interest to any other wearable device too, coz even is the best stylish company fail i don’t think other company can do the job

    Like

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      There are certainly a lot of companies trying, and I’m sure we’ll see some interesting competition, but many are simply waiting to see what Apple does.

      Like

      • Thats so true, the Galaxy Gear i think was only to show that Samsung was first and just second guessing there way to what people actually want in a smart watch, i don’t blame them for trying but i think we are going to see a much better watch from them after Apple set the standards.

        Like

      • Jasper Yeung says:

        that would be an interesting competition, and i would definitely enjoy it as a customer:)

        Like

  4. Articles like this are why I am such an avid 9to5 reader. Thanks for sharing a well written opinion!

    Like

  5. The pressure on Apple to get this right is extreme. The security around it must be ultra tight, so we won’t hear anything until it goes to mass production and the parts leak. The thing I hope iWatch does feature is inductive charging, so charging without wires.

    Like

  6. Great article and the idea that apple will couple great design with an evolution of tech rather than a revolution sounds credible.

    I like the idea if sensor enabled auto or manual modes (Depending on your calendar) . Put the watch is sport mode and it tell you the temperature for the next few hours. In social mode and it tells you about what’s trending on your friends networks or entertainment information/schedules.

    Personally I think a lot of people have ditched watched except as fashion accessories and the current range of smart watches and for the early adopter : tech community .

    I certainly won’t be buying one for many years if at all.

    Like

  7. Andy Brooks says:

    This watch will be very cool but its not going to be a “revolution” at all. Its going to be the next evolution of the iPod Nano. It will access your music from your iPhone via bluetooth, push notifications from your iPhone, use Siri to send commands to your phone, FaceTime, and have induction charging from your body to keep it fully charged.

    Like

  8. sardonick says:

    It will be a douche alert device. Like a BMW.

    Like

  9. dmsmith85 says:

    I disagree.

    I think a health sensor focused iWatch would be revolutionary.
    I’m a medical student in the UK & the costs of health equipment are staggering.
    Those basic blood pressure & pulse oximetry machines at your bedside cost £1500!
    Glucose monitors are not far off.
    If Apple release a device that can reliably monitor those stats for £500 health systems across the world will be lining up outside the Apple store!
    Imagine the benefits to patients of being able to walk around freely instead of being hooked up to a large beside machine.
    Imagine being able to send your stats to your GP/doctor remotely whilst you carry on with your life. You’d have an early warning system strapped to your wrist that could alert your doctor if your health state deteriorates.
    One of the markers of cancer or infection is increased blood viscosity. There’s no reason Apple couldn’t build a device that could monitor that.
    It would be a fitting tribute to Steve Jobs if Apple released a product that could help reduce the number of deaths from cancer.

    Like

    • Oflife says:

      iDoc.

      Like

    • uniszuurmond says:

      The only problem with focusing too heavily on health monitoring, is that I do not use any form of it today. So if that’s one third of the revolution, that’s one third of the iWatch unused by me, or people like me. If they focus even more on health, as you’re suggesting, the iWatch becomes even more unappealing to me. The features should be built around stuff we all use, not just some of us. For that, there’s an app.

      Like

      • I think the point is, you wouldn’t have to worry about it. It will automatically work, and alert you if something looks off. Early detection in the medical field is key to prevention of something more serious. Although you are healthy today, doesn’t mean that something couldn’t happen tomorrow. Why wait till you absolutely need something like this, when you can have it all along? Better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.

        Like

    • I absolutely agree that Health will be the killer app for Apple’s wearable device! This is something most people do not think about, like uniszuurmond. But could truly benefit from. It may be a grand effort to improve quality of life. The way iDevices/AppStore revolutionized e-commerce (still happening), mobile productivity, and social interaction; I believe this new device will target improvements to the health[care] by providing capable, attractive hardware that empowers us with information about how we’re doing. As you said dmsmith85, this information could then be sent to our doc/gp, who can set perimeters for alerts. Something like the M7 + sensors could also catalogue valuable data that can be used to give more informed diagnoses. Furthermore, link your data to database of medical data (think WebMD / Wolfram lovechild + Siri interface) and you could get a list of potentials for that funky feeling you have and run it past your doc/hospital remotely. They have your full medical history and personal experience with you. If a visit is deemed necessary, they could feed new data back into your personal database (maybe database isn’t the right word, think more along the lines of data funnels or triggers that narrow/influence responses from the database based on your medical history) with give your approval -maybe through fingerprint verification- thereby creating a smarter, more personalized readings over time.

      If Apple decides to go in this direction (hopefully the right tech, engineering, design is there do this elegantly), it could change the face of healthcare.

      PS
      This + your fingerprint + an evolved passport could be the makings of a true digital wallet/identity.

      Like

  10. i hope they don’t call it the “iWatch”. we already keep hearing people say, “who needs a watch anyway… when i have a phone…”. it would make it marketing-wise, imo, a disaster.

    i also hope they don’t make it look like a watch. because as we know, we all have different tastes and apple picking a “round-faced” over a “square-faced” watch might be a problem for some.

    i’d rather have it in a bracelet form.

    i have read articles about this planned/rumored apple device, and i do not think i have read it being powered by kinetic energy has been mentioned. won’t that be elegant? charging the “watch” while on the go?

    Like

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Many years ago, I had a self-winding watch that worked very well, though that was purely mechanical

      Like

    • rahhbriley says:

      In my opinion, as a long Apple nerd and someone who sells watches, IF Apple uses kinetic energy to power the iWatch, it will be at far advancement over current implementations in watches. The modern kinetic watch is a ticking time bomb, some are fine, but there are SO MANY moving parts in a kinetic watch. More pieces to potentially fail. And they are heavy and bulky. Does anyone know if Apple has any kinetic energy patents? Solar powered watches have won out in the industry as the direction to pursue. (Heck, though not perfect look at the watch Citizen makes that pairs with the iPhone.) Now, do I think Apple is capable of pulling kinetic off right? I sure do….but I also doubt they’ll try. However, this device will take a lot more power than a normal watch, and I highly doubt either method will be able to support powering an iWatch full time. Maybe they can supplement with different energy input methods?? Idk. But I think they might be willing to try inductive charging. They’ve stated why they don’t want to use it in phones (at least yet) but an iWatch, if only needing charged once every 7-10 days, would not be a bad candidate for inductive charging, and would give Apple and arena to experiment with the technology in.

      Like

    • PMZanetti says:

      You’re wrong about the name. From a marketing standpoint, they’d be insane NOT to call it the iWatch.

      Like

      • acslater017 says:

        Take a look at Jony Ive’s Blue Peter interview. He’s whimsically asked to come up with a design for a lunchbox. He goes on to state that he’s be hesitant to call it a “box” since the name would bring with it a set of limitations and expectations. I guess they broke that rule with the iPhone, but otherwise for hardware Apple tends to go more specific: Pad, Pod, book, with descriptors like Air, Pro, Mini, and Nano.

        I could even see them tossing aside the “i” if it doesn’t fit.

        Like

      • I agree, they will use it. All the rumors about this device, people who don’t even follow Apple blogs has heard hints of this magical device. When it’s released it will be instantly well known across the country, without a doubt of who came up with the iWatch. Besides, they already trademarked the name.

        Like

  11. Really great article! I don’t think there would be any interest from other companies in a smart watch if there hadn’t been rumours that Apple is working on one.

    Like

  12. Very well written. Great article.

    Like

  13. rogifan says:

    Another great article Ben! 9to5Mac needs more of these.

    Like

  14. I seriously doubt the possibility of iWatches being allowed into exams…

    Like

  15. Paul Kerr says:

    Two out of three ain’t bad. So far, Apple hasn’t shown any interest or aptitude for second screens. Trying to create one in such a tiny space is hilarious, really.

    You left out that if there is a Braun product that’s similar, Jonny Ive will use it as the starting point for his design. Braun does make watches, and they present time beautifully, so you should check them out.

    My take on the third device is the remote. Lots of products have remotes, Apple has patents on software-defined remote controls, and a dial is a good shape for inputting. So out of the box, it’s a remote for Apple TV and any recent Apple device running iTunes. And for iOS in the Car. Expect Nest thermostats and various smart lighting products to support it. WatchApps will be user interfaces for things that can be controlled.

    Like

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I’m not a fan of Braun’s digital watches, but some of their analogue ones are gorgeous.

      Remote is a possible application, but on its own it’s not enough reason to wear one, in my view.

      Like

    • Paul Kerr says:

      Apple’s patents could cover an entire cloud-based ecosystem for remotes, btw. It would be a large-scale opportunity if your watch can discover what is controllable nearby, get authorization to control them based on your profile, and load the remote controls for them automatically. The watch could recognize a device via camera or iBeacon, etc. Wherever you go, everything seems to remember your preferences and respond to you: TV, door locks, car, games, lights, heating/AC.

      Like

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        There was a Xerox project many moons ago where an RFID tagged badge did similar things: unlocked doors, logged you into whatever terminal you were by, directed calls to your nearest phone extension, etc. A modern equivalent of that could indeed be very appealing, especially with home automation set to really take off in a big way this year.

        Like

    • Paul Kerr says:

      Expand the concept of remotes, too. Do you carry a badge to enter a building? That could support Apple’s API. Go to a concert? The band could have an interactive element that’s crowd controlled, or use the API to do polling, establish fan contacts. Go to sports events? Think of coordinating fan activities and polling in a stadium.

      Like

  16. First, great article. compared to many other tech bloggers, you at least put a modicum of thought into what you write. Regarding this point;

    “…..so I see an iWatch as mostly a secondary screen for an iPhone rather than a standalone gadget.”

    If that’s the case, I don’t see the iWatch as being successful. Not that it shouldn’t be able to act like a second screen to the iPhone but it should also have the capability of being a stand-alone product. Every major Apple category – iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac – has the ability to act like a stand-alone product or one piece of an entire ecosystem.

    The introduction of the iWatch, to me, will be as important as the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007. They need to get this right. Not just for themselves but also market perception.

    Like

    • Oflife says:

      Incorrect! No Apple non computer product can exist as a stand alone product. iPod, iPhone and iPad all require a Mac or PC and iTunes. I own both iOS and Android devices and only Android is totally independent of any other device.

      Like

      • Dan Boger says:

        Sorry, you’re incorrect. The iPhone and iPad can function just fine without ever connecting it to a computer. For content (music, movies, tv shows, games, books), you will use apps on the device (iTunes, App Store, iBooks) to purchase or view/listen to your content, and within the Apple ecosystem, you can store much of your content in the cloud.

        Like

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        You’re very out of date.

        Like

  17. Will Bensky says:

    Awesome article, probably the only reasonable on about the iWatch so far. I noticed that you did not say anything about if it will connect to an iPhone or if it will be standalone. What are your thoughts on this?

    Like

    • Actually, he did.

      Here;

      “Siri will help, but not everyone shares my enthusiasm for it, so I see an iWatch as mostly a secondary screen for an iPhone rather than a standalone gadget.”

      and here;

      “A smartwatch as a simple second screen to an iPhone might not sound that revolutionary, but I think what will set it apart from existing offerings is the depth of integration into the Apple ecosystem. “

      Like

  18. Informative article, Ben. But don’t you think Galaxy Gear is better than iWatch?
    I think Samsung should be appreciated for its effort as it created smartwatch before Apple.
    And i think Samsung Galaxy Gear is better than iWatch.

    Like

  19. Winski says:

    THERE IS NO, AND WILL BE NO iWATCH !!!

    Like

  20. Great article. I agree that the iWatch will need to directly compete with premium watchmakers like Breitling and Cartier. The iWatch will almost certainly be a beautiful piece of jewelry with a classically elegant form factor and glistening chamfered edges. Imagine if Apple would be able to pull off the following:

    – An ultra simple and classic physical design, like a thin, chamfered edge circle.
    – A beautiful leather or mesh metal strap.
    – Water resistant.
    – Daylight readable screen.
    – Screen can realistically display premium analogue watch faces.
    – Innovative technology to extend charge (solar or motion).
    – No need to remove from wrist to recharge (close proximity wireless charging).
    – Continual health monitoring with alerts for pulse, blood pressure, fatigue etc.

    I’ll be having some fun and create an animated CGI mockup of my idea of an iWatch soon.

    Like

  21. Great article thank you. Hope for Touch ID and allowing me to pay and unlock doors and cars with it! But I will get the iWatch 1 just for the health stuff and notifications and good looks and thats pretty much guaranteed;)

    Like

  22. aniru919 says:

    Great article, I hope the iWatch comes with the app store to make third-party apps usable on it.

    Like

  23. Ever since the term “iWatch” surfaced, everyone assumes Apple *must* be working on a smart watch. Because, hey, that’s what other companies are doing and Apple is going to do it better.

    That is too easy.

    Have you entertained the possibility that if the term “iWatch” actually originated from within the walls of Apple, that perhaps the term refers not so literally to a watch but to Apple’s smart TV efforts?

    Like

  24. livelystate says:

    I don’t want to see apple create a smartphone on your wrist. I want to see something which syncs with my iPhone and gives me relevant, important bits of information – Like calendar notifications. It has to be slick looking, well built and above all strong enough to take some serious knocks. Affordability is also key. Great article.

    Like

  25. A health device (to make sure you´re healthy, exercising, warn emergency in case of heart failure, blood sugar check, etc)
    A portable media TV (able to watch movies and TV channels live + music)
    A personal organiser (reminders, calendar, SIRI, e-mail, iBeacon shopping notifier)

    But best of all, it´s TRUE wireless charging, never connected to power cables or touching for charge).

    $399 for entry model, $499 for 16GB model.

    App driven.

    And lastly, released together with the new Apple TV television set and setup box.

    Like

  26. smigit says:

    Watch, smartphone companion (as opposed to just a fitness tracker) and home automation device.

    I think the fitness device is a bit limited given the iPhone can already act as a very solid replacement for a dedicated fitness tracker. I’d imagine a smart watch could do that and a lot more.

    As far as home automation, I kind of hope the rumours from last year are true where Apple is looking to integrate it into home automation systems. It’d be good to have music follow you throughout the house etc while allowing the user to leave a phone in a dock supplying the audio while charging. While a phone is portable and easy to keep on the user, a watch is even more so which may make it a better fit for automating certain household appliances. GPS and low power blue tooth could open up some interesting capabilities that are being somewhat explored in devices such as the nest family, but a lot more could be done.

    As an extension of home automation, perhaps it can be a bridge device between the home and iOS in the car too.

    Like

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I would certainly be very surprised if Apple wasn’t taking a very keen interest in the new generation of home automation technology, and, as you say, an iWatch could easily play a role there.

      Like

    • PMZanetti says:

      The iWatch will excel at replicating simple functions of the iPhone. All the little things we do with our iPhone, that really don’t require taking the phone out of the pocket or purse, waking it up, unlocking the screen, picking an app, and proceeding…all the little things that can/could be done with simple voice commands…

      ….In short, the iWatch should be a Siri microphone, with some unique ways of making the experience great. And some real enhancements to Siri while we’re at it.

      Like

      • Paul Kerr says:

        The problems with a Siri mic are (1) it’s not close to your face, so reliable input would be harder to achieve, (2) it couldn’t be waterproof. #2 is a dealbreaker.

        Like

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        You’d raise your wrist to your face just as you do a phone, so I don’t see that as an issue. There are waterproof microphones around. I would think the watch has to be at least splash-proof to be practical.

        Like

      • smigit says:

        Agreed in that I don’t think having a microphone on the watch is an issue. You need to raise a watch to read the time as well. Generally I find my iPhone functions well when speakerphone is enabled during a call, so I imagine Apple could work around interference without requiring the watch to be held right against the mouth using their current tech.

        Like

  27. Apple has Siri, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro, M7, vibration, bluetooth and Nike’s support on hand.

    So iWatch should make Siri more useful on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV and upcoming smart home sensors. “Turn off the lights Siri” should be the keyword for Siri 2.0

    Fingerprint sensor with iCloud keychain on an iWatch should make it a key which unlocks all doors and passwords. Unlocking even your car by scanning your fingerprint to iWatch will be a good experience.
    Note that iWatch should unlock our iPhone, iPad and Mac as long as we wear it.

    Nike’s algorithm, M7, a built-in heart rate sensor and iPhone’s GPS is enough for activity.

    It may use lightning port as an audio jack, even be charged by an iPhone or iPad. (Meanwhile why iPad can not share its huge battery with iPhone?)

    Apps like pandora, spotify, maps, touchpad, sleep cycle may have childApps for iWatch interface.

    Like

  28. PMZanetti says:

    There seems to be a gross overvaluation of the desire for health and fitness apps/devices. Has anyone looked at the US recently? Not a population of people remotely interested in health.

    I applaud Apple for trying, and making a ‘big deal’ out of health and fitness integration…but both Apple and tech-bloggers alike seem to misunderstand the desire for such things in the market.

    In short, you’re not going to sell a single iWatch based on fitness tracking.

    Like

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Nike doesn’t seem to have done too badly, and it seemed just about everyone launched fitness bands at CES …

      Like

      • I think it is short sighted to say that the US has no demand for anything involving technology and health. Fitness bands wouldn’t be in demand if there wasn’t any market. I know in Charlotte, NC it is absolutely hard to a fitbit or jawbone band. We are a commuter community without all the walking about like a city like New York. So I could imagine that in a place like that there is a greater demand for fitness bands and the like.

        Millennial’s are most certainly worried about their health. Not to take this article on a sharp left turn, but the current state of healthcare in the US adds more concern and worry for our health. I think that any wearable that could consistently, and correctly monitor an individuals health with the added feature of possibly reducing individual cost is one worth considering creating.

        If a device like the ‘iWatch’ with its rumored tech could reduce the cost of an insurance plan at least equal to the cost of the device in the first ‘data’ year, there will be a market for it without a doubt. Obviously, this idea doesn’t factor in the time, cost, educating the public about the benefits or HIPAA requirements for the data. If Apple was to make the data compatible with the Electronic Medical Records standards that have been set by the healthcare industry, then the sky is the limit for any device that would monitor health.

        Like

  29. Hopefully, with this Apple can strengthen the APIs, SDKs, etc. they give developers to ensure that notifications are delivered. For example, the YouTube app gives me about one notification a week – for a new video, while on the site and in the app there are about 70 new videos a week. I feel that the experience around the device revolves around content.

    Like

  30. I don’t buy this whole smart watch thing at the moment. Till they look like the jivaldi concept watch so people will do a double take when they see it it’s crap. I love new Technology but given that so far they all look like cheap $5 ebay chinese watches what’s the point. I have a lovely Citizen Ecosystem Chronometer that looks great and also the Divers versions in Titanium. I would love the same by Breitling if I had the money or the new British Bremont Company that has awesome watches with nods to Nelson’s Flagship, World War II Spitfires and The Bletchley Circle. Now those are watches. Till then my iPhone which has the lot is just a quick finger snatch away from my jeans pocket at all times. Just watch the God awful Samsung Smart Watch ad with the dork on the ski lift. It looks like he bought it at some cheap flea market.

    Like

  31. “Apple’s first task will be to create something that actually looks like a watch, not like someone trimmed down a smartphone and strapped that to your wrist.”

    Do not agree – It would be revolutionary when Apple (hopefully) will redefine a watch as such.
    Apple will not just create a round and/or square faced classical watch with some smartness – I hope…

    But I will be very surprised if Apple really manage to make something really exciting here.
    Jobs was a visionary mastermind and I do not think that anyone can fill that space. Jobs was Aplles biggest capital.
    I think even the new MacPro is still a child of Steve. And hopefully the watch will as well…..

    Like

  32. Great article! Been lots of rumours about this product and you seem to have covered all of it! Would like to see it come with inductive charging like Andrew Douglas Phillips mentions. Surely it has to be a square device to fit app icons?

    Like

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Thanks, Steve. As I don’t see us running many local apps on it, and I think the display will be small, we’ll be scrolling through the relatively few apps whether the display is round or square. I certainly think inductive charging is likely.

      Like

  33. Based on the comments Tim Cook has made, I think the anticipated “iWatch” will lean more towards a fitness gadget with limited watch capabilities, use Bluetooth LE, and give off notifications of some kind. No Siri integration and won’t be able to make or receive calls.

    As always, the press gets so hyped up in what they think it could be, or needs to be. There will be the big let down by some in the media because Apple didn’t do what they thought should be done.

    Like

  34. I really enjoyed reading this article, thanks for the good writeup. A lot of good points were made here and I couldn’t agree more. You’ve successfully fed into my ever-growing anticipation for this watch.

    Like

  35. brotim53 says:

    Thanks for a great article. I always enjoying reading these great articles on the great possibilities of upcoming Apple products.

    Like

  36. Damian says:

    Nice article!

    How about gesture control (Leap Motion style?)
    One of the things you do with your arms and hands is gesturing.
    My bet would be: watch + fitness tracker + gesture tracker

    Imagine using your watch to “airwrite” something. :)
    (Yes, it’s possible, in theory: http://www.kit.edu/visit/pi_2013_12665.php)

    Like

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Thanks, Damian. My jury is still out on gestures as a UI. I can see if for TV, especially if combined with the kind of intelligence I expect. Maybe for unlocking things. I’m less persuaded for Macs.

      Like

      • Damian says:

        Of course. Gesture-based UI is still very “green”.
        And the biggest drawback (that makes my theory improbable): to use it for precise movements (or writing), you’ll have to wear the watch in the opposite hand you’re used to wear it. XDDDD
        But, hey! the sensors will most probably be there…

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  37. Jason Piebes says:

    Hi Ben, nice example of informed prognostication. I think you overshot it a bit though. I agree completely this new thing will be tied at the hip to the M7. But ‘revolutionary’… It’s a peripheral device that will rely on the iPhone. I put this at the same level as the Apple TV. It’s not a mass adoption thing, but its there for the people that will have a use for it. Perhaps it will be revolutionary in it’s thinking and use of technology. But it won’t be the same in terms of mass adoption.
    And I don’t think it will have a screen either. We all know Apple likes to solve problems that Samsung and others create. One of the biggest complaints out there since the smart watch concept came about decades ago, is battery life. I would expect this Apple gadget to use as little juice imaginable and that means no screen. Who wants another gadget to charge? I might even go as far to say that there may not be any charging period…
    I think using the term “watch” is very misleading and really represents the uncreative thinking the vast majority of people possess. I like where you were going with the ‘3 things in 1′ historical approach. but predicating it on ‘watch’ I think immediately sets us off in the wrong direction. How many people anyway are going to drop their very expensive statement pieces in favor of a gadget? I would certainly not keep a Tag Heuer on the dresser.
    Hindsight is always fun to look at. A product debuts and we look back and see the trail of evidence right before our eyes. If ‘watch’ is misleading, what other hints are out there that have been laid before us? I seem to remember something about a ring. A ring certainly would use much less energy, be less invasive for sure. I expect iBeacon to be apart of it.

    But we’ll see!

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    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Thanks, Jason. Getting a week’s battery-life out of a small screen is something that others have already managed, and Apple has a better record than most at eeking out batteries, so I don’t see that as an issue. I agree those with statement watches won’t swap, but there’s a whole generation of people who don’t currently wear a watch at all and who can be sold on a reason to wear one, so I definitely see it as a mass-market product. But yes indeed, always fun to look back at predictions in hindsight!

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  38. Akash Kumar says:

    I think the iWatch is going to be a reminiscent of a pager, a watch, and a fitness band.

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  39. Olof Beckman says:

    Thank you for an interesting article!

    I think that some of the points in this old blog post is interesting:

    http://www.metawatch.com/feed/history-repeats-itself

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  40. With all the emphasis on health that the rumors keep saying (mostly related to running), I hope there are some biking features too. I would love to be able to [with just a glance] check my current speed, average speed, overall distance, and perhaps other things. There are attachments you can put on your bike for things like that, but I already always have my iPhone with me & I like my bike as minimalistic as possible. I have a fixed gear, no handbrakes, kickstand, nothing extra that isn’t required in making it go.

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  41. I hope the iWatch does something to simplify simple productivity tools that are already in place. It’s so tiresome adding a multitude of events to iCal, and then clearing them as they pass. A watch is the simplest of productivity tools, and fleshing out technologies in a productivity-based device, seems like a natural fit. An iWatch should allow me to set up an appointment, give me directions on how to get there, and then tell me how many calories I burned walking home. A watch’s advantage of sitting on your wrist is that it’s discrete; A simple glance at a watch vs. taking a phone out from your pocket and unlocking it, is why Apple needs a smart watch that is just that, a smart watch. If it’s just an iPhone on your wrist it solves nothing. I have high hopes that Apple will show more focus than their current competitors.

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  42. acslater017 says:

    To piggyback on the iPhone analogy, the Apple smartwatch will take advantage of its placement on the body and have an appropriate UI. Just like the iPhone didn’t just come with a tiny mouse (AKA stylus), it’s myopic to think that it would just be a shrunken down iPhone on which to read your alerts.

    If it’s on your body, it’s going to take advantage of that with the medical/fitness sensors mentioned. It’s also going to be stylish and classy as something you wear on your body. I think those poopooing it sight unseen are thinking too small :)

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  43. Lynx GRafx says:

    I don’t think the watch should have anything to do with the phone. It should not ring or receive text. I think it should track fitness, check weather, time, calendar, alarms, maybe gps mapping. I find it stupid that you can talk to ya watch when your phone is just in your pocket.

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  44. What you’re missing is iBeacons. The iWatch is going to be your doorway to sensors in stores and eventually the world, as the technology matures. So you can walk by a store and get notifications of sales, or, when walking through a gallery, get info on the artist, etc.

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  45. The “iWatch” still seems like a permanent niche product to me.

    And even if they are making such a thing, the easiest way to make it even LESS saleable, is to make it look in an old-timey “wristwatch” design. This will instantly turn off millions.

    The idea that it is actually going to be a wrist worn iPod, but with extra features, is interesting. I think if they actually believe that kids or anyone under 30 will buy this thing beyond the initial buzz however, they are dreaming. iPods appeal to the younger crowd, “wristwatches” appeal exclusively to seniors or “old-world” (eastern block, Muslim, and other “backward” culture) types.

    I don’t get how they will rectify this disparity, but I will certainly be watching on Monday to find out.
    I predict either amaze balls or a complete FAIL. Should be interesting either way.

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