Yes it’s that time again where I rack my brain about all the wondrous things that could be coming from Apple and I suddenly have one of those “Eureka!” moments. Granted, my ideas in the past have sounded far fetched and have also been thoroughly disproven on a technical level (see my iPhone 6 wireless charger article), but it never stops me from wanting to share my thoughts.
So with the latest news stating that we may actually be seeing the rumoured iWatch as soon as September 9th alongside the new iPhone 6, I got thinking about all the rumours and patents I have stumbled across over the last few months and also worked my imagination to think about what will make the iWatch stand out, and even better…consumer friendly.
Well my latest idea is this: the iWatch will not come with a wrist strap.
LOL…yes, I said it. I don’t think the iWatch will come with a wrist strap, at least not one that will be bought by default with the actual watch face itself. Here are why I believe this could be a reality, and also a game changer…
Remember this slogan early on in the iPhone era? What does that mean to you exactly? Well it means that Apple have created this magical device that not only is a phone, but capable of running numerous 3rd party apps via the App Store. In fact, Apple didn’t just create a device, but they created an entire ecosystem that 3rd parties could use to (quite often) get rich from. Apple sells the device, and leaves the 3rd parties to build the additional functionality behind it.
Do you also remember this???
STAY WITH ME HERE! What is the above picture? It is the ingenious method of easily attaching a case to an iPad, along with offering added functionality such as auto on/off when you open/close the case. But while Apple obviously started this idea by building their own cases, what they actually did, was open up this technology to 3rd party manufacturers to build even better, more functional cases:
Boom! All of a sudden we have a device that Apple has created that is allowing 3rd parties, just like with the App Store, to get rich off of selling peripherals designed for the iPad. This is also true for the iPhone, iPod and MacBooks etc.
So my idea was very much the same as the above. I believe that the iWatch will in fact, in it’s purest form, simply be a watch face laden with sensors…of all sorts. What I also believe is that it will also come with an Apple Smart Strap, very similar to the Apple Smart Case you can also buy with the iPad. The straps will be numerous colours and materials, similar to the iPad Smart Cases…and most importantly, allow Apple to stick to their goal of making only a small few variations of hardware e.g. iPad & iPad Mini or iPhone 5s & iPhone 5c etc.
I got this idea when I saw patents similar to the one below:
From there however, it can/will be up to 3rd party manufacturers to come up with whatever other crazy ideas they may have for the strap…including what sensors they want to add to them. The HealthKit/HomeKit SDKs are there for a reason, not because Apple will come up with, and programme all the apps possible for the device, but because they want to create an ecosystem that allows 3rd party manufacturers and developers to go nuts and create the best possible functionality for the device!!!
Imagine this: new health or home kit sensors are developed every year…or at least improved. Why on earth would you want a wearable device that is limited to only the sensors available that year. Surely you may (or may not) want to update the watch with new sensors for your health reasons as technology evolves. You want to be free to explore every new functionality out there that the countless number of developers out there can dream up!
So what I propose is that the iWatch will in fact be a way of attaching new straps to it which in turn will offer enhanced functionality based on the individual. Not everyone will buy an iWatch for health…why settle for a single strap with health sensors in it? Why not buy the home automation sensor laden strap that opens your safe at home?
What this will do is offer 3 key benefits to the consumer. I will bullet point the first 2 points here and do my best to labour the final point a bit further, as this point is what will make it stand out from the rest:
1. Freedom to choose
None of us are the same….and just like some people want different cases on their iPhones, same goes that people will want different straps for their iWatch. This is not only for the potential extra functionality that could be developed into those straps (as I eluded above), but almost certainly for a fashion purpose.
We all want to make our own statement, and we should be free to choose how we make that statement!
2. Charging made easy
I wrote a few articles on how the watch will be charged and I think we all agree, it will be charged via a wireless dock similar to the Moto 360. But my gosh….what a hassle it will be to undo the strap every night just to dock the device to charge.
Well what if all you had to do was pop the face off the strap thanks to some handy magnets or other ingenious method, and then the face just sits in a nice dock, allowing the now charging device to act as a night stand clock/alarm. Ahem…multifunctional devices are more desired devices!!!
3. Round the clock health monitoring….even while you sleep!
This relates heavily to the 2nd point, but is the most key in terms of the importance that this device will have for the health industry.
Your health doesn’t stop requiring attention while you sleep. You blood sugar level doesn’t just stay dormant until you wake. Your heart certainly does not wait for your alarm to go off in the morning before it potentially requires medical support.
In point 2 I talk about simply removing the watch face…this in turn leaves the sensor laden strap remaining on your wrist. Whether you need to monitor your heart, blood, sweat, or simply your sleep patterns, the strap that you have chosen, for fashion and for function, will remain on your wrist.
Should anything abnormal happen during sleep, the iWatch will detect this as soon as you pop the watch face back in when you wake. If anything happened that should cause alarm, you (and your medical clinic) could be alerted immediately. This is true proactive and constant health monitoring and alerting. Something that would undoubtably save lives!
Basic sensor based wrist straps don’t require hefty battery power to keep working. Just look at the Nike FitBit or the JawBone etc. They can last for days if not weeks without a charge. The same would go for a MFiWatch wrist strap. In fact, not only would the strap keep juice throughout the night, but as soon as you insert the watch face back into the strap in the morning, the strap will get enough juice to be charged 100%.
This is the most important point, and the one that will help Apple to become the most important innovation in health to date. Fashion, notifications, fitness…these are all lovely, nice to have features. Proactive, 24/7 health monitoring is priceless!
Yes there will be an iWatch, whatever name they give it.
Yes, the watch face will be laden with sensors of all sorts for health and fitness tracking
YES…the watch face will be fully detachable from any Apple designed wrist strap, and Apple will open up a world of API’s to allow 3rd parties to create their own gorgeous, but most importantly, life saving wrist straps.
This is speculation as I always do…but my gosh, what if I am right? Bring on September 9th…I can’t wait!