The latest rumor regarding Apple is that the company is hard at work on a watch, which was the name for a chronometer worn on the wrist to tell time. The devices largely vanished with the advent of the cell phone and the DVR. Since virtually no one wears a wristwatch any more, why should we care about an Apple iWatch?
It’d be a “smart” watch
Much like the Pebble watch, most people believe that what Apple is designing would be more of an interface for the iPhone, giving you notifications of new messages, Tweets, and appointments, as well as perhaps giving you the ability to talk to your iPhone using Siri without having to take it out of your pocket. Because what a burden that is, am I right!? Such a device would presumably work via Bluetooth and let you control your music, monitor your exercise regimen, and even give you driving directions without having to look down at your phone. Think of it as a Bluetooth earpiece with a visual component.
The iPod nano 6G
Apple already has experience making a device like this: the 6G nano, which was so small it was turned into a watch by some enterprising peripheral makers. But when the 7G game out, the small square screen with its custom apps was replaced by a widescreen interface, presumably to allow owners to watch TV and movies. But what if Apple was trying to avoid confusion with another product, waiting in the wings? So, if Apple wanted to create an iOS device that could be small enough to fit on your wrist and be worthy of being an iPod, well, they’ve already got the team in place.
“One more thing…”
One of the criticisms being lobbed at Apple is that they haven’t introduced a new hardware product since the iPad. Meanwhile, Google has announced Project Glass, which is a very sci-fi plan to have glasses that let you interact with the world via an “enhanced reality” HUD. While I’m dubious of the usefulness of Google Glasses, smart watches seem dead useful if only because of the way they help handle notifications. I keep my phone on vibrate and have missed quite a few notifications because I didn’t feel the iPhone go off (not to mention the phantom buzz syndrome where you think you got a notification but didn’t). Having the device on your wrist, where you can see and hear and feel a notification more clearly, makes sense.
Plus, I use my iPhone for a lot of things, like exercising and hands-free phone calls, where I need its functionality when taking it out of my pocket is impractical. But combine that with a streamlined visual interface and Siri, and everything becomes simpler. And we know that Apple loves simple.
Do we need a digital watch in 2013? Two weeks ago I would have said “no,” but now thinking about what Apple could do with the concept, I’m kind of excited.