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Why the iWatch won’t be another iPhone or iPad magnitude success

Sections: Opinions and Editorials, Originals

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“Stop The Smartwatch Madness! I Don’t Want To Wear My Computers.” So says ReadWrite’s Owen Thomas who notes that the gadget-industrial complex is afroth with the notion that everyone from Apple and Google to Dell and Samsung is working on a smartwatch.

So, who’s going to wear them, he asks? Not him. Thomas doesn’t like wristwatches either, and notes that he’s far from alone in eschewing timepieces, noting the trend of younger people to tell time on anything but a watch.

Must be a generational thing. I feel only partly dressed without a wristwatch, and can’t imagine trying to get along without one. However, I’m highly skeptical about ever being persuaded to wear a computer on my wrist, or anywhere else on my body. Wearable technology holds little appeal for me at this point, but never say never. I had trouble imagining at first what I would ever do with an iPad. Apple has a way of figuring out what people will want to have before they know they do.

However, I’m still skeptical that I’ll ever warm to wearing a computer on my wrist. It’s technological overkill, putting me in mind of Master Lock’s new Vault electronic padlocks which strike me as an especially unsatisfactory answer to a question nobody asked. More passwords to remember, another device with a battery ticking down (albeit that’s claimed to take five years), and you are cautioned never to get the thing wet, which even in the context of recommended indoor applications would seem to pose a vandalism hazard. I digress.

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Presuming that the iWatch will be a Cloud enabled device, I’m not at all enchanted with the idea of a transmitter emitting electromagnetic radiation strapped to my body (much less Google’s Glass smartglasses transmitting RF close to my brain).

And as Owen Thomas observes, who needs another electronic device to manage, with more cables and charge bricks to misplace or forget to pack? He probably correctly anticipated battery life to be miserable with these devices due to their small size and simple physics restrictions, and that the frequent recharging necessary will negate one of the main purported advantages of wearable computers.

Moreover, speaking of physical limitations of the form factor, what about the necessarily minuscule screen and input medium in a smartwatch sized device? Typing on phones is bad enough, and I’m not interested in viewing more than short videos on anything less than a 9.7- inch display, and that’s plenty small enough.

Owen contends that tech hardware makers should stop trying to replace the smartphone and instead concentrate on improving it with versions of existing categories that can fade into the background. I think he’s right. I’m sure the pressure for these companies from stockholders and consumers to come up with the latest “next big thing” is intense. Apple managed to do it with the iPod and iPhone, again with the iPad, and to some degree with the iPad mini, but if the iWatch turns out to be another out of the park home run for Apple, to say I’ll be amazed would be an understatement.

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