It becomes increasingly difficult to write about the “iWatch,” as there are rumors abound, speculations about the design, the price point, and it’s battery life. There doesn’t seem to be much thought about the added value of such a device however, and I really don’t believe that it is meant to replace the functionality of an iPhone or iPod.
The key issue seems to be centered around battery life, as no one wants a device that they have to charge once or multiple times a day. Equally, the size factor does not suggest much visual “touch screen like” functionality, meaning there has to be another appeal to it. These two together seem to suggest to me that we have to look at functionality that is both cool (in the Apple way) and consumes little energy.
The obvious leads that we have for this are homekit and healthkit, neither of which require much of a screen, instead relying more on sensors and connectivity. We know that sensors for mobility, built into the iPhone 5s M7 chip, are energy friendly, and I assume others will be too.
On the other hand, the only energy-saving connectivity technology seems to be Bluetooth LE, with cellular data being blamed as the major culprit for diminished battery life on the iPhone. With Bluetooth LE also comes Beacon technology, allowing for homekit-based interactions, so it looks like this area is covered too in terms of energy friendly connected functionality.
This just leaves the screen as an energy hog and somehow I see Apple as sacrificing this to make it a better device. So what I believe we will have is the following:
- A slick watch, the kind you pay $500+ for.
- Both a for-men and a for-women version, with hipper, cheaper versions to follow.
- I would bet on it being analog in the design and aesthetic.
- Powerful* health sensors inside (*: what is powerful though, it won’t read your blood sugar level, I guess).
- Bluetooth LE inside.
- Priced between $399 and $699.
The cool part being everything outside of the watch: health data, mobile payments, interaction with other devices. Launching Apple into new growth areas: devices for fashion, health, payments, and more.
This last part suggests a third or fourth product line (next to the Apple TV. Or even a fifth next to Beats), and a different naming convention altogether. A wearable line that integrates with fashion.
In conclusion, what I envisioned to be a mobile hotspot, one device to connect them all on the road, was perhaps too geeky? To limited in looking at the potential. There is so much activity around this “iWatch” concept now, the latest of which is the hiring of (watch) designer Marc Newson, which makes this quite of an open ballpark, in terms of what will be announced in just a few days.
Will it be a game changer? Clearly Apple thinks so with all of its acquisitions and new hires. Is it a big gamble? I don’t know enough about the dynamics of this new world Apple is entering into to say. I do know that fashion is a fickle and fast moving beast, but so is tech, and that brands do have staying power, as long as they innovate and deliver what its core constituents want. From Apple, we want the very best, and do far they have always delivered.