Your iWatch prototype is none of Apple’s concern

31 January 2014 #Thoughts

Here’s the worst kind of Tweet…

The iWatch concept that @toddham designed is beautiful & functional. Apple, pay attention.

— Patrick Haney (@notasausage) January 23, 2014

Apple pay attention to what? There’s no denying that Todd Ham’s brilliant iWatch Concept looks glorious and is a bunch of fun to spitball. But it’s no more useful to Apple than any sci-fi movie prop.

Consider its construction in practice. It’s a very thick and hard bracelet with a glass (or sapphire) display that would need to house hardware powerful enough to run iOS and a battery that would power it for at least 24 hours.

If Apple are actually working on a device that is intended to be worn on your wrist there’s no way they will satiate the seething masses of the internet. If it’s not an iPhone on your wrist, it won’t be innovative/futuristic/spectacular enough because expectations are being set by people that are disregarding real world limitations.

Terrible iWatch Idea: An iPhone on your wrist

Pick up your iPhone 5S (unplug it first), tell me if you’d like to wear something that heavy on your wrist all day. Now imagine taking it off your wrist more than once a day to recharge it. Now imagine paying more for this iWatch than you paid for your iPhone because it’s smaller and more complex than the iPhone itself.

There is some seriously complicated technology inside what is effectively a small rectangle. How anyone thinks they can pack that into a sleek, rounded band is beyond me.

Lastly, imagine walking down the street talking into your wrist. Now imagine Google Glass owners are laughing at you.

Slightly less terrible iWatch idea: An iPod touch on your wrist

Now we’re getting closer. Strip the cellular hardware nonsense and you end up with a much lighter and longer-lasting device. But the problem of taking such complex hardware and putting it into a round band still applies.

Then, if this is a phone-less iPhone on your wrist it would become the most expensive iPhone accessory available. We need to simplify further…

Now we’re getting somewhere iWatch idea: A better iPod nano on your wrist.

Here’s a device that approaches the battery life, size and weight that any regular person would deem acceptable from something you’d wear all day on your wrist.

It is my belief that the iWatch will be much closer to an iPod than an iPhone — it may even just be called an iPod. It should also have crammed into it the M7 motion coprocessor from the iPhone 5S and a GPS much like many fitness watches do. Now we’re approaching something useful, on that…

What reason do people have for wanting an iWatch, anyway?

Other than the obvious I want something new! cries from the internet, one has to actually wonder what purpose an iWatch of any kind would serve.

The watch market is already served with watches from Rolex to Casio. Fit people are already served with fitness bands from Garmin to Nike to Fitbit. Perhaps Apple’s iWatch could be not only about fitness, but about better health.

Apple makes profits by selling useful and desirable technical hardware to people. Where it’s easy to imagine Google Glass as little more than another way for Google to track everything you see and do — what if Apple created a device that was able to track how your body responded to everything you did.

Find someone in modern society that doesn’t think they could be a bit healthier. Not just fitness junkies, regular ol’ iPod-buying people.

A light, efficient and cost effective piece of wearable technology that tracks constantly tracks your movements and vital signs has a certain appeal. A biometric API could then feed data to fitness, health and dieting applications.

Biometric data is not as interesting to companies that make their money on advertising. Apple is in the business of making money, but they do so by selling products people want to buy.

So the pitch of a device that promises better health through better data has appeal.

The iWatch could be more than a GPS Fitness watch, smarter than a regular watch but can’t yet be the stuff of sci-fi dreams. I think there’s a market there.