I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about a possible watch, or wearable device, coming from Apple. Most of it is clearly uninformed. The rest appears to be wild speculation with no grounded knowledge of how Apple works. So I wanted to take a few moments to examine Apples method of thinking and come up with a few realistic expectations. Here goes:
It’s going to be focused around fitness and health
What does a watch have to do with health? Quite a lot it turns out. Apple is prepping a new app called ‘Healthbook’ for the release of iOS 8 later in 2014. It’s designed to monitor heart rate, hydration levels, blood pressure, activity, nutrition, blood sugar levels, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and sleep patterns. The app is likely to receive these statistics wirelessly via the iWatch, which is expected to read most of these bodily functions via a small sensor that touches the skin near the wrist. For example, the sensor is likely to predict your blood pressure levels by listening to the flow of blood going through your veins. Slightly creepy, but cool nonetheless.
It’s unlikely to be an accessory
The iWatch is very likely to tether wirelessly to an iPhone, enabling you to see exercise and body statistics from the Healthbook app. However, it’s also likely to work as a standalone product, without any requirement to be regularly connected to an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. This is to keep it’s audience as large as possible, and to keep the product as simple as possible.
The iWatch will be a new category of device, focused around the body and health
“But wristwatches already exist!” You might say. The iWatch will not just tell the time, just like an iPhone doesn’t only make calls. The iWatch will be the first wearable computer from Apple, with its own user interface and its set of rules, and it’s going to be heavily orientated around fitness.
It’s not going to look like this:
Anyone expecting to see a small square screen attached to a wristband is going to be disappointed. The iWatch is likely to have a curved screen that wraps around the wrist. A screen that orientates itself to automatically face the right way up; and it’s likely to use magnets to give a snug fit around your wrist.
It’s not likely to have a Thunderbolt port.
Any wearable device needs to be splash/waterproof, so don’t expect to see a Thunderbolt port, which enables water to easily access internal components “What about a flap to cover the port?” You might ask. That’s not Apples style. We’re likely to see a device that charges and syncs content wirelessly.
It’s unlikely the iWatch will take photos or support apps. Not in the first release. Don’t expect to make phone calls through it either.
It will use Multi-Touch.
We’ve already seen Apple apply Multi-Touch features to incredibly small devices. Expect to see it implemented similarly in the iWatch.
It will support Siri.
There’s not much more to say here.
Don’t expect it anytime soon.
The iPhone and iPad were in development for years. The iWatch is still likely to be in the early stages of development. We haven’t seen the usual clues of engineers and developers disappearing down a “black hole” at Apple. We’ll be lucky to see an iWatch until 2014/15 at the earliest.