Decision time? Check out our latest product comparisons

Would Apple really make an iWatch?

By

December 27, 2012

Will Apple spark a smart watch revolution? (Wrist image via Shutterstock)

Will Apple spark a smart watch revolution? (Wrist image via Shutterstock)

Image Gallery (2 images)

Ten years from now, what will mobile devices look like? Will they be lighter, thinner, and more powerful smartphones and tablets? Or will their interfaces move beyond the touchscreen? One possibility is the invisible assistant: a wearable accessory that you interact with by talking and listening. Today one (far-fetched) rumor suggests that Apple could spearhead that future early next year, in the form of the iWatch.

According to Chinese-language blog TGBus, Apple is collaborating with Intel on a Bluetooth-enabled smartwatch. The device supposedly has a 1.5-inch OLED screen. Like Pebble and i'm watch, the device would connect to an iPhone via low-powered Bluetooth 4.0. Unlike Pebble or i'm watch, though, it would let you answer calls and use Siri.

Voice replacing the touchscreen?

Was Dick Tracy a prophetic comic? (lambdachialpha | flickr)

Whether this rumor has legs or not, Siri (and other virtual assistants) could eventually supplant the touchscreen in our mobile devices. Apple thrives on making tech products behave less like tech products, and more like natural human tools. When taken to its extreme, this could result in a device with a conversation-based interface.

Such a device could be made today, without technological hurdles. A connected iPhone would do much of the processing; the watch would record your voice, transmit it to your iPhone, and relay Siri's response. A small touch screen would also allow for limited visual/kinetic interaction, including notifications and basic apps.

Smells fishy

Even if Siri-powered accessories are eventually coming, though, this rumor is suspect. Intel's processors power Macs, but the chip-maker is only wetting its feet with low-powered mobile CPUs. Would Apple collaborate with Intel on a 2013 mobile device? "Long-shot" doesn't begin to describe the odds.

Apple's obsession with simplicity also casts doubt on this rumor. From the time Steve Jobs returned in the late 90s, the company's product line has been small and focused. Jobs and present CEO Tim Cook have both said that Apple only enters new markets when it can do something revolutionary. Would an iWatch be revolutionary enough to justify its own existence? In 2013, that's doubtful.

Maybe someday

Even if this rumor is bogus, though, wearable tech products are waiting in the wings. But there's a big difference between making a product and selling a product. For wearable computers to catch on, companies will need to simplify, minimize their geekiness (I'm talking to you, Project Glass), and give average people a reason to salivate over them. What company does those things better than Apple?

Source: TGBus, via Macrumors

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
Tags
9 Comments

has anyone even bothered to check that Sony already has the smart watch for Android, that does most of that?

a few months from now we will be praising Apple for its innovation, not noticing Sony has had it for ages.

Malaquias
28th December, 2012 @ 02:31 am PST

Whats next? iAbacus? iSlide(rule)?

Two Replies
28th December, 2012 @ 04:00 am PST

While an iwatch seems unlikely in 2013 (bit late for the rumor mill for a 2013 product), the ipod nano/watch was very popular in spite of its limited capabilities. For a wrist device the big challenge is the interface. To have a phone in your pocket, an earpiece in your ear and a watch on your wrist seems pretty cumbersome, and a watch sized screen offers very limited possibilities for interactivity. To tell you the truth it makes google glass seem downright elegant by comparison.

Michaelc
28th December, 2012 @ 06:22 am PST

The Sony lists under $150 and sells for little more than half that; Apple's "iWatch" will be priced for the fanboi and fangrrl crowd that doesn't mind paying several times that much for exclusivity ... so they can be just as exclusive as everyone else they know ... ;-)

gafisher
28th December, 2012 @ 08:19 am PST

The voice aspect of the watch wouldn't need to be much more complicated than my $20 bluetooth headset. The first version of the Pebble won't support voice but nothing stops them from adding it in Pebble 2.0 after they get 1.0 off the ground.

Honestly I would love a smart watch and I should be excited about rumors of Apple entering the market but the truth is I am too afraid if they had the first mass market smart watch with a lot of volume people would rewrite history and assume they invented the idea and everyone else is just a copy.

The idea is at least as old as Dick Tracy sure but they had tablet computers in Star Trek in the 60's too and everyone is still pretty sure Apple invented it.

Apple would never launch the iWatch without updating iSue to support it.

Apple tends to get things right the first time more often than others but I would rather wait for the rest of the market fail a couple times on the way to success than have Apple come in and sue everyone else out of the market.

Daishi
28th December, 2012 @ 11:50 am PST

Fossil made a Palm OS watch in 2003. http://www.gizmag.com/go/1641/ It ran Palm OS 4 with a monochrome screen. Images of them with only 4 icons on the screen had to be mockups, the production versions used a 160x160 pixel LCD, same as low end Palm PDAs, so large chunks of the OS didn't have to be modified.

Michaelc mentioned using the square, touchscreen iPod Nano as a watch. That was facilitated by 3rd party companies making wrist bands to hold it like a watch.

The Seiko Data 2000 from 1983 is the granddaddy of smart watches. It could store 2000 characters and had wireless docking with an external keyboard.

There was quite a lot going on in "wrist computers" in the 1980's.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wristwatch_computer

These watches have become collectible, if you find one in good condition and can get it cheap, you've pretty much found money.

I picked up a Casio touch screen calculator watch, the model that used character recognition to enter numbers and operation signs, at a thrift store for 50 cents. I sold it on eBay for $50. :-) Those are hard to find with a working digitizer because one good scratch on the capacitive screen kills it.

Gregg Eshelman
28th December, 2012 @ 06:25 pm PST

It's already been done.

Check this out.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKVNVoBScFA

Dynasty Tattoo
29th December, 2012 @ 06:18 am PST

I can already do all that and more thanks to android.My watch is a rooted MotoACTV and it is in its own class.I have youtube,netflix,full acsess to google play ,real time google maps and navigation, full 3d games and fully teather to my phone for recieving and sending calls/text via blutooth,also anything else that your smartphone can do including livewall papers and widgets.IN SHORT @#@# Apple and all its fanboys!!!!

thedon82z1
2nd January, 2013 @ 06:31 am PST

Heck, in 2006 I bought a cell phone (gsm), mp3/4 player wristwatch with 2 gigs of storgage and two batteries (24 hour standby, 3 hours talk) for $199. Yesterday I did a search, now I could buy a new one for $89. Does Apple ever create anything or do they just 'borrow' other companies products?

Pks29733steel
9th January, 2013 @ 09:53 am PST
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:


Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our 29,042 articles