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More signs point to an Apple iWatch

By

February 12, 2013

Our quick render shows what an iWatch might look like (wrist image: Shutterstock)

Our quick render shows what an iWatch might look like (wrist image: Shutterstock)

Image Gallery (2 images)

What will Apple’s next big product be? Two months ago, if you’d polled a room full of analysts, most would have likely answered a TV set. Recently, though, a picture has been forming of a smaller and more portable innovation: the smartwatch. Three major media outlets have now separately reported that Apple is indeed working on an iWatch.

Following previous reports from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg now adds that Apple has a team of 100 product designers working on the smartwatch. The group – which includes hardware, software, and marketing specialists – has reportedly grown within the last year.

The sources say that this means the project is now beyond the experimentation phase of development.

Details?

The reports are sparse on further details, other than that the device would incorporate curved glass, and it could “perform some of the computing tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad.”

A little imagination, though, sheds some light on why Apple would bother. Like Pebble, the device could display notifications – including calls, text messages, and emails – transmitted from a pocketed iPhone. It could also potentially allow for FaceTime video chat, fitness tracking, and voice control.

Apple likes to make computers that require zero geekery. A wearable iWatch could be the simplest, most human-centric computer ever made, with voice replacing the touchscreen as the primary interface.

Siri?

Will we soon be talking to our watches like Dick Tracy did? (lambdachialpha | flickr)

If Apple can iron out some of Siri’s kinks, the virtual assistant could be a big deal on an iWatch.

A tap of the wrist and a few words could deliver nearly any information you ask for – even while driving, working-out, or hurrying to a meeting. It could allow for dictating messages, checking sports scores, setting meetings, and getting directions.

The iWatch release would be a perfect time for Apple to give Siri a big upgrade. Despite Apple's heavy marketing of the assistant with the iPhone 4S, Siri is still a beta product. Speed, more third-party app support, and less reliance on web searches are the most obvious ways Apple could improve Siri.

Coming soon?

There’s no timetable for the iWatch (assuming it comes to market), but the rumored product makes sense. A smartwatch is a more portable and personal extension of the iPhone, and it could eventually replace the smartphone altogether.

Another breakthrough product could also help quell investors’ recent bearishness on Apple stock. There’s no guarantee that the iWatch would be a market-changing breakthrough, but the Kickstarter success of Pebble shows that a lot of customers are eager for something along these lines.

Sources: Bloomberg, New York Times, Wall Street Journal

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
10 Comments

A watch to interface with a separate phone? No thanks.

There are already wristwatch-phones on the market. There is no genuine need for 2 different devices. There are also wrist mounts for the existing iPhones and other tablets. A separate watch-phone combination would be too redundant.

Anne Ominous
12th February, 2013 @ 10:34 pm PST

it is just the perfect gizmo that no one really needs but that will sell in the millions of units. Go Apple...

Steve Meltzer
13th February, 2013 @ 01:25 am PST

"Apple likes to make computers that require zero geekery."?

No!

Apple likes to make computers that make the "geekery" hard to find and hard to use ... perhaps with the (wishful) thinking that the "geekery" won't be needed. But, it's always there.

All those hidden, hard to discover magic swipes, presses, clicks on iOS devices *absolutely* qualify as "geekery" :)

BTW, the triple-click of the home button can be setup (via more geekery) to be very useful!

Stan Sieler
13th February, 2013 @ 11:07 am PST

The fact that it truly has no real useful value has nothing to do with the marketing value of a product. Every Apple tech head will have to have one of these regardless of it being useful, they will invent/imagine a use for it. The minute this is announced, Apple stock will go up!

mountainhiker
13th February, 2013 @ 12:10 pm PST

Uses for a good Smart Watch - meetings. With phone in your pocket on silence, and important text, email or call comes in you can just look at your watch instead of reaching in your pocket. -- Dinner, no longer need to set your phone on the table when waiting for a phone call. - while hanging outside with friends. - leave your phone in the house, but still able to get that all important, your server is down text notification.

While riding your bike or motorcycle. see who is calling without having to get your phone out., but look quickly, you don't want to have an accident. - I am looking forward to the pebble smart watch on kickstarter.

Apple is going to be following a lot of others here, but will probably be touted as the first anyway,.

iDZYNS
13th February, 2013 @ 03:02 pm PST

Actually a smartwatch is useful for all the same reasons wrist watches replaced pocket watches.

On my motorcycle I don't know who is calling me, and if I should bother pulling over to answer. I don't have a GPS or phone mount on my motorcycle either but I could reference a device on my wrist.

Mowing my lawn or working out and I need to change playlists, skip a song etc. it is disruptive to keep reaching into my pocket for my phone.

Huge, high resolution displays are the main battery drain on phones. Do I really need to keep reaching into my pocket to fire up a 1080p display just to know what time it is?

If I am at dinner with polite company or someone is speaking in a meeting, do I disrupt to pull my phone out of my pocket when someone calls? With a smartwatch I can know who is calling and if I should swipe to dismiss the call or excuse myself right from the watch.

The watch would presumably bluetooth with my phone the same as a headset so I should be able to just take the call from the watch if needed. Facetime? why not.

In the same way cell phones replace digital cameras because they are more readily available maybe a low resolution camera on a watch would be at times useful because you can reach it an about a 1/5th of the time as fishing your phone out of your pocket and positioning it. You could also take pictures while in the middle of something without the worry of dropping your phone.

Things like upcoming meetings, todo lists, grocery lists, weather etc. could be right next to the clock.

Sometimes when I work out I feel like its counterproductive to fish out my phone and open some fitness app to log the set I just finished and see what's next in the routine. This is harder to do but still possible from the wrist without giving me time to cool off between sets.

A wrist offers limited touch screen surface area compared to a phone but a high resolution display is obtainable /and/ you could attach a handful of hardware buttons on the outer edge of the device because it is attached to your wrist so you don't have to use the outer edge to hold onto it.

This is all possible with technology we have now even ignoring some of the other features that products like the fitbit watch and Nike fuel band are doing.

Companies have a lot of incentive to enter the market because there is now a lot of competition in touch screen phones and they are spending hundreds of millions and billions for related legal footing alone. Smart watches are a brand new nearly completely untapped market and there is a LOT of room for improvement still.

Daishi
13th February, 2013 @ 07:28 pm PST

In fact, there's a similar product already in the market, a lady's bracelet watch with Bluetooth function that you can talk to answer the phone. It is made in China and finished product is available early 2012.

DesignCells
14th February, 2013 @ 10:47 am PST

The missing link, no pun intended for apple products is their abiltiy to link flawlessly.

Ipod nano links to iPhone, links to iPad, links to iWatch, links to iHeadphones(wireless).

These devices can each inter-operate and offer a variety of features currently unavailable in a single device.

Nairda
14th February, 2013 @ 08:34 pm PST

Actually, it already exists - the 6th gen ipod nano... there are already watch bands for it.

0p3nsrc
28th February, 2013 @ 08:27 am PST

How quaint.

Apple has become so 2011.

Give me Google Glass.

Tim Tobish
7th May, 2013 @ 10:03 pm PDT
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