In Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO is quoted as saying that he finally “cracked the code” of an Apple TV set. “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,” Isaacson quoted Jobs. “I finally cracked it.” What if Jobs’ secret was Apple’s rumored smartwatch? And what if that secret involved hands-free 3D gesture control?
Not long ago, the internet was abuzz with rumors of an Apple smartwatch (iWatch?). Most of us have been focusing on the wearable device as an extension of an iPhone. Flexible touchscreen, voice control, and some version of iOS. Think Pebble on Cupertino-made steroids.
Gesture control, Apple-style
But what if that was only half of the iWatch equation? What if – like the MYO armband device we reported on today – the smartwatch also opened the door to 3D gestures? What if you could use the iWatch to control a Mac, iPhone, iPad, and – ahem – a TV with a wave of the hand?
iWatch gesture control could be that “simplest user interface you could imagine.” Unlike Kinect, it wouldn’t require a bulky sensor sitting atop your TV set. A built-in accelerometer and gyroscope (and perhaps muscle-sensing technology like MYO?) transmitting information to the TV would be all it would need.
My imagined version of the iWatch could also control the TV via touch or voice. Take your pick: to bring up the latest episode of Game of Thrones, you could a) wave your hand and point your finger, b) ask Siri, or c) tap and swipe a few times on your wrist.
Apple would naturally make sure it syncs with all Apple – and only Apple – devices. It’s a two-fold victory: it makes the entire Apple ecosystem more appealing, and it enhances customer lock-in.
Perhaps I’m looking too much into an old quote. Perhaps Jobs was talking about something else entirely. Perhaps content licensing obstacles have ground Jobs' TV dream to a halt.
... but if Apple is developing a wearable wrist-based device and it doesn’t include some kind of 3D gesture control, perhaps it should.