Rumors are circulating today that Apple is working with Intel on a Bluetooth wearable device that many have dubbed the “iWatch” and depending on who you’re reading it is coming either very soon (like this month) or next year. Either way, this could be Apple’s “next big thing” that will change how we work and live.
In the “it’s coming, but not right now” camp is Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster who seems to be right in step with most folks in that we’ll be wearing more devices in the future and that Apple is working on something, but the timing is a little farther away than many of us would like:
“We believe that longer term (over the next 10+ years), wearable computers could eventually replace the iPhone and smartphones in general.”
“We believe technology could progress to a point where consumers have a tablet plus wearable computers, like watches or glasses, that enable simple things like voice calls, texting, quick searches, navigation, etc. through voice control.”
Via: Business Insider
I think Gene Munster is right about devices like the iWatch replacing smartphones as we use them now. I could certainly imagine a time when we wear our communications device that is also connected to something iPad mini or “phablet” sized we carry around that we use for the rest of things a smartphone does for us now. I also think that time isn’t so far off, much less than 10 years, probably closer to 5. But as far as the first generation iWatch (as folks are calling it), I’m not sure about a CES-timed launch, but first half of 2013 does make sense to me:
Rumor has it Apple is working on a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled smart watch and could even launch the device as early as the first half of this year. This is according to the latest rumor originating from supply chain sources in China. There isn’t much to back up the report’s claim that Intel is collaborating with Apple on the device (perhaps Intel has competitive mobile chips on the way? Or the whole thing might be B.S.), but there is a lot going for the prospect of an Apple smart watch in 2013.
Jordan’s post on 9to5Mac goes into great depth about the things that are needed for an iWatch to come about, but really all we need to look at is the success of the Pebble Kickstarter project which demonstrated that people do want a small device that can interact with a smartphone. Apple surely took notice of the Pebble’s success, and assuming that they have a raft of crazy idea at the prototyping stage at any given time, could have green lit to fast track an iWatch into more rapid development.
There are a bunch of prototype/concept images floating around of what an iWatch would look like. I don’t think that the first version will have a camera, but I do think it will serve as a heads up display for calls, emails, reminders, etc. It might include a microphone and speaker, but I’m not sure we’re quite ready for the Dick Tracy wrist phone, maybe the iWatch would come with a simple Bluetooth headset for calls.
All of this is speculation, however, hinges on one key factor—us. Would we buy and wear a watch that will probably clock in at over $100 (easy) that connects to our iPhone?
That’s a question I leave to you to discuss below…
iWatch concept image by Anders Kjellberg