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2/10/2013
08:44 PM
Eric Zeman
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Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense

Apple is reportedly developing a wearable product that features its iOS operating system and curved glass. Watch out, Pebble.

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Apple is experimenting with a watch or smartwatch, report both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The papers suggest the device will feature curved glass, will run Apple's iOS platform and will be compatible with the iPhone.

It's about time.

Last fall, when Apple introduced its holiday device lineup, many people hoped (myself included) the company would update the sixth generation iPod Nano so that it would be more than just a small media player and become a full-on smartwatch. The sixth-gen iPod Nano was small, square, and could be worn like a watch with the right accessory. It could play music, slideshows, audiobooks, podcasts, as well as tune in an FM radio station, log workouts, and, of course, show the time.

To graduate from glorified media player to true smartwatch, the sixth-gen iPod Nano needed just a few more features, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. It also needed some apps to make it play nicely with the iPhone.

Instead, Apple canned the form factor altogether. The seventh-generation iPod Nano is an entirely new product that would not be used as anything other than a media player. Many people were disappointed (again, myself included), seeing their Apple-made smartwatch dreams go up in a puff of smoke.

Here we are five months later, and today's reports from the Times and Journal, thin though they are, have revived those dreams. The sources for these stories, who are of course the anonymous type, say Apple has been working with Foxconn, its manufacturing partner, on the watch. Other than "curved glass" and "iOS," there's not much to go on. Apple has hired people who have backgrounds in sensors and related technology. And display and glass technologies have improved by leaps and bounds in recent years.

Apple declined to comment on both stories, and of course has not hinted that any such product is under development. The only thing Apple has said about the future is that its product pipeline is "chock full of exciting stuff."

Apple could make waves in the smartwatch category because the competition is thin. Pebble is the smart(ish)watch of the day, thanks to its Kickstarter back story. It recently began shipping last month. Sony and Motorola also both have smartwatches that work in conjunction with their Android smartphones. Given the popularity of Apple's iPhone, a smartwatch that could easily sync with it and do things such as show messages or missed calls, could be a killer accessory.

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lhinek935
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lhinek935,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/12/2013 | 2:08:50 AM
re: Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense
This will be interesting. Apple will have the best interface, easiest to use features in this devise. Apple has patented a solar charging that is incorporated on the screen which is intriguing. Apple will figure out features that we want but we don't know now. The future is going to be great.
NG11209
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NG11209,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 10:02:39 PM
re: Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense
For me to add another device to my stable, I have to get something out of it that I don't get from my smartphone, iPad, Kindle, etc. I'm sure there's something that a watch form factor can deliver that those devices can't G the question is whether Apple can identify and deliver it.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2013 | 9:29:43 PM
re: Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense
Can I wind it up like my watch and never need to buy expensive batteries? An iWatch is yet another pointless toy that the world does not need.
FritzNelson
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FritzNelson,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 7:52:18 PM
re: Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense
Almost anything that I could imagine being done in a watch already happens, for the most part, on a phone. However, if they can stuff all of the main functions into a smaller device, which I could take to the grocery store, or to exercise, or into a meeting, there might be some usefulness. I like what Jeff AB says the Pebble does, but if that watch can also be a pulse oximeter, a pedometer and a GPS, as well as accept and respond to voice commands, play music, and even route phone calls and bring up calendar information . . . maybe. Dare I say: can I also have a digital wallet (probably asking too much)? Can its battery be semi-powered via solar?
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 7:46:12 PM
re: Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense
In a related story... "sources say Apple thought to be working on project to resurrect the infamous Dick Tracy. Sources say DT to be booked for future promo work on yet to be named products. Stayed tuned for further updates"...
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 7:43:38 PM
re: Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense
But.... will it tell you what time it is?
jimbo0117
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jimbo0117,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 5:53:57 PM
re: Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense
I can't wait for the subdermal iChip to be released to help Apple track and control all of the iSheep.
Jeff AB
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Jeff AB,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 5:42:59 PM
re: Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense
Well Paul Travis, the Pebble for instance, which is not vapor ware, will actually show you the contents of the email/ text message and display the caller id of anyone calling. So you don't need to take out your phone to see what it says. And given that the pebble is programmable, I am sure it will not be long before you can do a quick reply text or email for short answers. Also you can control music playing on your phone, who knows what else will be developed for it.

A huge benefit is that it works with Androids, as well as the iPhone, something that an Apple version will undoubtedly fail at.
Paul_Travis
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Paul_Travis,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2013 | 4:36:49 PM
re: Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense
I'm not sure why these devices are called smartwatches other than they are worn on the wrist. Fewer and fewer people are buying and wearing watches these days, and anybody with a smartphone doesn't need a watch to find out what the time is. I am not sure what purpose these smartwatches will serve other than to alert you when you have mail, so you can then go and look at your phone or tablet. But I hope they come up with something I can't imagine that will thrill and delight me. Paul Travis, InformationWeek
Jeff AB
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Jeff AB,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 4:22:07 PM
re: Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense
The fact that you call Pebble a "Smart(ish)" watch shows how laughable your opinion actually is. There is nothing that a Pebble cannot do that one should actually want it to do. Some people have said it should have had a microphone and speaker so you could use Siri through it, but that would just be stupid, I doubt that even Apple would make such a ridiculous decision.

David B is correct, it will probably cost $500, its battery life will be too short (There is a reason that the iPod Nano wasn't given bluetooth, a gps and wifi). They will probably make it a Retina display which is unnecessary.

Biggest issue with an Apple smart watch - It will be Apple and therefore come with all of the limitations that every Apple product comes with.

Do yourself a favor, save $350, get a smart watch that has all the features you will need, not want but need, and has a battery that lasts a week with heavy use.
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