Does a smartwatch make sense in the new world of smartphones and tablets? Does anyone even wear a watch anymore? Readers weigh in.

Tom LaSusa, Contributor

February 19, 2013

5 Min Read

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As the rumors continue to swirl around the alleged Apple iWatch, and similar devices from other vendors, I keep glancing down at my wrist, trying to recall the last time I had a tan line from a watch band. When I first got a pager somewhere around 1990 (there I go, dating myself), I unceremoniously dumped my wristwatch into the top drawer of my dresser and it never saw the light of day again.

To me, a watch seems like an outdated fashion accessory, relegated to politicians and my 79-year-old mother (no offense, Mom, or any government officials reading this). These days almost everyone has a smartphone, tablet or some device in hand, most of which display the time of day somewhere in the upper left or right corner. Heck, my twin boys can tell each other what time it is by checking it on their Nintendo DS devices. The Spider-Man watches we got for them a few years ago? In the top drawer of their dresser.

There are other factors to consider as well. Could such a device pack the processor punch that a smart device can? If not, then at best the iWatch will be a souped-up iPod Nano strapped onto a wristband. Then there's the fact that the watch is going to be made of curved glass, so it's clearly going to be a more fragile device than we usually seen from Apple. And let's not forget Apple's track record with devices getting hot after frequent use. I don't know about you, but I can see some silly lawsuits stemming from claims of burns and cuts.

[ Curious? Read What Would an Apple Watch Do? ]

On the other hand, Apple could be designing the device with specific purposes in mind. Rumors are circulating that the iWatch could be used in healthcare and fitness, tracking patient stats or athletic performance. That I could see, although I would still be wary of its fragile design.

With all this in mind, I asked the audience of the InformationWeek Daily their thoughts on the proposed Apple iWatch. Maybe there are more wristwatch enthusiasts out there than I'm aware of. Or perhaps such a smart device could bring them back into fashion.

Sure enough, I was way off base on watch wearers being a "dying breed":

Chris J: "I wear a watch all the time. It stands up to the rigors and abuse of sailing and camping. It keeps running long (months/years) after the charge on my iPhone dies."

Annie B.: "I wear a gold Ebel watch every day of my life. It doesn't play music. It has no fun apps. It just tells time in a reliable fashion. And it looks good. When I want to know the time, I don't have to fumble for a device stored in my pocketbook. All I have to do is check my wrist, a discreet action when in a boring situation."

Nick W: "Spend a few minutes looking at wristwatch forums or the growing attendance at international wristwatch shows (Baselworld, SIHH, etc.) and you'll see that quite a number of us aren't looking at our mobile or any other device for the time. I suspect that telling the time is just about the last thing the iWatch is intended to do."

Art: "Stop by Barnes & Noble sometime. You'll find 6-8 monthly/quarterly Watch magazines. There are high-end watches that run over $100,000 (a few even go for 2-3 times this amount). I get the feeling that if the silicon guys can tie up with the high end watch makers (high tech plus high style), there could be enough profit to make the research possible."

Reader Bry pointed out that a watch allows for discretion and respect, especially in a business world:

"The only reason I wear a watch is that in the corporate world, it's a little more acceptable to glance down at your watch rather than drag out your phone and look at it. Perception is you're disengaged when you start looking at your phone."

Meanwhile Jeff's unfortunate experience also makes a good argument for not using a smartphone for checking the time:

"If you live in big cities where criminals grab and run off with iPhones and the like, you revert to wearing a watch. That is what I did after my iPhone was stolen out of my hand on a city street. For the first time in 15 years or more, I am now wearing a watch to tell time and minimize taking out my iPhone on city streets."

Bill S. , however, remained unconvinced that the world needs an iWatch:

"I am baffled as to the reason for the iWatch. My iPod Nano (previous version) is fantastic as a watch, pedometer, FM radio, etc. Plus, its design is always a conversation starter!

Michael B's main concern was battery life:

"My Casio watch has a ten year battery. My Fitbit runs for three weeks between charges. My Kindle e-reader runs for eight weeks between charges. My dumb-phone runs for three weeks between charges (I turn it off at night

Larry, however, was open to the possibilities:

"I agree with the trend you described, but what we also see is a nation of one-handed people. Smartphone in one hand, latte to go in the other and no way to unlock the office door. Of course, this could lead to voice-activated everything."

Great thoughts, everyone! So what's yours? What features must an iWatch have to make you buy one? Do you still wear a watch, or do you get all your time-telling needs from your smartphone? Share your opinions below

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