Recent rumors are suggesting that Apple has a new device in the works. Not another iMac, iPod, or iPhone, but a device you can wear. As it turns out, a smart watch or “iWatch” seems to be already in the works. Bloomberg reports that Apple already has a team of 100 employees working on such a device. Both Apple Insider and Patently Apple have now also reported that a patent application that was recently published for “an advanced wearable computer in the form of a bracelet that could double as a watch.”
Do I wear a watch? Nope. I haven’t had the need in years. My phone is never further than a reach away. My computer screen has a clock in the corner. I can not remember the last time figuring out the time was an obstacle. Would I buy a watch from Apple? It’s tough to say, but I can see a lot of potential. If anyone is good at convincing people they need a new gadget, it is Apple’s marketing team.
Apple would not be the first to market a smart watch. The Pebble watch which made its premiere on Kickstarter received nearly 69,000 backers and raised over $10M. After seeing the incredible success, it does appear that there is indeed a market for this type of device. Smart watches have also been gaining some popularity in the fitness industry. The Nike FuelBand and UP by Jawbone are just a couple examples of how they are being used.
What would an Apple made watch do? The more I think of it, there seem to be plenty of practical uses for it. The one thing I do not expect is for people to be making calls from their wrists. That is just silly. I would see the iWatch displaying information such as text messages, email notifications, or caller ID. It could have voice activation and integrate with Siri. The device could display navigation directions, information about the song currently playing, and I suppose it could display the time as well. Imagine using RunKeeper and having only to take a quick glance at your wrist to see your current pace, how far you’ve gone, etc. No need to pull your phone out of your pocket, swipe the lock screen and launch the app. I know, I know, first world problems, but you get the idea.
The tiny screen would bring all kinds of new possibilities for app developers. Developers would need to start planning for how their applications could benefit by using multiple screens simultaneously. Determining what types of content are displayed on the face of the device and when to display this content will need to be considered. Push notifications are an obvious choice to be displayed on the watch display, but the possibilities are endless.
Now, It’s probably not worth reading too much into this, because Apple has no fear of pulling the plug on a project at any time during the development cycle. But, based on recent rumors and the success of similar devices, I wouldn’t be surprised if we starting seeing the new wearable devices in the months to come. It’ll certainly be way more than a fancy timepiece.