Anyone familiar with rumors about Apple is more than familiar with the iWatch, even though as of now it doesn’t exist. The rumored wearable device has been talked about since late 2012 and the rumors have only grown since then.
There have been some entries into the smart watch category already with the Pebble and the offerings from Samsung and Sony, but so far all of these have failed to impress. This places Apple in the same position they were when the first iPad was launched, with the ability to come out with a device that blows the others out of the water and redefines an entire category. Could the iWatch be a reality in 2014? Let’s see.
Before getting into the technology behind a possible iWatch, some history is in order. Back in December of 2012 rumors started flying about a possible iWatch from Apple. The Chinese blog Tech163.com reported that Apple was working with Intel on a watch that runs iOS.
This is the first credible rumor of the existence of an iWatch, but step back to 2011 with the 6th generation iPod Nano and the watch accessories that 3rd party manufacturers sold and it’s easy to see that the iWatch has been in everyone’s minds for quite a while.
Jump ahead now to February 2013 and there are reports that Apple is working with Corning, the iPhone glass manufacturer on using flexible glass for wearable devices. The mythical device is said to use a technology like this to give a unique look that would separate it from every other wearable device available today.
Finally, there have been multiple patent applications and patents awarded to Apple for numerous pieces of technology from flexible displays to curved batteries. This is where rumors start to gain some ground and some patent talk is in order.
What The iWatch Needs To Survive
The iWatch needs to do three basic things to be a hit. The reason no smart watch has been a success yet is because none of the current models hit all three points. The first smart watch to hit these three successfully will surely be a huge success.
- It Has To Be Fashionable – For any smart watch to survive, it needs to look good. Phones are beautifully crafted pieces of technology, but they don’t need to hold up to standard fashion cues because people don’t see it all the time. It lives in cases, pockets, and purses waiting to be used. A watch however is always visible so it needs to look, well, good. Nobody wants a small phone strapped to his or her wrist.
- It Must Be Compelling – The second must-have for a winning smart phone is that it must be a compelling piece of technology. This means that it must have simple, engaging features that everyone will want to use. If Apple wants to aim the iWatch at the entire iPhone community, then the fitness and phone features must not only be easy to use, they need to make us WANT to use them!
The device needs to interact with more than just an iPhone, too. While viewing callers, adjusting audio tracks and volume, and seeing emails and text are great, the way Apple will really win is to have it work with everything Apple.
- It Has To Be Durable – The iPhone isn’t known for its durability by a long shot. Smartphones as a whole are scratched easily, break with a good drop, and rarely survive a run-in with a liquid. Watches are generally abused and have to be able to live through everything that happens to the outside of your wrist. If the iWatch gives up the ghost the first time you wash your hands, it’s not going to be too popular.
Above this, the battery needs to be durable as well. It’s not a big deal to charge your phone during the day or in your car on the way home, but users will get tired of taking their watch off to charge it during the day pretty quickly.
Why It’s Likely Soon
With Apple executives wearing technology like the FuelBand and a team or possibly 100 Apple employees working on the project, some results need to be seen, and soon. Tim Cook told all Apple employees via a year-end email that big things were in store for 2014 and that Apple would be moving into new product categories, something they haven’t done since the iPad.
Could one of these categories be the iWatch? The time is right for Apple to dominate a new category of technology and to finally take those big steps out from under Steve Jobs’ shadow. With the patents Apple now has, and technology where it needs to be, Apple is primed and ready for this.
Pair with this the huge wearable fitness technology category that has been growing with the Fitbit and FuelBand and you have the perfect storm for Apple to release into.
More than one site has purportedly known for sure when the iWatch was being released and so far nobody has gotten it right. We mentioned this in both our 2012 as well as our 2013 wrap-up posts, but could this really be the time it comes out.
Apple rumors are nothing if not obdurate, so expect this one to hang around until Apple finally releases the product we all know is coming, the iWatch.