How exactly could Apple re-invent the smart watch?
Wearable technology is nothing new. Today we have Google Glass, Pebble and several other smart watches, medical devices like insulin pumps, Bluetooth headsets, and more. Taking a step back, we’ve had watches that tell us the time, the date, and the day of the week. Some even had built-in calculators, calendars, altimeters, and barometers. Historically, we’ve generally placed our technology in our pockets (smartphones and pocket watches, for example), or we’ve worn them on our wrists. It’s only recently that tech has started to make its way to our faces.
It stands to reason that the wrist has been a universally accepted place for this technology because it offers both utility and flexibility, along with ergonomics. As such, using history as our guide, it’s just as likely that the wrist will continue to be the hub of wearable technology as we head into the future.
An Apple Smart Watch
Recent rumors tell us that Apple is working on a smart watch. We’ve seen conceptualizations of what an iWatch might look like, but we don’t know exactly what it will look like, or what it will do to set itself apart from the other smart watches on the market today.
Other rumors indicate that Apple may build a solar panel into the face of the watch and supplement that with kinetic charging as well. Every time your iWatch is exposed to light it would charge. For every step you take and every swing of your arm, it would charge. If these rumors are true, either Apple plans on installing a ridiculously small battery in the device, or it’s going to need some serious juice to power it. Pebble is a fairly full-functioned smart watch, and its battery lasts an entire week between charges. Why then would Apple’s need so much supplemental power?
Health and Fitness
A watch has to tell the time. It should also know what day it is, as well as the day of the week. A “smart” watch has to do more. It’s got to talk to your phone or tablet and bring notifications to your wrist. It’s got to be able to control your music or video player, too. And, lest we forget, you’ve got to be able to customize its face. But all of those are pretty much universally available in smart watches that you can buy today. Apple can’t just do those things, they’ve got to innovate, and do something that other smart watches don’t.
The answer? Health and fitness!
Biometrics and sensors and likely going to play a key role in Apple’s smart watch — once it finally lands. Over the last several months, Apple has hired numerous health-related professionals to its staff. There aren’t that many health peripherals on the market today, and the few that are typically require you to wear them around your chest, under your clothing — not very comfortable or very stylish!
Some rumors are pointing out that the iWatch will be able to monitor your heart rate, sleep quality, steps taken, and even measure your glucose — perhaps even read your blood/oxygen levels. Add to that the ability to control your music, and you’ve got the perfect workout companion!
Other than being able to control your media, the iWatch will need to integrate with other iOS features and functionality. Displaying an incoming caller’s name and photo, displaying alerts of new mail, upcoming calendar events, and more are obviously a no-brainer.
What else should it do? How about helping you get from point A to point B by on-wrist mapping? Potential FaceTime integration — with your phone in your pocket — to see who you’re talking to, and carry on a conversation with them face to face, via your wrist would certainly push the iWatch over the top.
Ultimately though, the iWatch is going to be more about convenience and integration. It’s going to re-invent the entire smart watch category, and bring fitness and health tracking to the forefront of your iOS experience.
What about you?
What do you think Apple has in store for its rumored iWatch? What features do you want to see? What do you think is “too much” to cram into a 1.5-inch square on your wrist? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Image credits: LunaTik, Nike