Expectations from Apple's Smartwatch



The crescendo is picking up about the imminent launch of a watch from Apple - dubbed the iWatch. The noise is so much that Google has preemptively launched their wearables - specifically the watch. That gives them the bragging rights to launching the wearable OS first ( though you could technically point towards the pebble watch and other such precursors).

However, I don't like the way they are going about it. It seems like it is a mirroring of the functionality of the phone on the watch. So, you get all the notifications etc on the watch. That I think is the wrong approach.

What I would have liked is an extension of functionality.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

I would expect the phone and the watch to work in isolation without a need of the other.  Its like how the phone works independently of the laptop. So, if you are checking email on the phone, it does not require that your laptop be nearby.

Similarly, if you are wearing just the watch, I would expect that it work flawlessly without being dependent on the availability of the phone. Which means that the watch is more than just a timekeeping and a notification device.

Lets go over a few examples of what I think Apple will come out with. I am going to think from the perspective of different types of watch users.

The basic business user will have something similar to the current generation of Android watches. You will have beautiful watch faces - get ready to go wow - cause Apple really cares about how things look. So, I am pretty sure they would have already talked to the major watch makers and asked them for using the watch faces from certain iconic watches. Expect Swizz and German watch faces in addition to a few digital faces. This will get the notifications from the phone - e.g. new mail message ( dont expect to read it on the watch - I don't think Apple will think it a good user experience to read two words at a time), calendar events and alarms.

The next level of user is the sports enthusiast. I expect that Apple will partner with Nike for getting the Nike+ as part of the watch. So, now you can just go for a jog with the watch and it will use the Nike+ tech to track your runs, and once you are back within phone or laptop range, it will sync all the data with it so you can review it on a bigger screen. I also expect that the phone will have more sensors added to it like heart rate monitor, pulse monitor ( which means that we can potentially see a better strap which acts as a sensor - and also cause angst among the users as they wont be able to change it ). Already as per the rumor mill, apple has basketball athetes ( and probably others) testing the watch. I hardly expect such professionals to carry a phone along with the watch - so that why I think that the watch can work independently.

The 3rd user I think that the watch will cater to are for health reasons. As stated above, I expect the watch to have different biometric sensors - and hence it will be a boon to patients. Also with the WWDC'14 seeing the launch of APIs specifically for health, I expect that the APIs also tie in with the watch in some way. So the watch becomes a measuring instrument and passes on the data to the phone, which in turn will enable doctors to monitor the patients.

I pretty much predict that these things are going to come from Apple. For me it makes sense that Apple will look at the watch not just as time or notification device, but push the boundaries of a sensing device. 

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