What If Apple’s (Rumored) ‘iWatch,’ Isn’t A Watch At All? – [OPINION]

What If Apple’s (Rumored) ‘iWatch,’ Isn’t A Watch At All? – [OPINION]


We have to admit, as avid fans of the Pebble smartwatch, an “iWatch”(if done ‘right’) – would certainly make our personal wish list for things we would like to see Apple announce next.

But, what if Apple’s reported “iWatch” … isn’t a watch at all?

There are a couple of different possibilities in our eyes:

1. The ‘iWatch’ Video/Television Service

Future technology is hard to predict, and even harder to make a case for when it comes down to justifying its ‘usefulness’ in potential real-life situations. That said, if we were to shift our thinking from presuming that Apple’s ‘iWatch’ refers to a “wrist”-based device with a similar form-factor to the watches we know today, for just a second, we may also begin to speculate that there is at least more to the “iWatch” than current reports would have us believe.

Case and point: What else do we use our eyes to watch? – That’s right , the television. One possibility is that the internet-coined ‘iWatch’ may actually be another name for Apple’s reported reinvention of the TV. While this reinvention is eventually expected to arrive as a “hardware” upgrade to the existing Apple TV – (possibly turning it into a full-blown TV ‘set’) – innovation takes time, and Apple may, (in the interim), choose to introduce a visual overhaul to its TV-connected device, via a major “software” upgrade.

At the end of August 2011, VentureBeat noted that Apple was “almost certainly” working on a digital based television set scheduled for launch sometime in the future, and that the device – (when launched) – would be running a version of the company’s iOS mobile operating system.

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The report noted:

“Apple is almost certainly working on a digital television based on its iOS operating system, according to multiple sources in Silicon Valley.”

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Recently, though, talk of Apple’s television set has subsided in favor for reports relating to a possible update to the Apple TV’s core software. New content deals and partnerships with the biggest television networks in the U.S, and perhaps even a plan to add ‘live’ TV into the mix – (through a subscription, of course).

In August 2012, just a year later, Apple reportedly won the rights to 29 awarded patents relating to “The Future Vision For Cable TV (And DVR) Services” – perhaps further confirming Apple’s vision to initially enhance its TV offering via software, rather than hardware.

Earlier that year, former Apple CEO and PEPSI Chief Executive, John Sculley spilled his own thoughts on Apple reinventing the television, by saying:

“I think that Apple has revolutionised every other consumer industry, why not television?” — “I think that televisions are unnecessarily complex. The irony is that as the pictures get better and the choice of content gets broader, that the complexity of the experience of using the television gets more and more complicated.”

“So it seems exactly the sort of problem that if anyone is going to change the experience of what the first principles are, it is going to be Apple.”

While we would assume the term “iWatch” would be far too obvious for Apple to run with on a marketing basis for the final product in this instance, it could be considered a sort of internal “codename” for the project – (that is, if it actually exists).

2. A Curved-Glass Arm Device

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The second possibility is that the “iWatch” is not a conventional watch as we know it, today, but rather a sort of ‘extended screen’ that – (due to recent advances in the technology responsible for the curvature of glass screens) – it wouldn’t be entirely out of the question to presume would physically wrap around the middle part of a user’s arm.

Just yesterday, in fact, Mashable reported that Apple has won rights to a number of patents in the U.S covering the future use of ‘curved’ battery technology, which it says could “strengthen the case” for the iWatch‘s imminent debut.

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This theory essentially involves you suspending your idea of the “iWatch” as being a “wrist” device for a second, and instead forces you to entertain the idea that the device may arrive in a more “unconventional” form — after all, this is Apple’s usual style.

The device would likely provide most, (if not all), of the functionality iOS does – today, giving users full access to video-on-demand services, (and potentially, live TV services), web surfing capabilities, and more.

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That last one sounds like the stuff of science-fiction, and in our eyes — it’ll have to be. During his interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at AllThingsD’s D11 conference, recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared to home-in on wearable technology and the future of Apple operating in this space.

While he didn’t give too much away on Apple’s future plans in this space, (at least, on the face of it), one quote from the interview stuck with us long after watching it – and it might, in turn, sum up Apple’s current outlook on what it feels it “has” to announce in the wearable market, in order for this second device to be an eventual success.

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“There’s nothing that’ll convince a kid that has never worn glasses or a band to wear one,” he said.

And there, lies the problem.

How do you convince someone to wear something on their [insert body part here], all of the time? – Smartwatches are cool for those who are interested in technology, granted — but, the general public? … Well, the analysts say that people have moved on from the ‘watch,’ instead nowadays relying on mobile devices, like the iPhone, to provide them with their cursory glance at the current time.

Our personal belief is that Apple really wants to create that device. The device that everyone will wear because it’s just so indispensable to everyday life.

But, they also want to get it right.

It won’t replace the iPhone because this secondary device will most likely be demoted to acting as a ‘slave,’ tethered (perhaps, almost permanently) via Bluetooth, and relying solely on its big brother (the iPhone) to provide it with the core functionality goodies, like notifications, and visual alerts.

Whether or not that device is in Apple’s immediate future – is unclear. However, taking just a brief look at the company’s press invite for this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, (and its heavy focus on roman numerals), we certainly wouldn’t rule it out entirely – just yet.

/ Image Credit: CiccareseDesign