Apple iWatch Features and Functions
Update - April 21, 2014
Nike's layoff last week of many FuelBand Watch development and marketing employees seems to indicate that their Hi-Tech FuelBand Watch is on it's last ticks.
The one person who had to know about this in advance is Tom Cook since he sits on Apple's board. This seems to bring up a set of ethical questions.
1 - If Nike is exiting the market, it seems logical that Apple would be curious to see if Nike learned anything that Apple doesn't already know regarding the market. And as a director, what responsibility does Cook have to advise the company on iWatch types of decisions.
2 - If Nike is getting out of the market because Cook has told them Apple is releasing the much speculated iWatch, what has taken them so long? After all Cook went on the Apple board in November of 2005. This scenario seems to also bring up a whole passel of additional questions about fiduciary responsibilities on both sides
3 - The third scenario, and I think the most obvious, is the one where everybody wins. That is simply that Apple and Nike work together on the iWatch on some non-trivial level.
What number 3 tells me is that Apple is getting closer to a release date and they are cleaning up loose ends. If (m)any of the ex-Nike folks end up at Apple, folks will be wearing the $275 iWatch for Christmas.
The iPhone will be the parent ship for the iWatch
The iWatch - What and When
What will be the hot item next year for the guy or gal who has everything? I’m talking about the techie who got his first iPod over a decade ago -- back in November 2001. The iPod then morphed through the compact Shuffle, the Nano, the Video, the Touch, and of course, the Classic with its 160 Gigabyte storage capacity.
As the iPod evolved, the iPhone came online in the summer of 2007. By this time, Apple knew we would have to have one so there was no reason to include all those new features into the mature iPod product line. The iPhone would perform most all of the critical iPod apps with the addition of the mobile phone capability and with a bigger screen. The iPhone followed the iPod evolution and by the fall of 2012 we were seeing the iPhone 5 (actually the sixth generation of the iPhone) with the 5s scheduled this summer.
True to form, Apple had the next product waiting in the wings. The iPad was released to the screaming consumers in the spring of 2010. It did everything the iPhone did plus much more with the larger display.
It is fair to say that Apple created the tablet market with the iPad. Apple took orders for over 300,000 iPads the day the product was released. At the end of the first month, the number was over one million. Apple later revealed that it took the company twice that time to sell the same number of the original first generation iPhones.
All that was just about three years ago and the driving question is; what’s next?
Wrist devices are certainly hot items in a very vertical and narrow market. Jawbone Inc. and Nike Inc. are working the activity-monitoring space for runners and trainers.
Pebble Technology Corp., a new startup operation (with Kickstarter backing) has developed a watch that will talk to your mobile devices via Bluetooth. This gives you the ability to react to notifications such as CallerID, Email, SMS, Facebook Messages, Twitter, etc., and of course, you can also see what time it is!
So can an iWatch be Apple’s next must have device? Certainly not if you define the market by what exists today -- which Apple never has. Apple needs to be able to create a market that will snap up a million devices before it even makes sense. Apple’s culture is to create the market, not fill a market need.
Pebble Technology Watch
Functions and Features
I see Apple as looking at the iWatch functionally as an extension to the iPhone and iPad and possibly to Android devices as well. Interdevice communication would be via Bluetooth. It would have its own voice recognition and playback capability along with sensors for vibration, absolute positioning, body temperature and possibly pulse and blood pressure. Solar and kinetic energy charging along with Apple’s version of induction or wireless battery charging... And, it could support downstream iWatch apps. Feature wise, there are hundreds of new features for the new iWatch wearer. What their value is to each consumer is another question.
- Complete hands free control of your iPhone/iPad (iPiP) excluding visualizations
- Stealth notifications.
- Notification if you get out of range of your (iPiP). No more leaving home without your phone.
- Detecting pre set limits of elevated pulse rate or blood pressure
- Cardiac biometric recognition for individual security systems
- Wireless induction based battery charging
- NFC chip capability to help pay for your latte at Paneras.
Timing is the big question. There is probably one big question that will decide when you can strap one on. If Apple decides (or has decided) the curved glass device is not required for the first generation device, then look for the iWatch to be available for Christmas present this year. If they decide the product has to be the ultimate device with the curved glass then prepare for a wait until Christmas 2014 or maybe even 2015. The development costs for the curved glass device are hefty as are the payoffs if successful. My guess is that the first device will not be curved glass since it gives Apple the opportunity to evaluate the market acceptance of the concept and the functionality of the device before giving us the ultimate product.
I am saving my money for this year’s iWatch.