Last month, we discussed Google Glass, another wearable technology. Unlike Google Glass, the iWatch hasn't launched yet, but rumors say that it will debut in October 2014, just in time for the holiday season. This is consistent with past Apple strategy, where new technology is launched for the consumer market, and when it matures and the kinks have been worked out, it is repositioned as a “corporate accessory” (a necessity in some cases).
Gadget fans should be happy to know that the investment is much less than Glass. Experts speculate that the iWatch will debut at $250-$299.
The watch runs on iOS, which is the same operating system as your iPhone or iPad. Apple is reportedly designing iOS 8 with iWatch in mind. The watch has a 4-5 day battery life and biometric sensors. Some reports indicate that iWatch will come with different screen sizes, up to 2.5 inches diagonally.
iWatch will perform some tasks independently, and for some, it be dependent on a compatible iOS device for functions like receiving messages, voice calls, and notifications. iWatch is also expected to feature wireless charging and mapping abilities. NFC (Near Field Communication) that allows wireless communication with other devices (e.g. Bluetooth) is also one of the expected features.
While the concept sounds interesting, I can’t imagine typing on an iWatch screen or reading meaningful data on its small screen. But I foresee voice recognition as a viable “input” to applications residing on the iWatch. Assuming Apple can improve its Voice Recognition technology (Siri), I can see some acceptance in Corporate America, for “input” sensitive applications with negligible “screen output” (how much readable text can you really cram into a 2.5 inch screen). But, if a future version of the watch can project hologram type of images to make more of readable text appear, I can see Corporate applications like email, usable mapping, intranet document access as a viable option. But without this projected image, I don’t see corporate America lining up in October 2014 outside Apple stores.
There are some conceptual drawings with larger screen sizes, but these drawings make this wearable technology more like women bracelets. Once again, I don’t see men accepting this look.
We have seen similar technology launches from Nike (Fuelband), Sony and Samsung. But I am yet to see many people using these products. However, Apple has been known to create right features with relevant marketing to attract consumers. Remember what happened with iPod. Other Mp3 players existed from various manufacturers for a while, but it wasn’t until iPod that portable mp3 players became a commodity. And then iPhones practically took over Blackberry devices.
I predict, at least until a hologram projector can be integrated, iWatch will remain a consumer domain gadget and not a corporate device. So I don’t think corporate IT staff need to worry about deploying and managing one more device in the near term.
What do you think?