Do you remember the concepts mooted when the original iPhone rumor first surfaced? And do you remember seeing the iPhone for the first time and laughing at the pictures splashed all over the magazines a week before launch of a white phone with a jog-wheel? It’s happening again, only this time with the iWatch.
Over at Mashable they have a gallery of concept iWatchii (plural of iWatch) while the New York Times goes into the specifics of the rumor and how curved glass (made by Corning and called ‘Willow Glass’) may very well makes its way onto your wrist soon. But the problem I have with these rumors is that we are talking about an Apple product here. And Apple loves to disrupt.
Now Apple has made several applications to trademark the brand iWatch, adding to the speculation that they could soon launch its first new category of product since Cook took over the reigns from Jobs.
At the same time, Apple has hired Paul Deneve, who has just resigned as the Chief Exec of fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, and whose experience in luxury goods may also be of use in the development and marketing of a new smart watch.
Disruptors on full
Why would Apple make something that is essentially another Pebble, or Sony SmartWatch? Wearable technology is coming fast and furious to the consumer market and what Apple is working on is not a watch but the next generation of mobile phone technology. Right now the humble phone has changed from simply a communications device into a mobile portal to global connectivity but the chance to disrupt that space again is approaching.
Apple can split the mobile communication functions from the device itself and embed it into wearable tech, like an iWatch.
He’s dead, Tim!
The mobile phone form factor as it is today is dying. Nobody really wants screen real-estate in a device we talk into, it’s senseless and unnecessary. If you can control the actual communications functionality, make calls, compose quick SMS or email messages, and interface with Siri to do it all without actually holding on to the device itself then why wouldn’t you?
Your iPad/ Mini, Galaxy or Phablet (God, I hate that term) will become the mobile computing platform of choice but the phone functionality itself will be missing from them because you’ll be wearing it on your wrist or woven into the fabric of the clothes you wear. The watch screen is large enough to reveal message updates, caller ID and the dimensions compact enough to house enough tech to work it independently of the host (e.g. in Apple’s case, an iPad).
Now go a step further and add other wearables like Google Glass/ Vuzix. The iWatch now acts as a pointing device for you to interact with the AR HUD display before your eyes. Those tech visions of Minority Report aren’t that far away. Last year Apple filed patents for displays that sit over the eye and stream information to the retina for example.
We’ve become obsessed lately of how thin, pretty, and powerful a mobile phone should be but in reality it’s not the phone at all that we’re making reference to, those functions are utterly simplistic and I believe Apple knows this.
The iWatch isn’t just about controling apps from your wrist or powering the self-quantified movement. The iWatch is the next evolution of iPhone.