Why Apple is working on ‘iWatch,’ not ‘iGlasses’

“Why an iWatch and not iGlasses?” Nick Bilton asks for The New York Times. “In my column on Monday I reported that Apple was experimenting with a computer that could wrap around a person’s wrist. Some readers asked why the company, which is clearly experimenting with wearable computing, wouldn’t just make a pair of augmented-reality glasses instead?”

“The best way to answer that question is to look at the company’s Trackpad,” Bilton explains. “At first the mouse pad was given multitouch, then the large button was made slimmer, then the button went away, but the entire mouse pad became clickable. Today, it’s just a flat multitouch square.”

Bilton offers, “Apple will do the same thing with its foray into wearable computing. The wrist is not a scary place for consumers to add their first computer… Although five or 10 years from now we could well be walking around with Apple glasses on our faces, the company’s first push into this world of wearables will be through the wrist.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
WSJ: Apple testing ‘iWatch’ device – February 11, 2013
iWatch: Apple developing curved-glass smart watch, sources say – February 11, 2013
Tog: The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem – February 7, 2013
Why Apple should hang-up on the iPhone, iWear is next – January 6, 2013
Analyst sees wearable computers from Apple as future replacement for iPhone – January 2, 2013
Apple and Intel secretly building Bluetooth smartwatch that connects to your iOS devices, say sources – December 27, 2012
Apple patent application details display-integrated cellular antennas – May 6, 2012
Apple patent app details next-gen microstrip cellular antenna for future MacBooks, iWatch and beyond – October 25, 2011

66 Comments

  1. Watch “The Jerk.” You’ll see glasses aren’t the future of anything but games. I have a problem with the watch. Why do I want to stop wearing my fine (insert brand name) watch(es) to put an iWatch on my wrist instead? I thought Dick Tracy speaking to his watch was cool….. In 1965. Today, talking to your watch makes you look like a security guard. So to be a customer, this watch needs to out-brand my (brand name) watches of today that cost (insert hundreds, thousands) of (dollars, euros). Everybody that loves designer brand names has an iPhone and or iPad. But the watch? That’s a new story. I hope this isn’t technology for technology’s sake.

  2. Can we please kill this rumour?

    I can see it’s not going to go away and now the media is going to beat this to death for the next 2 years. Link whores.

    THERE IS NO IWATCH! The whole concept is ridiculous. Nobody is going to replace their large screen smartphone for a tiny, wrist based watch. It’s ridiculous! And input a major problem. And having to pair your phone with it? Now 2 devices?

    And try holding your arm up to your face in this weird way to interact with your watch.

    Nobody wears watches anymore, and this makes no sense. We’ll have smartphones for the next several years. They’re going to continue to get thinner and lighter with better battery life. Eye scrolling is the most likely new tech to hit them. And Siri will continue to evolve. After we’re done with multi-touch as a paradigm, we’ll move to augmented reality like wearable glasses. But Apple will deliver this technology in a way that is better than anyone else and less obtuse.

    THERE IS NO IWATCH other than blowhards like the pebble guys and other hipsters who want something for running or snowboarding (sports applications). It’s nowhere near mass market.

    This is disinformation from Apple to keep competitors distracted.

    1. I wear a watch, but on the inside of my wrist, like many pilots. Means you don’t have to remove your hand from the yoke to grab a glance when flying an approach in shitty weather. Nice seiko titanium. Clear display, light weight, and pretty indestructible. It’s actually a requirement to wear one. Not sure an iWatch would work in that situation. On the other hand it might be brilliant…. We will just have to wait and see…I’m not Tim Cooke’s pilot….
      Hmmmm… What about an Apple jet? Or Apple Heli? With Sir Jon designing it would probably be the coolest thing since Concorde…

  3. There is NO iWatch!

    Well, people saying long and hard enough that there would never be an iPad Mini brought that into existence. Might work a second time …

    But seriously, folks, WHY are watches out of favour? Because there’s no reason to carry something your cellphone already does for you. For a new wrist device to catch on, telling the time will have to be the very least of its capabilities. It may still be called a watch but it would not be a clock with a few extras. Just as a smartphone is not a phone with a few extras: it is a one-hand computer that happens to also make calls. Or a two-hand computer if it is a recent Samsung model (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    But glasses? People all over the world put pieces of plastic in their eyes, or have lasers shot into them so they won’t have to wear glasses. Now we are all going to wear them in order to be served with Google ads? (Can’t take the credit for that argument, heard it on a podcast somewhere). Google glasses will be the new pocket protectors. Only the geekiest will be seen dead wearing them.

  4. There are a lot of people walking around, seemingly with perfect vision, but they are really wearing contacts, or they had laser surgery. There are also a lot of people walking around who seem to be wearing simple glasses, who are really wearing progressive lenses instead of bifocals or trifocals. Presbyopia sets in as early as age 25 and if you use a computer much, you need trifocals or progressive lenses with a middle range. Progressive lenses are very expensive and it takes a week or two to get them, even at those glasses-in-an-hour places.

    If you wear glasses, as I have since the sixth grade, sunglasses that aren’t clip-ons and 3D glasses aren’t worth the effort. If Apple does make something like iGlasses, the market will be limited to the under 25 set. Now you may say, “That’s okay, I’m 23 and I wear contacts,” but unless you suffer an untimely demise, the day will come when contacts don’t hack it, and your iGlasses will remain on the shelf, unused.

  5. Has anyone thought out what it would be like to buy iGlasses?

    You go to the Apple Store, into a dark room in the back to get a vision test from an optician, an iDoctor. Then you spend an hour you picking out your frames from a couple hundred possibilities. The Apple iGenius fetches your single-vision lenses (different for each eye) from their huge inventory of standard lenses in the back, tells you to come back in an hour while the iLensCutter cuts the lenses to fit the frames. That’s the best case. What if you’ve been having trouble reading or using your computer? The iDoctor determines from tests that you need bifocals or trifocals. If you think they’d make you look like a geezer, you’d opt for progressives. Either way, they have to send out for bifocals, trifocals, or progressives. They have to be custom made. If you opted for progressives, that adds about $700 to the cost and you have to wait a week or two. If you have never worn progressives before, make you feel dizzy for about two or three weeks, and some people cannot get used to them at all. You take them back to the Apple Store. They throw away the progressive lenses and you have to wait another week or so for regular trifocals–bifocals don’t give you the middle range you need for computers. iGlasses won’t be returnable, they will be very expensive, and you might not find frames that fit the shape of your face and the color of your hair and complexion.

    Does anyone think that scenario is profitable for Apple? Wearing glasses over glasses is no solution, and I can’t imagine iClipOns.

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