Apple’s iWatch will measure far more than time

“Apart from looking cool, how would Apple’s watch really be different than a Timex? What new functions might it perform that create value for consumers? I’ve seen much less investigation of these sorts of questions. However, one doesn’t need to be Dick Tracy — the comic strip detective with a penchant for futuristic wrist-watch gadgets — to note clues to the answer,” H. James Wilson writes for Harvard Business Review. “Using evidence and a bit of logic, I bet the iWatch will be much less a time piece and much more platform for auto-analytics and managing yourself.”

“Complexity is one of the key challenges facing users of those devices on the wall. Today there are more than 500 commercially available tools available to the auto-analytically inclined, in three varieties: wearable technologies; mobile phone apps; [and] computer software,” Wilson writes. “Building on Apple’s insight and capabilities across all three areas, an iWatch could seamlessly weave them together. For instance, with an iWatch you could simultaneously track your mood, monitor physical activity levels, and then wirelessly transmit your data to your MacBook or iPad.”

Wilson writes, “The ancient Greeks often made a distinction between two notions of time, Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is chronological time which flows ineluctably along by seconds, hours and years, unaffected by human interests. Kairos, etymological root of ‘care,’ is time laden with human meaning and activity. ‘Lunchtime,’ ‘a good night’s sleep,’ and a ‘long and rejuvenating walk,’ all convey this sense of Kairos. A Timex is mainly chronological. What Apple could be doing is making a ‘kairologocial’ tool that tracks and monitors the data around the experiences you care about.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

I have on a Nike FuelBand…. I think there are some cool things that can be done and I think it is an interesting area. The question is, “Can it change somebody’s behavior?” …I think the book hasn’t been written on that yet. If it’s just a cool thing to know, it will fade, but if it can really drive someone to act differently, to behave differently, then I think it can be pretty cool. And, so I think the verdict is out and it’ll largely be determined by how much innovation is in that area… I think it’ll be interesting. – Apple CEO Tim Cook, D10 Conference, May 29, 2012

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  1. I find it interesting that conventional wisdom thinks the only thing that can “save Apple” is a wrist clock, a big phone, and a TV. Why not a golfball washer and a toaster?

    I love watches, but nice watches. If I had the money I’d collect beautiful timepieces. They are art form that generates an emotional response in me. An Apple watch would be simply a wearable iGadget. I suppose some people would be interested in it but I can’t help but feel the buzz is being fueled by the same morons who constantly go on about the end of the Mac, the decline of the iPhone, the demise of the iPad, Apple having lost their magic, the world belonging to Android, etc.

    Who really wants an Apple watch?

    As far as functionality, every freaking device around me is telling me what time it is, what I should be doing, and where I should be going. I don’t need to feel like a bigger nerd than I already am by slapping something else on my wrist. It might clash with my Incredible Hulk bandaid.

    1. I used to think that, too, but after reading the story about Navy PTSD research with iPads, I suddenly realized that an iWatch on one’s wrist functioning not as a timepiece, but as a biofeedback-driven health monitoring device, would be a boon.

      A beautiful watch, or bracelet, generates an emotional response (as you put it). This device would measure that emotional response—and probably comment (in Siri’s voice) “I love you, too.”

    2. As one who still wears a watch I think there is hope for something like an Apple iWatch. Or any other company who takes the right steps. Does not have to necessarily be Apple. I just see Apple having the best shot because of its closed ecosystem. I believe that fundamentally it will assist and somehow quarter Nate the other Apple devices ; iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac’s etc.. It may do all kinds of fancy things but at its core I believe it will coordinate everything that Apple makes for you. It will be a shortcut, probably limited, for all that you do on your devices. I give it at least a 50-50 chance of coming to market. And if Apple brings it to market I give it a 90% chance of being successful.

    3. @ Thelonious Mac – Since you (like the rest of us) have only rumors to go on, you really have no idea whether an “Apple watch would be simply a wearable iGadget,” or the most wonderful iDevice of all. 

      I expect an iWatch will be to watches what an iPhone is to phones: something else altogether.  An iPhone only incidentally functions as a phone, and is more accurately described as a ‘mobile computer.’ Perhaps the least significant function of an iWatch will be that of a time-keeper.

      The iWatch’s beauty/elegance/appeal (or lack thereof) will be revealed in due time, to you no sooner than to the rest of us.

    4. You make a subtle but excellent point Thelonious Mac when you say “why not a golfball washer and a toaster?”

      I’ve long said that there should be a revolutionary device that washes, dries and folds laundry. Think on how many of those would be sold.

    5. You’re thinking too hard. The iWatch will simply be a wind-up mechanical watch, beautifully done, with a tiny storage compartment to store your vitamins. A permanent Alarm will ring at 8:00am to remind you to start taking your pills.

      Even the pills will be made by the Apple Health Food division and will be made to perfectly fit underneath each hour and will show through the time plate so each hour will be a little pill. You will take one little pill per hour, so your body can metabolize them at a perfect rate, and because the pills are in the watch’s dial you can easily see if you forgot to take one of your pills.

      This new watch will be the biggest thing that has happened to health since they invented the doctor, and yet the watch will have that elegant quant look that makes you so emotional. There will be absolutely no electronics used at all.

      I have all the inside info on the watch and I guarantee it, you are gonna love this watch!

    1. No need for simplistic fortune-telling schemes while the infallible Oracle of Delphi dwells amongst us.

      Schedule your appointment with the Oracle using the forthcoming iPad/iPhone App, which conveniently books passage to the mystic destination and reserves a luxury cabin for two on a cruise ship of your choice, using Passbook notifications.

      Enjoy a relaxing Mediterranean escape, and savor the anticipation of having your investment strategy validated by one inspired by the breath of Apollo himself. Literally.

    1. The desert to go…would that be the Gobi, the Sahara, or the Kalahari? In each case, there is little food or water. As for time, it seems to stretch out forever as you crawl on your hands and knees toward the oasis that vanishes as you approach…

      1. Ha! ha! haa!!! “Gobi desert to go” has a nice ring to it, I’d rather the Sahara rather than a Paratha, but best of all “The kalahari in a hurry to go with the “Gobi to go!”.

  2. Wearable computers may come yet but they will likely be our iPhones and just have some new interface (like glasses or a watch band or projector) but these interfaces are usually not very private or are garish to wear or not very convenient. I don’t want to talk to my wearable computer in public because many of the things I might do are not for the public to hear or see. A wrist worn device is not a very usable location for many things I might do with it. It can only be used by one hand, It is awkward to hold to one’s ear, talking to your wrist is awkward, controlling where it projects is difficult. I just don’t see it as viable.

  3. I hope it measures body temperature, blood alcohol level, mood, wrist hair growth rate, body mass index, level of dehydration/saturation, finger nail length, time since last hair cut, halitosis index, humidity and wind chill factor.

    Have I left anything important out?

  4. My watch, removed, wrist strap for measure, is longer than my penis. If it had marks tracking centimeters or inches, I could measure my dick. I could mark and measure myself, myself, if it weren’t too much trouble. I’m looking to Apple to revolutionize this product category.

  5. I’m driving in traffic and the iPhone starts ringing.. in my jeans pocket. Bugger! How do I answer? (Apart from remembering not to put the bloody thing in said trouser pocket.). I think, if it eventuates, it will be a bluetooth-connected iOS device to rule them all: A TV remote controller, a tablet/phone/Mac terminal, a GPS, a compass/timepiece, a heart rate monitor, a walking/jogging rate monitor, a reminder, a pager (remember those!?), .. Could be a popular market, if done right.

  6. Obviously, the main function of a wrist fastened device is not time keeping. I believe a wrist worn device will give us seamless access (identification), monitoring, and essential information. Imagine a fingerprint scanner that utilized near field communication (NFC) to allow you access to all the secured areas in your life, including pass codes and payments on other nearby devices (Cars, phones, atm’s, computers, etc.) It would also store and sync all your essential data, so that your IT world would be continuously and seamless updated and stored. Think about all the transactions in a day seamlessly syncing to a centralized database. Year end and day to day transactions updated in real time. In addition syncing to a host of other medical devices to monitor personal medical data in real time, in the real world.

  7. If your are hopping it will do XYZ, then you are likely to be disappointed.
    I’ll judge if I need/want one when or if Apple introduces one.

    Also, it may not be designed to be a game changer. It could just be a niche thing like Apple’s Nike +.

  8. H. James Wilson doesn’t really get it.

    Sensing your mood is not a mass-market need. We already know what our mood is without gadgets, similarly we know how active we are and few of us need to measure and analyse such things. The main role of an iWatch will neither be to tell the time, not be a kairologocial tool.

    The main role of an iWatch will be as a supplementary device for your iPhone. It will incorporate a mini touch display and transducers for movement, vibration and audio in/out so that users can enjoy many functions of their iPhone without physically operating it. It will do many other things, such as telling the time and kairologocial monitoring, but they will just be extra features.

    Apple prefers to sell stuff with a mass-market appeal. The primary function of an iWatch will be designed to appeal to mainstream users of iPhones.

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