Apple will make several wearables, but not a watch

“Back in January, I did a post titled ‘Why Apple may not launch an iWatch anytime soon.’ The gist of the piece was this: that Apple doesn’t enter markets particularly early, but rather enters at the point where the technology is ready for it to provide the kind of transformative product it’s used to disrupt the music player, smartphone and tablet markets in the past,” Jan Dawson writes for Beyond Devices. “At the time, my conclusion was that Apple would likely stay out of the wearables business entirely, until such time as the underlying technology was ready. However, given the other things we’ve seen from Apple in the last few months, I now believe it’s very likely we’ll see something in this category from Apple in the near future, but it won’t be a watch, and it’s likely that it will actually be several products rather than just one.”

“There are two big problems with the smartwatch market as it stands: firstly, the underlying technology doesn’t seem to be ready, which means it doesn’t deliver on the promise of the category. But secondly, the promise itself simply isn’t all that compelling for the vast majority of the general population,” Dawson writes. “There’s a sense that if someone can just crack the smartwatch category it’ll suddenly explode, but I’m just not sure I agree with that. It still fundamentally seems like a solution in search of a problem at this point.”

“For all these reasons, I’m still skeptical that Apple will release a product that’s identifiable as a watch. If I think about the thorniest technological challenge with smartwatches, it’s the fact that you’re having to squeeze both a fairly smart CPU and a decent display, and the battery to power them, into what has to be a very small form factor,” Dawson writes. “That problem essentially goes away if you see wearables less as notification screens and more as off-device sensors, as Apple seems to, in contrast to Google.”

wearables, Android Wear vs. Apple iOS, Jackdaw Research 2014

Tons more in the full article – highly recommendedhere.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Without Apple to lead the way, current crop of clumsy wearable gadgets not ready for prime time – January 10, 2014
The Galaxy Gear stupidwatch: Without Apple to copy, Samsung is clueless – September 4, 2013
Clueless companies race to debut stupidwatches before Apple defines the smartwatch – January 3, 2014


  1. And look at all the idiots creating smartwatches! If Apple doesn’t do it they’ve duped the enemy again! In other words, smartwatches are probably bullshit and Apple may have got the rumor mill going to lead competitors astray.

    1. I think that Apple may think entirely differently. I wear watches. I have a $3500 limited edition Stührling Tourbillon watch in Rose Gold with a Meteorite Face my girlfriend gave me. I would be loath to give it up to buy and wear an Apple watch. BUT I would want the features an Apple watch might provide. How can Apple get me as a wearable customer? I do like the Alligator leather band that came with the Stührling, but I’d give that up for an Apple Smart Watch Bracelet with a flexible display p, all the health sensors, etc., that would attach to my current watch. Alternately, an attractive masculine Apple smart bracelet that was not a watch, that could be worn as a watch enhancement.

      Similar feminine designs attractive to women in smaller sizes and kid colors would round out the line.

        1. Let me finish that. ;^)

          She’s very happily taken. . . Besides, she likes the 6.1 carat black diamond ring with 28 champagne side diamonds in yellow gold I gave her for her Birthday two years ago. ;^)

          You can see the ring, which I had made for her, on AK Jeweler’s (Sacramento, California) diamond gallery, on their website and on their Facebook page. I supplied the stones and the gold and the design. . . they did the work. My custom black diamond ring is on there too. Rose gold. . . 15.5 carat solitaire. Both are unique. So I can’t wear an iRing either.

      1. Your girlfriend <3 s you.

        I have a nice watch, but I don't wear it because it's relatively heavy and I'm always using my arms working with stuff and I always have other devices around me to tell me the time. I suspect there will be other form factors as flexible LCD screens become the norm. I could deal with that as long as it's light enough and doesn't suffocate my arm.

        1. And I <3 her.

          I no longer do that much physical work that might injure a watch. . . But in the past I have succeeded in cracking a sapphire watch crystal. On of my clients wears a $10,000 watch made with a supposedly "unscratchable" tungsten carbide case. . . he scratched it. Of course, if you're a dentist and are slightly careless swinging a running diamond burr, you can scratch almost anything. 😉 The watch company replaced the case under warranty.

          But Apple had better consider this scenario on their watch screens.

        2. Lifetime warranty against anything. . . Except theft, I think. 10 grand buys a lot of watch. . . when there are no diamonds. It’s very thin.

    1. So an iPhone is not a phone because a phone is just a device for talking to people?

      Words change their meaning over time. There is no reason “watch” cannot morph into “the smallest iPod”, “a beautiful timepiece” and “a breakthrough device”, if Apple sees the way to do that.

    2. @ bill,
      Ipso facto, a watch man is a small man that is worn on the wrist.
      Watch tower is a small tower that is worn on the wrist.
      Watch dog is a small dog that is worn on the wrist. 😉
      Anyone think of any other watch? Like a watch beetle for example??

      Just saying……

  2. > For all these reasons, I’m still skeptical that Apple will release a product that’s identifiable as a watch.

    If it goes on the wrist and tells the time, it’s “identifiable as a watch.” So, a VERY wide range of possible designs can be called an “iWatch.”

    I think the skeptics come from imagining a “smart watch” to be an iPhone that is scaled down to fit the wrist. That is why they imagine it needing “a fairly smart CPU and a decent display, and the battery to power them, into what has to be a very small form factor.”

    Remember smartphones before iPhone. They were attempts to scale down a Windows PC to fit your pocket, complete with tiny physical keyboards and a stylus for pointing (instead of a mouse). Apple invented a completely new user interface for iPhone, and now, almost every smartphone is an iPhone or an iPhone copy. That will be the story with iWatch. While the so-called “innovators” copy iPhone yet again, to fit on a wrist, Apple has no doubt invented something completely new for a new class of device.

    It doesn’t need a high-power CPU, because it interacts with an iPhone (or iPad). Siri (and many iOS apps) do very complex things, because they interact with online servers (which provide the true horsepower). It’s the same thing, taken one step down. It doesn’t need a large display, because its not trying to replicate or replace the iPhone’s display, which you can pull out if you want to web-surf or watch a video. But with iPhones getting larger, it’s less convenient to pull out, so an iWatch that can show “optimized” info is very convenient and useful. It doesn’t need its own audio output or input (microphone), because you’ll be wearing the iPhone’s headset, and you can give verbal commands (through iPhone) to iWatch.

  3. I have not worn a watch since I started using a smart phone. I can not imagine putting one back on my wrist now for any reason. unless! It is was some type of pocket watch or device that I could carry in my pocket or wear in some non intrusive way. That may be a game changer for me.

  4. The main problem is that so many people have gotten used to not wearing a watch because they can check the time on their phone, it will be difficult to get people back into the watch-wearing mentality.

    1. Except that phones (including iPhone) are getting larger, so it is not as convenient to pull it out of its current location (that is less likely to be your front pants pocket). I have a “small” iPhone with a 3.5-inch screen (in my front pants pocket), and I often don’t want to pull it out just to check the time, like when I’m sitting or standing on a crowded bus or train. Imagine what OTHER pieces of “optimized” info an iWatch can display on its small screen, automatically or with a verbal command into your iPhone’s headset (which you’re already wearing).

  5. “the underlying technology doesn’t seem to be ready”

    Substitute the word “phone” for “watch” in this drivel, and we probable have a bunch of such articles that were written just before that industry changing presentation.

    And all the conditional dancing back and forth! Sheesh!

    1. Actually most of the articles then said that phones were already great and there was no way Apple was going to improve much on them at best, produce a dud at worst.

      So this is a different situation. There are no popular Blackberry’s or employer mandated Windows Mobile phones to kill, just unpopular or niche oddities.

  6. If he thinks this is a “solution in search of a problem,” then this guy has never been to Disney World and experienced the Magic Band phenomenon. If the iWatch is anything like it, it will be transformative.

  7. I don’t see Apple doing a smart watch. It is not a compelling market for Apple. And the use of watches by young people is trending down. Of course Apple may have the power and imagination to change that. But I think there is something else afloat.

  8. For all these reasons, I’m still skeptical that Apple will release a product that’s identifiable as a watch.

    It continues to amaze me that analysts don’t comprehend that Apple ALREADY put out a product that’s recognizable as a watch. It was the iPod Nano from 2010:

    But it obviously didn’t devour any waiting market for computerized watches. Apple changed the form factor in the next generation.

    Here is one article I found (March, 2013) discussing how Apple could/should improve the 2010 iPod Nano as an appealing watch:

    1. Yes, but Apple never truly marketed the iPod nano (my daughter has one) as a watch. The other problem with it was the watch bands available to turn it into a watch turned it into a large, bulky, not very attractive watch. If Apple had provided for an easy way to remove the back clip and attach a band rather than something that wrapped around the entire watch (except the face), it would have been much more practical. But Apple intended the nano as a clip-on music player, so the watch aspect never really took off.

  9. It will not be an iWatch unless it is tied to the Apple TV (watch a “screen.”)
    I believe Apple will continue the iP naming series by calling it the iPulse and marketing it as the center (pulse) of your “connectedness”. The pulse name will fit in with all the obvious health applications but also can be thought of being core to “the pulse (beat or Beats) of your daily life.” Many very moving commercials showing that theme will immediately follow its announcement.

  10. I don’t see this as being multiple devices. That doesn’t fit with Apple’s all-in-one simple motif.

    However this does make sense that it won’t be a watch but more like a bracelet packed with sensors which links to your iPhone/iPad. A couple of other aspects not mentioned:

    1. Gesture control. This could work perfectly with AppleTV (either current models or a new version).

    2. Remember the Under Armour commercials about their upcoming clothing that could do things like change color, record exercise data, etc.? That may well be what Apple has in mind and may show the direction wearables are truly going. Also note Nike has EOL’d its Fuel Band after meetings with Apple.

    3. A band could be the perfect item for induction charging, thereby eliminating the need and space for micro USB jacks, Lightning connectors, etc.

    Apple is obviously coming with some new hardware to empower HealthKit, likely to be released with the iPhone 6. Otherwise HealthKit is severely limited.

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