Ah yes, the Apple iWatch. The new rainbow unicorn of the tech world.
It’s going to be so amazing that already equally non-existent rival products like the Samsung Galaxy Watch are reported as likely to struggle to keep up with Apple’s awesome genius and unparalleled expertise in the area of, err, watches.
Apple has made no announcement on the subject, but that hasn’t stopped a slew of ‘analysts’ and ad revenue-chasing tech sites working themselves into a lather over something that is currently as real as pixies and minotaurs.
“Will Apple’s plans for an iWatch herald a new era of wearable tech?,” asked The Guardian, perhaps oblivious to the fact that they have announced no such plans.
Undaunted, the writer insisted that Apple were busy attempting ‘the redefinition of the watch,’ even though we’re pretty sure we’ve already seen loads of companies already doing just that. Even Casio was having a go at redefining the watch back in the early 2000s.
Loads of money
Last year, tech analysts Forrester were trumpeting away that wearable computing was “the new platform war,” even though you’ve as much chance of seeing wearable computer on the street as you have of seeing a motorcycle gang roaring down the road on an armada of Sinclair C5s.
Tech analysts Juniper Research went further, insisting that wearable computing will generate $800m (£500m) in revenue this year and $1.5bn in 2014 [source], while Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty jumped the shark and screamed the news that Apple’s non-existent watch and non-existent HDTV will together rake in a phenomenal $80bn/year.
As such, there is absolutely zero actual evidence that Apple will be producing an iWatch, but that hasn’t stopped the inevitable tide of ghastly renders appearing online.
The one unifying element amongst these flights of fancy seems to be the inability of these ‘visioneers’ to grasp a basic understanding of watch design.
There’s a good reason why most watches don’t come in the shape of a slippery, slidey cylinders made of sweaty plastic, and there’s also a good reason why people don’t usually plump for watches that look like someone has welded a tobacco tin on to their arms.
Is it coming?
Of course, that’s not to say that at some point in time someone – maybe even Apple – won’t invent a stylish, functional Bluetooth-enabled smartwatch that wil be genionely useful./
But there are still huge problems ahead trying to shoehorn a useful gadget into a wristwatch sized hole (we actually think the Google Glass project is a more viable technology – not that we want to walk around with those things on our noggins either).
Such a thing has to have a screen big enough for it to be actually useful, and come with a battery life that is measured in months, not hours or days. And how would you make calls on a smartwatch?
Talking into a watch would look even more ridiculous than walking about with a Bluetooth earpiece, and we wouldn’t fancy trying to see too much information on a such a pint-sized screen.
That said, there is clearly some areas where a smartwatch is a truly grand idea – for things like fitness training, health monitoring and the like, and there’s already some excellent products like Nike’s Fuel Band and Fitbit doing a great job of letting people access info on the move.
But a true smartwatch has to be tough, rugged, compact and stylish, come with a huge battery life, be easy to use and ultimately provide a solution to a problem we’re not entirely sure even exists right now.
But what do you think? Will you be queueing up outside an Apple store if the iWatch ever progresses past the fantasy stage?