There has been a flurry of blog posts lately about the rumored iWatch, or smart watch, from Apple. Here’s TechCrunch’s coverage of the rumor. Diehard Apple fans will probably be drooling over the possibility as anything new from Apple tends to make their mouths water (though I always caution that Steve Jobs shut down anything he saw as extraneous when he came back as the CEO of Apple and soon after created the first iMac). The question is, were Apple to produce an iWatch, would you buy it? I think I would. Here’s why:
I like watches in general and I’m a bit saddened that they have become increasingly outdated in my lifetime. I used to look forward to buying a new watch from time to time, but I hardly ever have a real need for one these days–I simply check the time on my iPhone. When I was younger, digital watches were doing more and more. Alarms, timers and compasses–oh my! Now that just seems ridiculous. Those watches were pretty darn dorky as well.
Now, about the only reason anyone really has to wear a watch is as a status symbol or fashion statement. It’s possible that people will wear a cheap watch because it is colorful or makes them feel cool, but increasingly, especially in the business world, the watch is sort of like a car–it shows how much you make or how flashy you are, depending on how you look at it.
It would be great to get some functionality of out a watch again, however. As wearable tech makes it’s way into our collective lives (see What’s the Next Big Thing In Tech), it only makes sense to see more entrants into the smart watch space. We’ve already covered many of the early comers (see The 5 Best Smart Watches of 2012). While there are some interesting forays, nothing really lives up to the expectations set by our imaginations and the movies. If you think about it, the wrist is a perfectly logical place to park your information and read it at a glance.
If Apple does enter the smart watch market, they better make something good. It’s not good enough to slap iOS onto a smaller form factor–is it? We’ve seen the older version of the iPod Nano–it did function as a watch, but cmon, we want more than that. I’m willing to bet that Apple, if it does enter this market, will have some pretty decently new/unique/cool stuff to show off–otherwise there is no point to entering the space. If all an iWatch does is alert you to new emails, messages and calls… you might as well buy one of the handful of smart watches already available. So, when it comes to creating a smart watch, Apple had better think way different.
Honestly, I’d rather see Apple enter this market as another “hobby” because the Apple TV, which is the original Apple hobby, is a pretty cool little device that is priced to sell. It didn’t have an enormous market initially, but it has a large and excited fan base at the moment and may pave the way for the real TV set made by Apple. I think it would be smart for Apple to do the same if/when the think about producing a real watch for people to buy.
As time goes on, everything is becoming a technology item. More and more appliances are going to become smart–just look at the Nest thermostat. In the future, will Apple and other tech companies be the ones making our ovens, vacuums and… anything that uses electricity? It may seem weird to think about now, but I predict that yes, Apple and traditional tech companies will overtake the Maytags of the world as our appliance makers… but I digress….
What do you think, would you buy a smart watch from Apple? Why or why not? Could this spark a whole new arms race in the tech sector?