iWatch: How will it work?

You can't swing a dead cat without hitting an iWatch rumor these days. In case you have been living under a rock, the iWatch is the rumored device that Apple is supposed to be releasing later this year. There are all kinds of rumors out there about its form factor and all the sensors it is going to have built into it. But the one thing I haven't seen talked about much is how the rumored device is going to interact with the outside world...

  • Will it be wifi enabled or will it be like the iPod Nano, which is required to be physically attached to a computer to sync? (wifi & cell antennas are power hogs and bulky, so maybe it is low power Bluetooth only)
  • Will there be a version that has cellular data built-in? (This may sound crazy, but this could actually serve as a low cost iPhone if you think about it. I would buy one for my younger kids if the voice/data plans were reasonable)
  • How much storage will the device have? (or will it depend on just connecting to another device via Bluetooth for its content?)

I think the most crucial detail about the iWatch device is the one that nobody is talking about...which is the "use case" for the device. How exactly is the user going to interface with the device from day to day and week to week? Is the device going to simply be a "screen" into iCloud and other connected Apple devices or will someone brand new to Apple be able to buy this product and be able to use it to its full capabilities? Will the iWatch work like Fitbit, where it will sync wirelessly to your iPhone or to a USB dongle connected into your PC (in the case of an Apple device it would connect via bluetooth, no dongle required...Apple hates dongles). Just how PC friendly is this iWatch going to be? Will it be like the iPhone and the iPad where PC users will be able to use the iWatch just fine or will it require another portable iOS Apple device to pair with? There are a ton of questions I have about exactly how the iWatch is going to fit into the Apple ecosystem and even more importantly into the non-Apple ecosystem. Knowing Apple, they have thought about all of these things and have come up with a solution that nobody is considering.

Here is one more thing to think about. What if the iWatch is Apple's long term replacement for the iPhone?

  • Step 1: Apple releases the iWatch and a version of the iPhone with a larger screen. The two devices are meant to go together, so now instead of an iPhone and an iPad you have an iWatch and a larger screened iPhone.
  • Step 2: People start using the iWatch for most of the phone features (Siri for interaction and the built in speaker/microphone or Bluetooth earpiece for phone calls) while using the larger screen of the iPhone more like a tablet.
  • Step 3: More and more of Apple's services are "Cloud based" such that everywhere you go you have access to your data as long as you can access your iCloud account.
  • Step 4: Apple has eased you into the idea that your data is cloud based and your computing can all be done from either your wrist or the palm of your hand (larger screen iPhone). You can now walk up to any screen anywhere and display and interact with your data and your portable computing device using any available screen.
  • Step 5: Several years down the road Apple introduces the capability to hop from portable Apple device to portable Apple device and get wifi internet connectivity that way instead of using cellular data. No more cell cariers. Wouldn't that be the ultimate gift to the world...the end of cell carriers?

A guy can dream can't he?

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