Advertisement

Blog

An Apple Smart Watch? Time Will Tell

Last week, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Bloomberg News all reported that unnamed sources have said Apple is developing a smart watch. These reports confirm that Apple wants to move beyond the iPad and iPhone, and is seeking a new challenge that will bring technology closer to the consumer in the form of a wearable wristwatch computing device.

Developing consumer electronic products that are in demand is but one aspect of a thoroughly sound supply chain. In this case, introducing smartphone functions into a watch-like device will prompt Apple's engineers to think hard about what functions and user-friendly capabilities they can pack into a small device that is pervasive in our lives.

The Wall Street Journal article notes that while it is “unclear” what technological capabilities Apple will be developing for its smart watch, the company has discussed the device with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., its manufacturing partner. As Apple works to incorporate a curved glass design, according to the NYT story, the company will want to differentiate its product from the many smart watches and other wearable devices made for the wrist.

Big design effort
All three articles describe Apple as a company well on its way to introducing a smart watch soon, with the Bloomberg story announcing that Apple has already assembled a team of about 100 product designers to work on an Apple watch that will perform some of the functions already handled by the iPhone and iPad.

Timing is everything: A battle is brewing between Apple and Samsung for  the smart-watch market. What it means for the supply chain is as yet unclear.

Timing is everything: A battle is brewing between Apple and Samsung for
the smart-watch market. What it means for the supply chain is as yet unclear.

To be sure, there are many prototypes, as well as products, on the market that Apple can screen as it seeks to differentiate its product from the pack. A smart watch from Pebble Technology Corp., for example, connects to iPhone and Android devices using Bluetooth, and alerts users to incoming calls, emails, and messages. At the Consumer Electronics Show this year, Toshiba Corp. unveiled a smart watch that uses an ECG sensor to measure the pulse in your wrist, but the company could not say when the product will come to market.

Other devices don't tell the time, but are wristbands with computing capabilities that collect and send health and fitness data. The Nike + FuelBand boasts a sports-tested accelerometer to track your daily activity, including walking, running, dancing, and other activities. The wristband tracks each step taken and calorie burned.

Market potential?
Certainly, the wearable technology market provides untold opportunities for Apple. IMS Research estimates that 14 million wearable devices were shipped in 2011, and that number is forecast to jump to 170 million wearable devices to be shipped in 2016. Also in 2016, the wearable technology market will be worth $6 billion, up from $2 billion in 2011.

Sales of wearable devices are being driven by the demand for actionable, real-time data, Theo Ahadome, senior analyst at IMS Research, concludes. He also told me that these news reports confirm what IMS Research has forecast — that wearable computing will be the new paradigm shift in information communication technology, bringing technology even closer to the user, and increasing interactions that consumers have with these devices.

According to Ahadome:

Our forecast is that a major supplier such as Apple or Samsung will produce a smart watch by 2015.

Not to be outdone, screenshots of a Samsung smart watch appeared last week, a sign that an upcoming battle is brewing between Apple and Samsung in this market. If both companies introduce wristwatch devices around the same time, Ahadome expects they will tune their supply chains to focus on the usefulness of the product, battery life, and price, which will be critical to consumer demand. According to Ahadome:

A reasonable price point is $200. The usefulness of the device is when it starts doing something that your smartphone cannot do. If it is only connecting to the phone and becomes a display then it's not as useful since users can simply take their phones out of their pocket! If it is integrating sensors for fitness or providing near field communications and mobile payments then it starts to be more useful, but more expensive at the same time. A useful way to phrase it is – if you leave your phone at home, is your smart watch still able to perform useful functions?

So the questions become:

  • What will make an Apple smart watch tick?
  • Should we expect to receive email notifications, text messages, and reports about the weather?
  • Will there be health-monitoring features on this device?
  • How much will it cost?
  • And what will it take for you to be convinced that buying an Apple smart watch is a good investment?

Let me know what you think.

68 comments on “An Apple Smart Watch? Time Will Tell

  1. _hm
    February 20, 2013

    That is very interesting from Apple. I may like to have two most essentiual requirements: it should not require to change battery. It should self generate its requierd power. Also it should have IP68 or better protection so one never have to remove it from wrist.

    It may include compass, GPS, helath monitoring, and mp3 and video type of functions. It may help make quick payments.

     

  2. t.alex
    February 20, 2013

    Should be as thin as possible and having siri to tell user about time 🙂

  3. Anna Young
    February 21, 2013

     @_hm, Sounds interesting. I'm weary of not ever “removing” the device. However, I'll like to add – the device has to be a touch screen and sleek too.  What's your thought?

  4. _hm
    February 21, 2013

    @_Anna: Yes. Device will have touch screen but it will also have Siri to help you further. As it is Apple product, it will be sleek or may be wonderful ornament – Bracelet. They will online offer it in quite many variety, one can personalized to some extent. I may like to see it in 22 ct gold or platinum.

     

  5. _hm
    February 21, 2013

    @t_alex: Yes, it should be very thin and rechargeable by wireless or hand movement. It should have BT to communicate to iPhone/iPad and to data network. It may contain electronic wallet.

    I want Apple to make special version for kids, having most features of Pokemon and more.

     

  6. prabhakar_deosthali
    February 21, 2013

    Just the announcement and already there is a huge wish list from all of us.

    Whether the first version of this smart watch has the bells and whistles that we all wish for, is not certain but it will definitely start a new trend the way iPad did.

    Automatic battery charging by the hand movements – like those automatic watches of earlier days – is something minimum I would expect .

    I I do not want this watch to have a display – rather it should work with headphones and voice activated commands from the mcirophone becasue adding a readable display will make the watch bulky .

  7. itguyphil
    February 21, 2013

    I guess now they're on a mission to revolutionize every consumer product known to man.

  8. Wale Bakare
    February 21, 2013

    I think mother of technology disruption is yet to happen – we are probably getting near it. I have seen a wrist watch one can use to make phone calls, sms, and email.

  9. The Source
    February 21, 2013

    Anna,

    Do you have a watch that has sentimental value? I have a watch given to me ten years ago by an Aunt of mine. That watch means a lot to me, and I'm torn between giving up that watch for a smart watch.  Do you have this problem?  

  10. Brian Fuller
    February 21, 2013

    @pocharle, well, I'm not sure I'd use the word “revolutionize” in this case… this is more “evolutionize” unless there is something about Apple's watch design that will surprise everybody AND make perfect sense at the same time. They tend to do that. 

     

  11. Brian Fuller
    February 21, 2013

    Time indeed will tell on this. But let's be honest: You can already make your own “iWatch” with an iPod nano and a wrist strap. 

    When I got a chance to have a fireside chat with Steve Wozniak a couple of years ago at Embedded Systems Conference, he was wearing one. 

    If Apple's intent is to continue to sweep up consumer devices and habits, then this is a good move. If its intent is to stun the world with some technology, I suspect this will fall short. 

     

  12. Lavender
    February 21, 2013

    The smart watch sounds very compelling, but how long can it last to be unique and distinctive? Since the launch of touch screen smartphone in 2007, just five years have seen the smartphone fall on serious homogenization competition. So what about the smart watch?

  13. FLYINGSCOT
    February 22, 2013

    looking at the Ipod Nano it is almost small enough to be a watch and I imagine its size is probably limited by the GUI so I imagine Apple could easily do a decent smart watch. However the GUI will be so small I doubt it will be a great hit.

  14. Nemos
    February 22, 2013

    It is challenging, and Apple should not waste this opportunity ,It doesn't matter whether will be a totally smart watch like a phone, a more sophisticated watch it is enough to make the consumers “crazy”.

  15. The Source
    February 22, 2013

    Nemos,

    It seems that Apple has been planning a smart watch device for some time. Here's an article that says the company filed a patent in 2011 for a wearable “slap wrap” device. Here's the link:

    http://www.zdnet.com/apple-slap-wrap-patent-fuels-iwatch-rumour-7000011674/

     

  16. Susan Fourtané
    February 23, 2013

    An iWatch should be most useful combined with health sensors. If the iWatch starts having similar communication features as the iPhone then what I said time ago about the smartphone walking the path of death could be even more possible. 

    -Susan

  17. Susan Fourtané
    February 23, 2013

    The Source, 

    Some days ago I saw an article in relation to that patent. It seems like Nokia had the concept of something similar before Apple. But we know how patent issues usually go, right?

    -Susan

  18. The Source
    February 23, 2013

    Susan,

    I agree that an Apple smart watch should possess a health or fitness monitoring feature. That will differentiate the product and make the device much more useful.

     

  19. The Source
    February 23, 2013

    FLYINGSCOT,

    I see that you have your doubts about whether an Apple smart watch will succeed in the market. I think Apple has the best chance to develop a device that consumers will buy because the company will focus on developing a watch that is aesthetically pleasing and will have many useful features.  What I'm interested in is the price which I think will determine how well the product sells.

     

     

     

  20. Susan Fourtané
    February 23, 2013

    The Source, 

    I read somewhere that the price would be $200.

    -Susan

  21. The Source
    February 23, 2013

    Susan,

    I can't recall reading in my research that the price would be $200, but the analyst I spoke with, Theo Ahadome, at IMS Research told me that $200 is a reasonable price point. What do you think about that price? 

  22. Susan Fourtané
    February 23, 2013

    Nicole? 

    I tried to find that article that I read, but I couldn't. It would be good to know more details about the product, but $200 could work well. Now, if it would be the starting price, and from there have two more options, as all the Apple's products it would depend on the features. 

    -Susan

  23. Wale Bakare
    February 23, 2013

    >>Should we expect to receive email notifications, text messages, and reports about the weather?<<

    I would say good news to supply chain and others operating within OEM sector. I would expect smartphone and tablet like market battle, but in the end is likely features vs quality deciding factors. The fact that, unknown firms in space of high -tech are already selling smart watches, Apple and Samsung would have to up their designs and integrate some unique features. May be price too.

  24. Adeniji Kayode
    February 23, 2013

    @ hm you are really asking for a piece of device yet versatile with all those options you mentioned. my only concern is it source of power,if its not battery then what? Dont you think battery probably a lithium may do a better job.

  25. Adeniji Kayode
    February 23, 2013

    @ Anna, I agree with you on that, I will not be too comfortable if I have go wear that piece of device all day. Same reaction to the 3d LCD, the wearing of the goggle messed the fun up for me.

  26. Brian Fuller
    February 23, 2013

    In 2007, I toured Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Beijing. On the flight over, a buddy of mine was wearing a nice-looking watch and I complimented him on it. He said it was a Chinese knockoff he got for $20. If it lasted him a year and then failed, he said it would still be worth the investment, given the compliments he'd gotten. 

    I bought a couple and had the same experience. 

    How long before this watch experience extends into the iWatch world? 

  27. The Source
    February 23, 2013

    Brian,

    Your friend has made a link between the price he paid and the compliments he received. This story indicates what we already know – that people buy products because they look good and if those products can be bought at an affordable price the consumer is satisfied. Apple knows this, which is why it has always focused on price, as well as how good a product looks and feels. Given the fact that there's a large segment of consumers out there who will buy nothing but Apple products, I believe the company will have some success when it introduces a smart watch.    

     

  28. itguyphil
    February 23, 2013

    WHich one is that? That would help save a lot of space in my pockets!

  29. itguyphil
    February 23, 2013

    “They tend to do that”

    As I got half way through reading your post, I was thinking the EXACT same thing! Ha

  30. Anna Young
    February 24, 2013

    @_hm, Apple has always produced an exciting electronic consumer product. Let's hope this device will compete and lead other competitors in the market.

  31. Anna Young
    February 24, 2013

    @Nicole, I understand your dilemma. Sentimental items are of great value to the owner. It's often the feeling attached to the gift particularly from people you hold dear to your heart. However on a practical level, If the smart watch will serve the very purpose your sentimental watch served and even much more and not overpriced, why not?

  32. Anna Young
    February 24, 2013

     @Kayode, I suppose if it's a 'heart smart watch' device, it will be beneficial to wear all day or permanently on. As it will be performing a vital health related functions. We just have to wait and see the innovation Apple or Samsung have in mind.

  33. Wale Bakare
    February 24, 2013

    >>Given the fact that there's a large segment of consumers out there who will buy nothing but Apple products<<

    I have got wrist watches and i hardly put them on simply because my smartphone does similar work and also spend most times on my machine.

    You have to bear in mind as an OEM that consumers at the bottom of pyramid of incomes are the large segment. And you think they are willing to spend $200 on a mere wrist watch as being speculated for its price? I doubt it!

  34. The Source
    February 24, 2013

    Wale,

    It's no surprise that people buy items they can't afford.  Sometimes they buy a product to keep up with their friends, other times they may buy an items that makes them feel good. What the hell, put it on the credit card and pay for it later. Haven't you seen those TV stations dedicated to selling products? You can buy an item for $300 with six easy payments of $50 per month.  Many of those people buying these products aren't in the high or even mid-level income bracket. If the Apple smart watch becomes a fashion statement, people will buy it.  

  35. The Source
    February 24, 2013

    Anna, 

    Indeed, why not buy a watch that gives me more features and functionality.  I guess I would switch and wear the watch my Aunt gave me on some occasions and wear the smart watch on other occasions. That might work. 

  36. elctrnx_lyf
    February 24, 2013

    I think the sales of apple watch may be very well driven by more fashion conscious and less functional conscious. Probably this may be the big trend in next five years.

  37. _hm
    February 24, 2013

    @Anna: Yes, I eagerly await Apple wrist watch. If cost is around $200 and if it is round, this may be my first Apple product.

  38. _hm
    February 24, 2013

    @Adeniji: Yes, Litihum may be one good option. However, I want Apple to be more innovative and design suitable super cap for this application.

  39. Brian Fuller
    February 24, 2013

    Here's some fresh news on the iWatch front: Will it be a slapwatch?

    http://www.fastcompany.com/3006125/tech-forecast/apples-slap-bracelet-patent-turns-heat-iwatch-rumors

  40. t.alex
    February 24, 2013

    Probably it won't have the normal display like iphone but rather something like HUD.

  41. Houngbo_Hospice
    February 24, 2013

    That's not for me, unless somebody gives it to me as a gift. I have the impression that will not be a huge commercial success for Apple.

  42. Houngbo_Hospice
    February 24, 2013

    @_hm,

    Good luck with that. I am a “mild” Apple's fan. I use a mac desktop at work and I own an iPad. But I don't think that an Apple Smart watch is what we will call Apple's next innovation. I wish they would come with a better product. 

  43. Houngbo_Hospice
    February 24, 2013

    @Wale,

    “I have got wrist watches and i hardly put them on simply because my smartphone does similar work and also spend most times on my machine.”

    I think that is what most people do today – wrist watches are becoming obsolete as many people carry other time-display devices with them. As I said in an earlier comment, I don't think a $200 smart wrist watch is a good idea. I bought a smart databank watch about 6 years ago, and it is still working fine. But I never use it as a “real” smart device as my smartphone and my tablet can do a better job.

  44. The Source
    February 24, 2013

    Hospice_Houngbo,

    There are many young people that don't wear a watch and use their smartphones to find out the time. Given this, it will be very interesting to see whether teenagers and people in their twenties buy an Apple smart watch. 

     

  45. Anna Young
    February 25, 2013

     Nicole, I think that's a good idea!  That's exactly what I'll do and have done in times past…. I find Switching between treasured gifted items and a new trendy item the best way to satisfy your desire. 🙂

  46. Anna Young
    February 25, 2013

     _hm, if it cost just $200, this will be good for both low and high ends consumers' purchasing powers. I'm sure it'll sell like hot cakes!  I think it's a smart move.

  47. Ariella
    February 25, 2013

    do we have confirmation on the price?

  48. The Source
    February 25, 2013

    Ariella,

    No, there is no confirmation on the price.

     

     

  49. The Source
    February 25, 2013

    Anna,

    You might find people doing exactly what we've said works for us, switching watches for different occasions.  I see that you think an Apple smart watch will be a success.  I think there are consumers out there that will purchase the product, but how much of a success remains to be seen. 

  50. The Source
    February 25, 2013

    Hospice_Houngbo,

    Why do you think a smart watch from Apple won't sell well?  There are many people out there that love to buy Apple products.  I think it's too early to predict poor sales for an Apple smart watch.    

  51. Houngbo_Hospice
    February 25, 2013

    @TheSource,

    “I think it's too early to predict poor sales for an Apple smart watch. “

    I based my prediction on the fact that an Apple smart watch is nothing revolutionary and many people no longer use a wrist watch. But as you said, let's wait and see.

  52. Houngbo_Hospice
    February 25, 2013

    @Ariella,

    An Apple product is always expensive for the averrage buyer and an Apple smart watch will probably sell above $100 for the basic model.

  53. Ariella
    February 25, 2013

    @HH most likely. 

  54. The Source
    February 25, 2013

    Hospice_Houngbo,

    Yes, let's wait and see.

  55. Anna Young
    February 25, 2013

     Hi Ariella, the quoted price is speculated . I don't think this has been confirmed yet.

  56. Ariella
    February 25, 2013

    @Anna, Thanks, I'll just have to wait to find out.

  57. Wale Bakare
    February 25, 2013

    A gold or diamond made wrist watch that cost you $200 today, could fetch you $2000 five years time.  In contrast, a smart wrist watch with microprocessor/microcontroller, may be 16/32 bits register and GPS, in 2 or 3 years time would become valueless with new technologies.

     

  58. Susan Fourtané
    February 25, 2013

    Wale, 

    Indeed. That's a very good observation. 

    -Susan

  59. Adeniji Kayode
    February 25, 2013

    @Pocharle,

    well,t hat is still the secret of staying on top of the ladder. You do not remain there when you are no more relevant to humanity.

    I believe Apple is doing everything possible to remain in our hearts and our lives for a very long time.

  60. Adeniji Kayode
    February 25, 2013

    @ Wale,

    You are right, a piece of device may be magnificent today but become history tomorrow. Technology is never stagnant  and wherever its leading us, we are seriously following.

  61. Susan Fourtané
    February 25, 2013

    HH, 

    I also thought that many people -included myself- don't wear a wristwatch any longer. However, this device will be something else, not a watch. I think the fact that we are calling it a “watch” is because no one has come up with any other word for it. 

    -Susan

  62. Adeniji Kayode
    February 25, 2013

    @ H H,

    Apple may not have a better product right now but Apple tends to come closer this time to his consumers.

    I cant predict the outcome of this one but I know that Apple is looking foe a way to cause a wave again in consumer electronics.

    Will this really hit the market like the previous product-let wait and see.

  63. Adeniji Kayode
    February 25, 2013

    @Susan,

    Well, as long as it tells the time,its not too differenent from a wrist watch.

    Since Apple 's desire is to take a wrist device to another level, maybe we should call it “watch Plus”.

  64. Adeniji Kayode
    February 25, 2013

    @HH,

    Lets hope the market will favour this product because I see Apple exploring some areas where it seems other manufacturers are not looking into.

    A smart watch might make the yonger generation to fancy wearing wrist watch but then for how long before the excitment wears off.

  65. Susan Fourtané
    February 26, 2013

    Adeniji, 

    Do we know what it's going to do already? 

    -Susan

  66. itguyphil
    February 26, 2013

    They need to. They might appear to be losing steam to their competitors recently.

  67. Yuschick
    February 27, 2013

    For me nothing will ever replace my mechanical watches; all handmade with great skill and precision.  These pieces are timeless and will be passed down to my child.  A smart watch would be not retain the same timeless, classic value.  As with all technology, it will immediately become outdated.  Thirty years after one would get a smart watch, what value would it have as an heirloom?  It'd be the same as handing down 8-track tapes to your children.

  68. t.alex
    March 4, 2013

    Ariella, 

     

    I think it is not yet confirmed if the watch will be out soon; forget about price.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.