Apple's planned smartwatch will separate itself from the competition by being less of a smartphone complement than a household remote control, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said in an Oct. 10 report. White has been touring Asia and interviewing Apple suppliers, according to Barron's.
"As an Apple supplier, our contact offered insight into the 'iWatch' and described this potential new device as much more than an extension of your iPhone but as a multi-purpose gateway, in allowing consumers to control their home (i.e., heating/cooling, lights, audio, video, etc.)," wrote White.
White also repeated the firm's estimate that Apple is likely to launch the watch before the end of calendar year 2014.
Samsung, Apple's primary competitor, introduced its smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, Sept. 4.
"The Samsung Galaxy Gear is a smartwatch that has a million household uses!" Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart enthused, in the joking tone of an infomercial, minutes after meeting the device at a New York press event.
"The question is," he continued more seriously, "is that the right approach to making a watch that regular consumers will want to buy ... or would a curated approach of 'These are the things you want to do on a watch' ... make for a better smartwatch for more people?"
Greengart went on to say that Apple has a talent for the simpler approach—for solving a specific pain point for consumers. Which White's report suggests it's out to do once again.
The New York Times' David Pogue, after spending considerably more time with the Gear, concluded that it indeed has a lot of features and, yes, altogether too much.
"Let's admit it: that is an absolutely unbelievable list of features for a watch. If you'd showed this to someone in 1980, they would have fallen down and worshiped you as a god," wrote Pogue. "But just throwing a bunch of trees into a pit doesn't make it a log cabin. And Samsung, sooner or later, will learn that it can't build a coherent device just by throwing features at it."
Pogue went to write that "nobody will buy this watch, and nobody should," but that once some device maker figures out the balance of "what a smartwatch should and shouldn't be ... the age of genuinely useful smartwatches will be upon us."
Two iWatch Models Coming Q4 2014
DisplaySearch, like Cantor, expects that time will be the fourth quarter 2014.
According to MacRumors, DisplaySearch has reported that for that time frame, Apple has two iWatch models planned, one with a 1.3-inch display and another with a slighter larger 1.6-inch display—both of them 320-by-320-pixel AMOLEDs.
The Oct. 9 report added, "Based on supply chain research, we believe Apple is planning to revamp nearly all of the displays in its products over the next year. This would indicate that Apple, once again, intends to count on display technology for new product innovation."
The quarter ahead of the iWatch, DisplaySearch expects Apple to launch an Apple TV, or iTV, and later this year a 9.7-inch iPad with a 2,048-by-1,536-pixel display.