What's Up With Apple's Coming iWatch?
Rumors surrounding the iWatch mention that Apple is allegedly talking with health care providers about making it work seamlessly with their systems so that users can track their health and fitness information, he said. "Apple looks at what would solve user needs, where other vendors put a device out and see what people will do with it," he said. Even Apple's acquisition of the Beats Audio and Music company in May could be tied into an iWatch feature, according to Gownder. "Maybe there will be an interaction between the watch and the headphones in a way," he said. "There are a lot of possibilities." Another mobile analyst, Dan Maycock of OneAccord Digital, told eWEEK that his early impressions of Apple's moves toward the smartwatch segment is that the company will likely bring its expertise, clean designs and clever features into smartwatches, changing them for everyone. "Apple tends to come in to a category and do it better than everyone else," said Maycock. "It's where they are going to disrupt the current wearables space. I think that some people are holding their breath to see what Apple does."What Apple will do well is choose a screen size and features that work well together, he said. "I think that some of these wearables today try to do too much and you're limited by screen size. Apple is pretty good at doing just enough." Maycock said he's not so sure that we'll even see the iWatch this year, though. "My money is on them launching it next year," he said. "Launching the new iPhone 6 alone is enough to get them through Christmas. My money is even if the iWatch is ready to go this year that they're going to wait until maybe around the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference [WWDC] or next summer, to space out the launches." Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told eWEEK that the market will be ready for Apple's entry whenever it arrives because so far smartwatches that have come to market have been lacking in features and functionality. Existing examples also suffer from poor battery life and nonintuitive or inelegant interfaces and screens, he said. "I think there are a lot of opportunities for Apple to come into the space and define the space and what a smartwatch would be," said King. "There are plenty of enthusiastic potential buyers out there." Apple has never really been good at creating markets, according to King, but the company is skilled at transforming existing categories. "Where they've tended to be successful the most is when they take a look at an existing market, subtract all the shortcomings of existing products and then deliver a really stunning product that solves all of those shortcomings," he said. "We saw it with MP3 players, in the smartphone market and somewhat in the tablet market. It will be interesting to see what Apple does. It always is." An eWEEK report on the coming iWatch back in June said it will likely include a display that measures 2.5 inches on the diagonal and is nearly square, and that Apple expects to ship 50 million units in the first year of the device's release.
The big question, said Maycock, is how many features the company will put into its first version of the iWatch. "They'll do 10 features to start and add 10 more each year so you'll want to keep buying these things," he said.