Published: May 12, 2014
Apple has well established product lines so a good place to start is to look at what Apple already offers and figure out where the gaps lie. They already have the iPhone, so there’s little reason to believe they are looking to create another device that acts like a phone and the same can be said about a music or TV device, they already have the iPod and Apple TV.
Another thing we try to keep in mind is that as a technology company, Apple is in the habit of creating products that are designed to be replaced every few years. This allows for additional feature iteration overtime. The problem with watches is that when people spend more than few dollars, they expect them to last them forever; they will them to their children. But, no one is looking to inherit their Grandma’s iPhone 3G.
Only within the past few years have people started carrying mini-computers in their pocket or purse wherever they go. Today, we’ve gotten to the point where everyone has a smartphone or tablet accessible to them 24/7. So how do you improve on that, how do you revolutionize in an arena that is already saturated? Wearables.
Regardless of what the Apple haters may expose, Apple is not a fashion company. Perhaps Apple is looking to enter the fashion market, who are we to judge. But we certainly have our doubts. This would be a much bigger leap than them entering the TV business, which also seems increasingly unlikely.
Apple entered the wearable market years ago. As proof, we look at the group of people who have been wearing their iDevices for years. Since the typical workout wardrobe doesn’t have a lot of pockets and this group appreciates blocking out the grunts of the muscle head staring at themselves in a mirror, Apple released the iPod Shuffle. And third parties have been releasing arm-band cases for the past few generations of iPod Touches and iPhones.
If Apple’s new device isn’t a watch, what is it? The predictions are swirling, but we think instead of yet-another watchband with a touch screen, the new iDevice will more simplistic; a touch screen that docks into a watchband. That’s it, just another albeit smaller touch screen. And while initially that may seem underwhelming, we find the distinction leads to an amazing range of possibilities.
So stop the press, our imaginary insider sources have confirmed it, you’re hearing it here first! The new iPod Touch Micro with Smart Band Technology™…OK, so while our made up source doesn’t quite have that name right, this is what we believe the new device to most resemble.
A Wearable Device
So while we do agree that the new Apple device will be a wearable, calling it a watch will be quite an understatement. To reiterate, rather than a watch that has a touch screen, Apple is going to release a tiny iPod Touch-like device that clicks into a wrist band.
But why stop at wristbands? Arm bands are just as likely, so are smart glasses. So while the standard wristband will allow the device to contain the feature set of your average timepiece while maintaining the sleek simplistic form we’ve come to expect from an Apple device, the device will not be limited to a fate as just another wrist watch.
But what about the bio-metrics? We’ve seen it in a lot of the predictions. If the device clicks into a band, how do all those biometrics hires play into it? By a smart band of course. Smart bands are the only logical way to engineer what is essentially medical equipment. Keeping the electronics isolated to the band, means they can have their own wear and tear schedule apart from the watch.
When we stop to think about what this will allow, we cannot stop pondering limitless possibilities.
- The bands can be sized and styled to the user rather than the one style fits all approach that Pebble and FitBit use. For those that are looking to stay fashionable, they will be able to accessorizes with any number of colors and designs wearing a different band each day of the week; color coordinating with their shoes if that’s their thing.
- The band can have it’s own built-in sensors and processing making it a smart band. This allows greater use for those that need or want specific biometric features that would be too expensive to include by default, creating a limitless number of sensors and combination of sensors that meet the specific need of the user. So while not everyone has a need for glucose testing, those that do would gladly pay a premium.
- For those looking for longevity, a band could contain additional battery capacity and solar charging cells.
- Allowing the device to be removable it will be easier to recharge the device and since the band is the fashion, or the smart band has its own sensors, removing the main device will not affect the users state of fashion or stop their collection of precious biometric data.
- Putting the sensors on the band also means the band can have a shorter lifespan as it can be easily replaced. It might also allow the band to fall under medical equipment and allow the device to be covered by existing medical plans.
This is the kind of thing only Apple can pull off. They are the only player big enough that can be assured third parties will be happy to jump in and make fashionable bands and third party accessories. Some of these will be thousands of dollars more than the device, but most will remain in a more reasonable price range.
Out of the box the first version of the product will contain a smart band of some flavor most likely with some basic pulse monitoring and temperature sensors. And while there may be some second party developers, Nike seems like an obvious partner, this initial release will not be open; oh how the Apple haters will howl about this, but there simply isn’t time. Apple would need to have the tools finalized for general release, which would take away precious time needed to perfect the device itself.
Everyone’s trying to read the tea-leaves and while they’ve yet to reveal anything definitive, there is every indication that the announcement of a new iDevice is imminent. We believe it’s unlikely to be a watch but do expect it to have watch-like features. Like a car phone, a smart watch only serves a small subset of the population for which it is economically prudent to purchase an expensive singular purpose device. The form factor of a wristwatch is also too limiting, both in scope as well as customer base.
We don’t know when the device will be released, we don’t know what it looks like, what it will do or what it will be called. We may be completely wrong, but no more wrong than anyone else. And like most we will continue to monitor the rumors and we hope to be wowed and surprised when Tim Cook stands up on stage and announces to all of the haters their new most disliked product.