Monday, January 20, 2014
My early iWatch predictions (further thoughts)
I have further thoughts on top of my earlier post after readings some recent posts about this alleged product.
Battery – As I said earlier, battery is gonna be the make-or-break factor for this product. Cuz, no matter how good the functions and the look of this product are, without good battery, it’s gonna be a piece of good looking junk. So, Apple has to be creative in making the iWatch battery last as long as possible and that would tie to my earlier comment that Apple would be very selective in putting functions on this device, the battery drain of those functions would probably be the deciding factor on whether they can be available in app store for the device. Some people are talking about kinetic charging, solar charging, remote charging with a pad or something. I think those are reasonable predictions. But, I think Jony Ive and the his hardware team in Apple would probably squeeze every single particle space of this device to store power and will come up with something very creative and functional at the same time. It might be in the belt, on the surface or something. Also, that would charge a premium. I think a speedy charger can only be viewed as a ‘make-up’ secondary effort, cuz a lasting battery should matter much more than asking the owner to put down the device for an hour. 24/7 on should be the goal of this portable device.
Screen – there are talks in the net about what materials are gonna be used for the screen. I can’t comment on that as it’s not what most consumer would care, instead its weight and durability from scratch matter more. Also, on whether the ‘bended’ screen technology would that be applied to iWatch, I would seriously doubt that. Just because it can be done, doesn’t make it convincing to be put in use. Bended screen could be good for a 100”screen TV to provide a surrounded visual environment to show 3D stuff. But, on our wrist is entire different matter. It may look cool for the first minute, but would that provide a good UI? I doubt it. You don’t want your left wrist to make ongoing ‘key-turning’ movement in order for your eyes to see and for your right fingers in operation. Also, don’t forget the glaring effect of the glass surface under sunlight or indoor light which would produce a ‘bright white band’ of reflection on a bended screen. It would partially block the view of the content. Does anyone aware of that? So, I would guess a flat screen would still be applied to the 1st gen iWatch. Also, that would drain less battery with a smaller screen and more room for battery. Last but not the least, as I said before as well, apps really matter here. There will be specific apps for the iWatch, but I would suspect that many 3rd party app developers would intend to twist their current iPhone apps and put it on the customized screen of iWatch. I’m not sure if a bended screen with weird dimension would be more preferable and easier to work on than a flat screen.
Functions – I think Apple would have a separate set of SDK for iWatch. At launch, only native apps from Apple and few selected 3rd apps will be available. The scope of what apps will be available in future would be different from iPhone and iPad. Cuz, unless battery technology has a breakthrough, battery drain could well be a factor in determining either its success or its chance to be put on the app store. I think the app for the iWatch would be a very interesting area. As many reporters or bloggers have said, multi-sensors will be in iWatch. Medical and health area would be the initial focus given the money pit in the fitness craze market. Certainly, much more can be done with the sensors. For example, besides the kinetic control of i-devices in future, providing alert for new message on notification center on iphone and the mentioned health check, it can be used for security. I.e. for verification of ID, tracking of people, making SOS request, etc., that is a big market for that. Of course, it is all limited by the battery power.
Final thoughts for now, as the CES this year has shown, wearable tech is supposed to be huge in the next few years. But, I think only few will do well. Think about currently what portable things that we take with us: hat, bags, belt, watch, necklace, rings, glasses, earphone, ear pieces, phone, wallet, clothes, pen for few people. That’s a lot! We don’t want to take that many things everywhere we go. Out of all those things, our wrist probably the prime real estate for exploration, so iWatch can succeed just because of where we would wear it. Based on the phone craze, many 3rd phone cases or shells were made and that’s a billion dollar industry. I think the iWatch will create the same. Perhaps more on the fashion accessory industry which may make special belt or gloves that allow iWatch to be tied on, or with some special bracelet attached. Money, money, money for sure!
Anyway, I’m not sure how much advice or ‘blessing’ that Steve Jobs had left for this product. But this one as a new product since his death for a world-watching new product category, everybody will watch this launch closely. Tim Cook really doesn’t have choice of failing. So, stay tune for fall 2014.