I wear a watch every day, and it’s mostly a mix between an affordable Nixon I purchased a while back and a new WeWood watch my fiancé purchased for me this past Christmas. Both are cool watches, and both have one thing in common: they aren’t digital and neither offers any sort of smart watch features.
I’ve been OK with that and largely turned off from the idea of wearing a smart watch, although I know a lot of my colleagues in the industry are fascinated and pleased with products such as the Pebble. My biggest problem is that I don’t want something that needs to be charged and, largely, I like glancing at my watch to see the time and don’t want it bothering me with other alerts.
Oddly, however, I’m intrigued by recent reports that Apple is working on a smart watch of its own. Why? Because I think Apple has the money, the software and the power to execute such a product properly.
Design is going to be key here. I don’t want some plastic cheap-feeling gadget on my wrist. We know that Apple’s design team, led by Jonathan Ive, is top notch, and I suspect he’ll create something that will look good enough to wear at all times, whether it’s at the gym or in a business meeting. In my mind, that means we need at the very least a metal face, not plastic or rubber. I’m looking for a glass face, NFC support for quick sync over Bluetooth, the beautiful edges found on the iPhone and two colors: white and black (or just silver). I also expect a high-resolution screen, I don’t want to be squinting to see messages or the time.
iOS has the power to create a truly valuable smart watch. I want to see Siri as an option for responding to messages I receive. The Pebble is neat for alerts, but I want to respond using my voice and having the watch do the hard work for me. Clearly there’s no room for a decent keyboard, so it’s going to need to rely on voice input. That means there’s an opportunity for Apple to create a Google Now-style competitor, too. I want the watch to truly be smart. Give me the score of the Brooklyn Nets game, let me know when the game starts, even, and provide the weather for my location. A smart watch should also be able to leverage the location of my phone and tell me what kind of traffic I’ll have on the way home, or if I’m going to be late for my meeting. Google Now provides this for Android, and Apple can bring it to our writsts.
Look, I’m not buying a Rolex here, so Apple can keep costs down, but it’s also known for creating expensive products. I don’t think I’m going to want to pay more than $200 for this watch, although I suspect it will come in around $300 if Apple really wants to add in the technology I require. If executed properly, that’s worth it for me.
Apple can knock competitors such as the Fitbit and the Nike Fuelband by building those capabilities into a smart watch. It should be able to tell me how many calories I’ve burned, and incorporate other features already available in the Nike +iPod sport kit. Maybe Apple can create two watches, one for exercise at a cheaper level and another for more premium features, but I think it should create a durable watch that’s good for both scenarios.
The watch should at the very least include Bluetooth and NFC connectivity. If it’s truly smart, it should be able to pull information from my iPhone using the phone’s Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity options. As I mentioned earlier, it can also use GPS data from the phone for most tasks, although it might not hurt to have a separate sensor for times when we don’t have a phone on us (like while running).
I think if Apple incorporates all of the above options, it will have created a smart watch that I’ll at least consider buying. Battery life is going to be key, too, because I don’t want to charge my watch every day. I think a week long charge would be ideal, although the screen might require more frequent charging.
If it can’t execute on the ideas I’ve listed above, I may just stick to the far easier analog watch and use my smartphone for every other task.