NB: Product rendering by Su Chew Lee—not an Apple product or concept
This past weekend saw a tantalizing glimmer of Apple news as major news outlets substantiated rumors of new developments regarding an iWatch. Citing reports of new innovations by Corning Glass, hiring trends and anonymous sources from within Apple and Foxconn, The Atlantic Wire notes that "The iWatch [would] compete with existing wearable devices like the Nike Fuel Band or the Pebble smartwatch." Reporting for the New York Times Bits Blog, Nick Bilton's sanguine prognostication concludes with a survey of extant wearable technologies, including Quantified Self accessories as well as Google's Project Glass. "Investors would most likely embrace an iWatch, with some already saying that wearable computing could replace the smartphone over the next decade."
Meanwhile, longtime Apple designer Bruce Tognazzini offers his discursive but interesting two cents on his former employer's foray into wearable technology, predicting that the device has the potential to be as revolutionary as the iPod or iPhone. His account depicts the iWatch as Apple's voice-controlled, NFC-enabled gamechanger, facilitating user authentication and mobile payments. (Tog also speculates about more utopian features such as real-time geolocation feedback based on pressure sensors—"the more sensors, the better.")
His account is certainly worth reading, but I can't help but think that most (if not all) of the "Most Useful Apps" that our esteemed forum members posted in a recent board discussion—an admittedly informal and somewhat biased sample—require a fully-featured device, either in terms of interface or the hardware itself.
Ewan Spence of Forbes.com is also skeptical of such a product, noting that it is nothing more than an update to the sixth generation Nano + third party watchband, as in Scott Wilson's now-iconic TikTok.
Yet the collective uncertainty about the device—measured optimism at best—only underscores the fact that the smartwatch has largely been conceived as an extension or variation of existing devices. Tog, for his part, imagines a host of unforeseen applications and behaviors... anyone else care to venture a guess?