We’re less than 24 hours before Apple announces the next-generation iPhone(s) and its long-rumored wearable device. For the past week, I’ve been thinking about which direction I think Apple will go with its wearable. Here are some quick thoughts with just a few hours left to go.
I don’t think it’ll be called the iWatch. The word “watch” pretty much implies two things to me: First, that it’s only worn on your wrist and second that its primary function is to tell time. While I do think most people will wear this device on their wrist, I don’t think its primary function will be to tell time.
If it does have a display (and I think it does), I think it will be square-ish. Round displays are incredibly inefficient at displaying information. Below I’ve attached a couple examples showing maps (rumored) and how text would display. As you can see, it’s not ideal. I think the problem with many of these round smart watches like the Moto 360 is that they’re trying to be a watch first. Because of that, the experience of everything else suffers.
I think there will be some onboard storage to carry some music. Here’s the thing: If part of its primary focus is health, then music playback is probably in the cards. Let’s face it, listening to music while working out is a pretty popular thing to do. Whenever I go for a run, I almost always leave my iPhone at home and take a Nano with me. Why? Because the iPhone is still too big and I prefer not to strap it to my arm when working out. I also don’t think that it would make much sense if I had to wear Apple’s wearable andcarry my iPhone in order to listen to music and monitor my activity. The iPhone can do that on its own. I have my doubts that it’ll stream music given how much it would tax the battery, but I guess it’s possible.
I think it will come in at least three metal flavors just like the iPhone: Space Grey, Silver, and Gold.
I also think that you’ll have a variety of bands to choose from. Some may be arm bands (for working out), others will be wrist bands. I think the combination of various bands and metals will create combinations that can reflect a variety of styles. Think of the iPhone 5c. You know how there’s the colored body, the case, and the wallpaper? I think Apple’s wearable will have a similar approach. Change the face, the strap and you have a totally different feeling device.
Color is more than just a hue. It expresses a feeling. Makes a statement. Declares an allegiance. Color reveals your personality.
I think we’re going to see some celebrity athlete appearances tomorrow. Rumor was that Kobe Bryant met with Apple not too long ago. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him show off something there.
Last and not least, I think we see Marc Newson at some point tomorrow. Maybe it’s in the video, maybe it’s on stage. I’m not sure. I think he’s been helping Ive on this project for some time. In fact, given that he founded a watch company many years ago, I think he was specifically brought on to help with this.
Oh, and one more thing. I was looking through some of Newson’s watch designs, and the Ikepod Manatee looks particularly interesting. I’m not saying this it what it will look like, but it does fit the description of a square-ish watch that can adapt to different colors. Just Google search “Ikepod Manatee” and see how many variations can exist from the same body (silver).
You should also listen to our latest podcast where Don Lehman (an industrial designer) and I speculate on what’s to come.