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What Are Your ^i_Watch Predictions?


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#1 tastywheat

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 06:17 PM

So, apparently we're on the cusp of Apple introducing a new product line that may have a significant influence on our relationship with technology.  I've been hilariously wrong in my previous predictions for the iPhone and iPad, so I thought it might be interesting to gather opinions before the main event occurring in the early hours of Wednesday morning.  Feel free to add iPhone predictions, though I'm not sure much as been left to the imagination with all the leaks.

 

This is a summary of what tech sites suggest to expect for the iWatch:

  • Curved OLED display, with two sizes likely to be around 1.5" and 2.5" respectively
  • Saphire material to protect from scratches
  • Extensive health monitoring sensors
  • 3rd party apps and iPhone integration
  • NFC payments
  • Poor battery life (1-2 days)
  • $399 max price point, entry level likely to be $199
  • 2015 release date

Noting particularly interesting revealed in that list besides NFC payments, given that arguably the most important feature is going to be aesthetics.  Unlike conditions before the iPhone and the iPad were released, I think a lot of really strong competition has emerged.  Google are currently dominating wearable tech with Android Wear and Google Glass, without any of the clumsiness that plagued earlier competitors of Apple products (remember the original Galaxy Tab?).  As a result, I'm not sure this release is going to generate the industry shockwaves of earlier product category introductions.  I said exactly the same thing after the iPad was introduced, so I don't have a reliable history with these predictions.

 

My predictions

  • Mobile payments will be the killer feature that sets it aside from Android Wear.  Apple will have used it's significant influence to bring payment processors together, in a way that would be difficult for Google
  • It'll be marketed as a device that helps you live a healthier life through exercise, fitness, and sleep monitoring (<- thing I'm most interested in)
  • The aesthetics will be minimalist, and likely controversial.  While the market is demanding round displays, I'm not sure they're necessarily the most functional option for a digital device.  Ive may choose to use one regardless, but I'd wager 70/30 on a rectangular (though maybe curved) display.  I think Ive will have attempted to re-imagine what a watch needs to be for the 21st century, so don't expect it to look like a traditional watch (<- my least confident prediction)
  • It won't have a camera.  Though useful as a barcode/QR reader, it adds redundancy, creates privacy issues, and is probably not a feature many will use.
  • It'll defer functionality as much as possible to an iPhone, to maximise battery life.  This could mean that you need to take your iPhone with you to track a run etc.
  • Battery life will be 2 days, but the charging solution will make the process relatively painless
  • The reason we haven't seen leaks is because it won't be available for at least a few months


#2 Chaos.Lady

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 06:32 PM

Okay - so because of the fact that titles forces capitalisation of each word in the title iwatch has become ^iWatch.

 

I think it looks better that way anyway. :P~


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#3 tastywheat

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 06:47 PM

Thanks Chaos!



#4 Nich...

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 08:16 PM

I spent this afternoon finally reading some more detailed early reviews of the moto 360. If it can combine decent aesthetics with at least 24 hrs of battery, I think it could be interesting.

My biggest issue with the smartwatches is ecosystem lock-in. I don't want to be forced to get a matching smartphone for whatever (if any) smartwatch I end up falling for.
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#5 tastywheat

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 08:29 PM

Yeah.  Unfortunately though, I think it's going to be an issue for the first generation, maybe even the second.  Apple of course will keep everything locked in, but I think Android Wear will evolve to support other platforms.



#6 Nich...

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 08:58 PM

If the leaked images of the Apple watch are even somewhat accurate, it looks like they'll probably be able to include a bigger capacity battery by virtue of 20-40% of the band being taken up with screen.
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#7 hulkster

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 11:04 AM

I think it looks good, my issue will be the pricing. New iphone 6 and iwatch will set me back around $2000 if I buy what I like.

Might stick with the Samsung S5 I think :)
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#8 The Tick

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 12:07 PM

As an owner of a Pebble (kickstarter backer here) I think I need to start with a rundown of what is wrong with it to provide the reason I am looking forward to Apple's offering.

 

1) The pebble is ugly

 

2) It's intrusive. I can't tell you how many times I am doing something on my phone when an alert pops up saying that my watch wants to connect - ignore or accept. If I accept, it takes me out of the app I was using to open the Pebble app. If I don't accept, I need to remember to go in and start the App (again).

 

3) It simply refuses to "work". Sometimes I get alerts, sometimes I don't. I'm sick of checking the bluetooth connection status continually to see if it's lost one of it's two sync methods.

 

I like the idea of a smart watch and as an iPhone owner, Apple's offering would seem to do what I wanted the pebble to do and look nice at the same time.

 

I intend to look at it before purchasing when it's out next year but I am looking forward to it.


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#9 Nich...

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 01:16 PM

I haven't had an exhaustive look at the release info yet, but my first thoughts are:

Battery life is going to suck. Apple didn't boast about how awesome it is cf Android Wear watches.
It's not a 2001-style Obelisk, but I just don't like square and rectangular watches. All first/current gen smart watches are probably doomed to being bulky, especially if you forgo eink displays like the pebble (TBH NFI how tall it sits off your wrist). But bulky and rectangular? Ew.

I'm not saying Apple need to go for full circle round like LG or Motorola, but I think it'd work better. That extra aesthetic kick would help make up for the terrible battery life we'll probably have for a while yet.
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#10 tastywheat

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 02:52 PM

Heh, so my predictions were actually pretty accurate, though I was wrong about the 'killer feature'.  I'd argue the communication features are the thing that is going to have the biggest impact on how the technology is integrated into our lives.  I'm sure it won't be long before similar features are added to Android Wear, but it was a genuine innovation from Apple's design team.  The GUI looks interesting, and something that could be easily adapted to round screens for a 2.0 release.  Having two sizes, and easily customised bands are obvious, but necessary features that will drive sales over something like the Moto 360.

 

It's a polished concept, so it will be interesting to see how well they're able to implement it in a mass produced version.  Battery life is going to create usability issues, and is probably the thing that will drive obsolescence in the first generation.

 

They've also set themselves up for the iPhone 6s.  Sapphire screens, force touch, better processor, 'taptic' feedback.  

 

I'm still on an iPhone 4 from 2010, which is getting painfully slow while running iOS7.  There's a lot of other good brands to choose from, but I'll probably stick with Apple for the iOS 8 continuity features.  Unsure about whether to go for the 4.7 or the 5.5.  I hate the idea of a phablet, but like the idea of iPad mini like features, and better battery life.  I'll wait till I can handle the devices before committing to a purchase.



#11 Nich...

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 05:48 PM

http://www.theverge....ch-battery-life

Sounds like daily charging indeed. Now to wait and hear just how much use you can squeeze into that day before you're wearing a bracelet.
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#12 tastywheat

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 06:35 PM

While a pain if you're traveling/camping/away from your charger at night, I actually think as long as it gets 18 hours of reasonable use, it's not going to be a serious issue for most users.  I take off my watch and put it on my night stand every night, so it's not much effort to connect a magnetic charging cable (though I would have preferred a dock a la Moto 360).  The downside is that it can't monitor sleep if it's not on your wrist, so you'll need to keep using a connected phone/watch under a pillow if you want to track this data.  This is where existing fitness trackers such as the Jawbone Up24 are currently leading, which can be worn for up to 14 days before needing to be charged.

 

The battery life issues are likely to persist to some degree with a gen 2 device, and will probably be resolved by gen 3 not by efficiency gains, but by shifting social norms that permit a bigger screen/battery combinations.


Edited by tastywheat, 11 September 2014 - 06:36 PM.


#13 .:Cyb3rGlitch:.

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 12:19 AM

I'm going to go out and predict that it'll be very different to what they showed. That interface they demo'ed is a UX nightmare. Very busy, very finicky zooming everywhere with a tiny crown, has functionality that's absurd (who looks at photos on a watch when you have a phone). I suspect Apple rushed out this presentation as a defensive measure for not being ready for the holiday season. They want people to wait and not get a Wear device. If that's not the case, this may very well be the point in time where Google becomes the main proponent for UX over function.


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#14 tastywheat

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 12:30 AM

The photos thing was either a very poorly thought out tech demo to show off the 'digit crown', or an indication that Apple without Jobs is losing it's focus.  Possibly both.  A relaxed focus is not necessarily a bad thing in every respect, but one of the things I admire about Apple is a narrow focus on design elements that matter most, and I'd be sad to see it watered down to an extent that time is wasted developing gimmicks.



#15 .:Cyb3rGlitch:.

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 04:56 PM

Wear/Watch visual comparison.


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#16 tastywheat

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 08:47 PM

 

"Google seems content with only a few lines of text OR one button per screen, while Apple seems to want to pack as much into a single screen as it can. It's almost the complete opposite of what you would expect from the two companies: Google built an airy, picture-heavy OS, while Apple built a more powerful, denser OS with an all-black motif."
 
Yup.  Pretty interesting role reversal.  

 

Scrolling through the screenshots, one of things that was increasingly apparent to me was how the square interface was better suited to much of the content we're likely to want to display on a smartwatch:

 

u0Kop5U.png

 

The red areas are not used, the yellow areas are of limited use.  The Moto 360 is arguably a more attractive 'watch', but I think one of the principal reasons for this attachment to circular designs is nostalgia, rather than utility.  It'll be interesting to see if this fashion changes as the adoption of smartwatches increases.

 

The more I think about it, the more I agree with the idea of a digital crown for fine inputs.  It's copping a lot of criticism, and some of this is justified when only considering it as zoom control  (and the previously mentioned photos app).  However, it seems the benefits outside of zoom are being overlooked.  

 

Touchscreens have become so prolific, that people have started to think that they're always the best way to interface with software.  I'm not so sure, particularly for devices with small screens. The clickwheel was kept as a feature of the iPod nano for 4 generations after the release of the iPhone, and these devices have aged minimally in the time that has passed.  My first generation Nano, despite being 9 years old, doesn't feel clunky, and the interface isn't necessarily any more primitive when compared to my 2010 iPhone 4.  The input was very well suited to the size of the display, the way the user interacts with the GUI, and the tactile feedback provided.  I think the same will prove true for the digital crown for scrolling, precise inputs (changing time, setting a timer, setting a fitness goal etc.), and to some extent adding an extra physical button dedicated for communication features.


Edited by tastywheat, 12 September 2014 - 08:47 PM.


#17 .:Cyb3rGlitch:.

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 09:02 PM

I'm not so sure about the crown. It's a tiny, fiddly wheel which has historically been a pain to use without taking the watch off. And if you wear it on your right arm... you're going to be covering the display while using it.


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#18 tastywheat

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 09:43 PM

The left or right handedness can be solved by switching the watch around, and rotating the screen to suit.  Sure, the crown and communication buttons will be reversed, but I don't think that will present issues.

 

How fiddly it is depends a lot on implementation.  Crowns are fiddly on traditional watches because of the size, amount of friction, and locked 'gear ratio'.  Software can make the input adaptive, feedback from the initial hands on vids suggest the friction is quite low (hopefully not so low that it's prone to bumping), and it appears both larger, and more prominently placed than on traditional watches.

 

On a round display, a rotating bevel might have been a more usable solution if implemented elegantly.



#19 Nich...

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 03:41 PM

I haven't worn a watch in over a decade to be critical of the comment, but I think the ars or verge review of the 360 talked about round watchfaces sitting better on the wrist, with respect to the bone structure of the wrist.

But yes, it's essentially sacrificing the side portions for the analogue watchface and not much else - unless round UI elements start being used, eg some of the fitness tracking in images from http://www.theverge....ept-photo-essay
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#20 Mademan

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 07:56 AM

Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere, but the company supplying the sapphire portion of the Apple Watch has gone into administration. I wonder where this leaves Apple? I did think it was strange that in this day and age, where Apple launches a product on the day of the announcement or within a few weeks, that they instead chose an unspecified "next year" release.

 

Source: http://www.gsmarena....-news-10030.php






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