Few experts seem to think Apple has another megahit product ahead of them. But I think the iWatch might be bigger than anyone imagines. You should keep in mind that I'm the oracle who predicted that no one would want an iPad. I repeated that prediction with the oversized phones from Samsung - the so-called phablets - and those are flying off the shelf too. So we know I suck at predicting consumer demand for gadgets. And while you might think I would be too embarrassed to make another prediction about consumer electronics, apparently I don't feel shame like normal people.

So let's get to it.

I've been holding off on buying a normal watch for the past several months because I'm fairly certain I'll get an iWatch if it ever hits the market. And when it does, ordinary watches will start to look the way flip-phones looked six months after the iPhone was announced. You're probably thinking an iWatch would be too geeky for any fashion-conscious consumer. But I think your old-timey standard watch will look like a butter churn in a few months. Fashion will require you to get an iWatch.

I see the iWatch as the next phase in our evolution to full cyborg status. I want my Google glasses, iWatch, smartphone, and anything else you want to attach to my body. Frankly, I'm tired of being nothing but a skin-bag full of decaying organs. I want to be the machine I was always meant to be. That prospect excites me.

But what excites me most about the iWatch is all the potential apps. Let's assume that the iWatch will be connected to your phone by Bluetooth. And let's assume the watch can measure movement. If you wave your arm in a figure eight, the phone senses it.

I'm also assuming the watch has a camera or two. I'd like one camera on the underside facing forward and one on the top facing forward, sort of where a wind-up stem would be on a standard watch. If you want to take a picture, just point your arm toward the scene and snap your fingers to operate the camera.

You'd also be able to control your environment with hand motions, like an orchestra conductor. Control the lights by pointing your arm toward the fixture and giving, let's say, the thumbs-up motion.

Likewise you can control everything from the television to video games to your heating and cooling just by hand motions, as if using magic. You would walk through your home like a wizard, with all of your electronics responding to your arm motions.

Your hand would also act like a computer mouse. Just move your fingers over the desktop to move the cursor on screen.

To make a phone call, just put your hand in the "call me" position as if holding a fake phone to your ear.

If you walk too far from your smartphone, the watch gives you a quiet alarm. That way you never leave without your phone.

If you want to wake up without bothering your spouse, the watch could have an alarm vibrator built in.

If you can't find your phone in the house, the watch would sense its direction and show an arrow on screen. Just follow the arrow to your phone's general direction. Ask the iWatch to find your phone and it sends a signal to the phone to make a continuous beep until found.

The watch could have sensors on the underside to monitor blood sugar, heart rate, and oxygen levels.

When I'm working in the kitchen, I often want to see an incoming message but I don't want to dry my hands. The iWatch would let me see messages even with wet hands.

When I want to add something to my to-do list, I can use my smartphone, but I generally don't because that means fishing it out of my pocket, and frankly that takes longer than I can hold most thoughts. But I would speak a to-do note into my iWatch just because it would be so accessible.

Imagine an app that lets you find compatible mates in public places. You fill out a dating questionnaire and your watch glows a certain color when someone compatible and available is in your public space. There are already a number of apps like that for your phone. The watch would add a level of fun because your friends could see your watch glowing too and be part of the fun.

Your watch could act like an emergency backup battery for your phone. Just plug a power cord between phone and iWatch and keep texting.

I would say my family misses 75% of all incoming phone calls even when our phones are nearby because they tend to be on vibrate. I even miss calls when my phone is in my pocket. The iWatch would be a huge improvement in not missing calls. I would buy the iWatch for that one feature.

Okay, that's my wish list. What apps would you want in an iWatch?

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Apr 30, 2013
!$%*!$%*!$%* with all sorts of electronic features used to be considered "the future", but smart phones have sort of taken over that role. I know someone who thinks that this is because of female consumers -- women carry purses around and therefore a phone is just another item to stuff into it, whereas men would go for something like a !$%*!$%*!$ if that were an option. As some people here point out, it's gone out of fashion for the younger generation, but I don't think that means it will stay out of fashion if a cool and multipurpose !$%*!$%*!$ appears.

Some of the features you describe already exist, of course. There are the exercise watches that tell you your heart rate and other such things when you're out on a jog or whatever. And that sort of doubles as another function too. I once talked to a woman who told me that she suspects her (male) jogging partner likes her, because at one point when he was talking to her, his !$%*!$%*!$ happened to be positioned so that she could see it, and she saw how his heart rate went up as they talked...
Apr 25, 2013
@Phantom II,
If you referred to DRAM as Core Memory in the 1980's, why not do the same today?

Our family got an Apple II when I was a kid (Christmas, 1978 as I recall), and I got an IBM PC XT when they came out -- must have been 1983 because we got a Macintosh in 1985, and we had the PC a couple years.

So, I thought I'd try to put your computers in a timeline I could understand... The IBM 1400 series (there was no IBM 1400 computer -- the first in the series was the 1401) was made in 1959. The last of the 1400's was made in 1963. Presuming the youngest you'd have been when working on such a thing is about 20, that puts you at least 70 years old. Unless it was a very old machine when you started working on it -- I guess they might have been used as late as 1970 when it would have been more of a university novelty than a business machine.

I looked up the IBM PC-2, only to find that no such thing was ever made. The IBM PC was made from 1981 - 1987, and the IBM XT was made from 1983-1987. Based on your 64KB claim (incidentally 64KBytes = 512Kbits, and IBM never made a personal computer with 65536 bits of memory) I'm guessing you had one of the later IBM PC's or earlier IBM PC XT's -- circa 1984.

However, I'm starting to think you're making things up or at least distorting them. Your model numbers are off, you're using pretty specific terminology incorrectly, and even if I try to accomodate for that, it looks like you were into your 40's when you bought your first personal computer -- Being that you were in a computer field, it doesn't sound like you were really an enthusiast.
Apr 25, 2013
Nah. We still called memory 'core' back then, even though it wasn't. But the first computer I ever worked on was an IBM 1400 that had 14K of actual core memory. It was real 'core,' in that a 1K board had 1,024 little magnetic donuts on it. There were three wires running to each donut - two to change the state and one to read the state.

Of course, there was no interactive capability. You'd write a program and then punch cards, take the card deck to the card reader, put a JCL card in front, and run it through. Then you'd look at the panel lights and see if your program ran. If you got into an infinite loop (such as trying to divide by 0), all the lights would come on dim, and you'd hit the 'kill' button to make it stop and spit your cards back out.

So when we started to get memory chips, such as in my old PC-2, we still called it 'core,' even though it wasn't. Oh, for the good old days, lol.
Apr 25, 2013
@Phantom II,
I'm pretty sure 64K is 8 times as many bits as you cite... And your IBM PC-2 almost certainly DID NOT use core memory, but nearly the same solid state memory we still use. Magnetic core memory was never used in personal computing, unless you're some kind of uber-geek hobbyist that removed your computer's memory chips and wired in some kind of controller to handle a loom with half a million hand-wired ferrite beads. (in which case, I humbly apologize and bow down at your feet)
Apr 25, 2013
I can't really add much to the comments here. I have also heard that younger people today aren't buying watches or cameras, but just using their phones. And I really can't see the advantage an iWatch would have over Google Glasses.

I agree that few experts think Apple has another megahit ahead of them. At the same time, I remember Apple from when it first started, and how often it was written off as a has-been. I remember when IBM introduced the first PC, and Apple ran an ad thanking them for 'legitimizing' the personal computer market. Everyone wrote Apple off. Now, they're one of the largest companies in the world, at least from a market cap perspective.

For you kids out there, my first computer was an IBM PC-2 with 64K of memory and an 8088 processor chip. Yes, I said 64K. For those of you unsure of the calculation, that's 65,536 bits of what we called at the time 'core memory.' And yes, you could actually run programs with that tiny amount of memory.

And, the thing cost me $5,000, complete with a CGA monitor (probably about $20,000 today). It was a real challenge to talk my wife into letting me buy it. But I was in sales. But I owed her big-time. She's still collecting on that almost thirty years later. A lesson to the newlyweds out there.

You did ask a question about what apps I'd want on an iWatch. One good thing would be an app that tells the time. Quite a radical concept for a watch.

Since the watch attaches to your wrist, you could have an app that gives you a shock instead of a ring tone. You could designate the amplitude of the shocks in the order in which you want to (or don't want to) take a call from someone. In the latter scenario, the mother-in-law shock would probably electrocute you, so that one is probably not a good idea.

For those who wish to keep their location a secret, how about an app that would send a false GPS location, such as from a library, when you were actually at a strip club. Lots of men could use that one. Not me, of course, in case my wife is reading this.

Overall, Scott, I'd recommend that you just go buy the watch. You can afford it, and you can wear different watches depending on the occasion. My everyday watch is a Casio Pathfinder, because I'm sort of a nerd. It has all sorts of cool (to me) features, such as altimiter, thermometer, compass, phases of the moon, current tide level, stopwatch, timer, etc. It's also solar powered and sets itself daily (yes, it tells the time, too) from the time signal sent by the National Bureau of Standards radio station WWV and WWVH.

I also have a dress watch, a diving watch (Zodiac Super Seawolf), a watch for when the dress watch is being repaired, and a few assorted other watches I've accumulated over the years. To me, you can never be too thin (I'm not), too rich (the same), or have too many watches.

But that's just me. Because I'm not a kid. You're welcome.
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Apr 25, 2013
You know for anyone "waiting" for a smart watch, do you realise that Sony has already made an android version? It has been on the market for months, but I think the google glasses are a much better idea for cyborg enthusiasts
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Apr 24, 2013
I think they're doing it, and I agree it will be a big hit.
I'm not sure it could accurately recognize hand motions as you describe - and the utility of doing so would be limited by convenience (it's not as discreet as surfing on your phone beneath a conference table or on a bus/subway), and the ability to interact with other devices. The interactive house you describe has been technically viable for decades, with voice commands at least, but it requires integrating your lighting, heating, electronics, etc into a master system.

To be most useful, it won't be particularly svelte, but the good news is that large, chunky watches are already in style now. Also, I suspect that to maximize its computing power, interface, and battery life, it might interact with your iPhone, which could do the heavy lifting for it while remaining in your pocket or bag.

Apps: If Apple does its job well, then the best apps will end up being ones I'd never think of. Or perhaps developers will figure those out.
Apr 24, 2013
I quit wearing a watch when I was pretty young. And at the time, I had a cool (disclosure: I'm a nerd) calculator/ databank/ remote control watch. Bottom line is that I don't like having an electronic device on my wrist. It interferes with stuff I do with my hands -- like wash them. Back when we didn't have other time-keeping devices, I guess it seemed pretty convenient, but since we all have cellphones anyway, I don't see Apple doing much to revive this market.

Frankly, I think the real shocker is that nobody is seriously building consumer Androids. At this point, it's a software problem, with the hardware challenges mostly solved. Sure, Honda has the $100,000 Asimo (not in production for consumers). But hobbyists (like Gael Langevin) are putting 3D printable designs online for $1000 - $2000 human-sized fully-articulated androids (look for the InMoov). If hobbyists can 3D print these out and assemble them in a few days for a couple thousand dollars, why aren't businesses taking an interest? Surely mass-produced, the parts would be in the sub-thousand range, and with labor, no more than $1500 total. Good profit even at $3000 each... and want to chit-chat about a market for apps? Holy crap!
Apr 24, 2013
You shouldn't watch the Futurama parody of the "eyePhone", or you might get a bad idea from that as well.

One problem I see is that you would STILL be a decaying skin-bag of organs, just one with some pretty packaging. Why not have the strength of your convictions and start replacing body parts? I mean, why wear an iWatch when you could have an iHand, or better yet an iArm? That would solve any issues of power since the battery could be larger. Maybe we could even figure out how to draw power from your circulatory system by exploiting temperature differences.

Some other ideas to consider:
- Tiny membranes that would take video when exposed to light, to help solve the problem of temporarily losing sight of the road if you sneeze while driving, or to wake you up if you fall asleep behind the wheel. It could also record boring lectures, a boon to sleepy college students everywhere. I give you, the iLid.
- A protective covering for your, er, junk, which would normally be flexible cloth but would harden if it detected a swift movement in its direction; say, from a football, or your toddler's head. This would be a great relief for men everywhere, though it would sadly have the unintended effect of putting "America's Funniest Videos" out of business. Ladies and gentlemen, the iCod(piece)!
- Why just go with accessories? An electronic wetsuit would have many, many advantages. One, you could stop having to decide what to wear. The waste heat it generated would keep you warmer than long underwear in the winter, and would protect your skin from the sun in the summer. Strategically placed cameras would mean no one could ever sneak up on you, a bonus for the perennially paranoid. I call it, the iBod.

Knowing Apple, you wouldn't get the choice to just buy one; they would come as a packaged set, and you couldn't use one without the others. I don't know what they would call it, but to me, it would always be the iSore.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 24, 2013
"Frankly, I'm tired of being nothing but a skin-bag full of decaying organs."

And your solution is to add some toxic waste?
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Apr 24, 2013
So...you have to buy a matching iHouse, wear a watch in bead and constantly hold your arm still?

I'm just hoping the battery lasts more than a couple of days.
Apr 24, 2013
If we are all turning into Cyborgs I claim shotgun on Model #13. Originally there were 12 Cylon models but those were so yesterday.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 24, 2013
As iWatch would be gadget with a direct constant contact to your skin, it should finally address a huge problem - sexual satisfaction. All those iPads/smartphones solved so many issues we even did not know we had, but this age old HUGE issue has been ignored.

As far as I know, the only appliance for such purpose is a !$%*!$%*! 1) how outdated is that?? 2) only for women (mostly) 3) I guess most people would not use it for same reasons I never had - mixure of feeling that it would be pathetic, disgusting and funny (funny does not go well with sexual satisfaction).

iWatch should be able to send certain electric impulses to appropriate parts of the brain to make you feel satisfaction: from being mildly aroused to completely content to outright wild orgasm.

One could activate the function at wish, or could, for example, set on alarm clock and be awakened every morning by some nice feelings. It would be a nice start for a day.

Apr 24, 2013
After reading this blog entry it is clear to me why the marketing guy would not get ideas from real consumers. :-)
Apr 23, 2013
I think the gestures idea wouldn't be as useful as you think it would, much like Siri voice isn't as useful as we thought it would be. It has it's places but for the most part you wouldn't want to speak/gesture in mixed company out of embarrassment alone. You can look at how successful gesture navigation is on the Xbox Kinect to get an idea of how useful it really is (answer: not much).

I also think a watch battery wouldn't provide a useful amount of additional power to your phone and would conversely negatively effect your watches battery life in a way you wouldn't like if you were using the watch as much as you think you will.

Other than that all those ideas exist or are likely to exist. I have one of the Pebble smart watches and I can tell you it isn't as great as it could be. Part of that is more related to how Apple currently implements the connection so that can be fixed with software. I also think Apple could do a much more impressive device though the Pebble isn't bad for a first gen iWatch.

I think the killer app will be Siri implementation. If we can get past the douche-bag impression that bluetooth earpieces give (and that Google Glass gives in spades) then watch/phone/earpiece could really change things.
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 23, 2013
The two things that would be most important for me are ergonomics (most watch bands chafe my wrists) and getting rid of my phone. Basically I don't want an iWatch, I want a wristcomp/phone. I realize it would be harder to hold up to my ear, but I don't want to hold it to my ear. I want to see the person I'm talking to (videophone) or look up things while I talk. Speakers were a big energy hog compared to older phones, but the high power consumption chips of modern smart phones make better speakers less of an issue. The only down side is that it would be harder to make phone calls in public places, especially about private things (and I think that is an upside too!!!)
Apr 23, 2013
I read somewhere that they've just discovered how to get 30 times the battery power/life out of lithium ion. That would change the game.

My top ten useful additions...
1. Context sensitive listening - the answers to any questions could simply come up on the watch. Or Wikipedia etc. on the subject.
2. A small projector underneath, projecting into the flat of your hand. Hold a piece of paper and you have a screen.
3. Wireless charging. Simply rest your arm on the desk and let the watch charge as you work or read.
4. Facecheck - simply raise your arm and the watch can tell you you need to brush your hair, fix your makeup or do up your button.
5. Breathcheck - hold the watch to your face and breathe - it will tell you whether a mint is advisory.
6. Perspiration check - checks out your armpits etc. for undesirable odours.
7. What would Wally Do? - in any situation pops up a screen with what Wally would do at this point. Could be configurable so we could choose a pointy-haired boss app, Dogbert, Alice or Dilbert, depending how we feel.
8. Transport approaching - shows you how far away your train or bus is on a Google Map so you can see it arriving in real time. You could also set this up with anyone else you are meeting who also has an iWatch/phone so you could see them arrive (or, if you're like me - hide).
9. Snorestop - vibrates if you start to snore (while wearing the watch) to wake you up.
10. Wakeup - when you fall asleep on trains etc. it can wake you up when you get near your stop.
Apr 23, 2013
Even better with full AR glasses- s e x with anyone you want!
The hard part would be getting them to put on the glasses...
Apr 23, 2013
I remember, some 30 years ago, in my then little backward communistic country, the digital watches became very popular hi-tech must-have piece. They were smuggled here by Vietnamese workers - Casio brand was commonest - and sold on black market. And now, I can look forward to revival of digital watches? Equipped with Bluetooth and an operation system... but basically still just digital watches (maybe combined with a toy). LOL. I will not buy it this time either.
Apr 23, 2013
Not sure an iwatch is needed. Everything I want would be in a full AR (augmented reality) headset- google glass on steroids. Cameras on the headset would sense your hand/finger positions for gesture control, face recognition with brief biographies would be automatically supplied in your field of view or whispered in your ear. Senses would be augmented- perfect sense of direction, infrared and other radiation mapped to your visual range, ability to sense electrical fields, light pollution and atmospheric distortion filtered out so I could get a near perfect view of the night sky. Advanced situational awareness- it scans your environment, evaluates all objects/people/animals for potential threats and alerts you or advises you on avoidance. The potential seems almost unlimted to me.
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