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Can Apple make a smart watch?

Jean-Louis Gassée, a former Apple executive and founder of the now defunct BeOS, has chimed in on the rumors regarding Apple’s plans for an “iWatch”. Mainly he suggests that it pushes Apple’s idea of a personal computer even further. Here’s a pertinent excerpt:

What really floats their [boats], what hardens Apple’s resolve is designing, making, and selling large numbers of personal computers, from the traditional desktop/laptop Mac, to the genre-validating iPad, and on to the iPhone — the Very Personal Computer. Everything else is an ingredient, a booster, a means to the noblest end.

Gassée goes on to note that all of Apple’s infrastructure, including their iTunes Store, retails stores, software, and even the Apple TV all work to back up the company’s core business and belief – the desire to create ever-more personal computers. Gassée suggests that the “iWatch” fill be Apple’s next step to personal computer nirvana.

He also believes that this would be far more interesting than the much-rumored Apple television set, and that the iWatch and Apple TV may not be “mutually exclusive”.

Overall, I agree with Gassée- an Apple-created watch would be more interesting that a television set, and Apple does create other products to further enrich their primary products. However, I don’t buy into the idea that a wristwatch form-factor would be best suited as a more personal computer.

I have no idea what a more personal, personal computer would look like, but the idea of fumbling with a watch on my wrist seems like an old and tired idea. Then again, maybe the tablet computer felt that way as well. Secondly, it feels to me that the technology needed is still some years out. Curved glass, fine. Super small microprocessors capable of powering modern application, probably. A enclosure that’s sleek, lean, and light, with all of this technology, still seems improbable to me.

Another option is for Apple to introduce a dumbed down watch with current technology, which wouldn’t at all be revolutionary, and would smack of Microsoft’s failed SPOT watches. A final option would be for the watch to have bare-minimum hardware on board, and rely on server-side data and services to supply the features. This would be less than ideal, because Apple really isn’t that great at server-side features as the need to be.

I think an “iWatch” is farther away from reality at the moment than most other analyst. Sure, it’s a fun idea, and perhaps Apple, of all companies, could pull it off.  But in the end I feel that technology is still a few years away from making such a device a possibility.

Would an Apple-created “smart watch” interest you? Do you think they could pull it off? We’d love to know what you’re thinking. Leave a comment below!


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  • FRED

    I WANT ONE!!!

  • iMike

    The time…no pun intended…is now! An iWatch is so needed right now!

  • The question is not – Can Apple make a smartwatch. The question is SHOULD they? I don’t think there’s a market for it. Sure people love their watches, and they love their iPhones, but I just don’t see people lining up at the Apple store for one – Otherwise everyone would be running around with an iPod Nano watch.

    Now, if Apple puts something together properly (like the FitBit or the Jawbone Up) and ties that in to a smart watch device, they me be on to something – but just a straight up watch is unlikely to go over well.