There have been a handful of smartwatches from a number of manufacturers on the market for some time now, meaning the release of the Apple Watch sometime in the next few months makes it somewhat late to the wearables game. But because it's from Apple, its release is expected to kick the popularity of smartwatches up to a whole new level. In preparation for this forthcoming popularity, universities are already imposing bans on the wrist-worn devices out of fear they will be used for cheating.
As nearly all smartwatches available today are linked in someway to users' smartphones, they are essentially internet-connected communication tools. This applies to the Apple Watch as well. As a result, it can be very difficult to tell if someone wearing a smartwatch is simply checking the time or dismissing a notification when they interact with it, or receiving a message or information that could contain answers to a test.
As of now, most of the colleges that are imposing bans are located in Britain, including the University of London and London's City University. Unfortunately for students with traditional timepieces, the way these schools implement their ban is by requiring that all watches be removed during examinations. This is again related to the difficulty in quickly determining if a watch is really nothing more than a watch, or one of a number of uniquely styled mini-computers.
While it may seem unfair at first to require all students to take off their watches, whether they are smart or not, the policies actually are in line with how smartphones are usually treated in school environments. They aren't completely banned from classrooms at all times, and on those certain days when there is a test, they must be set to silent and put in a bag or something under the desk. For those students who really do need to keep track of time in those situations, there's always the clocks on the wall.