If you’re thinking that today’s big announcement from “unnamed sources familiar with the matter” surrounding the so-called “iWatch” is simply an expansion of what we’ve seen in the past with the iPods of old, you’re sorely mistaken. Instead the only possible course of action Apple will be considering is one in which they open up another new category of device. If Apple cannot create what I’m about describe as the “iCompanion”, their supposed “100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device” won’t deliver a market-ready device.
Today’s wave of unconfirmed leaked information comes from Bloomberg where they’ve suggested that the development team has gone so far as to list some specifications and features as the device approaches release later this year. This wrist-bound device is supposed to be able to make and receive calls – like a phone or with an attached headset, check GPS location on maps, and work as a pedometer. This device would also be able to connect with Bluetooth to your iPhone or iPad, of course.
Image via Patently Apple-discovered patent application for an Apple-made wristwatch band.
But it’s not a Pebble that Apple will be aiming for. The company has seen the success – or perceived mad interest – that devices like the Pebble have had over the past year. They’ve also seen countless wristwatch modifications and straps for the iPad nano before this year. Then with the birth of the Lightning connector and the iPhone 5, Apple edged away from the square shape and once again made a more rectangular design.
So the square is back up for grabs and the wristwatch design language can be used for Apple in a future release. Why else would a perfectly good little square be kicked back up to a taller machine in the iPod nano?
The device I’d like to suggest Apple is making here I’d also like to code-name iCompanion. With this device you’ll be able to connect to a wrist strap if you’d like, but it’ll be marketed more as a go-anywhere display that attaches to you rather than just riding in your pocket as the iPhone does. When you’ve got a smartphone, you either purchase a special case to attach it to your belt, or you keep it in your pocket or purse.
With iCompanion, you’ll have your handset much more readily available at any given time as it’s on you at all times, not just with you. You’ll find this device working with the iPhone and the iPad, but it won’t be marketed as a little helper. It’ll be its own little beast, capable of processing power hearty enough to handle everyday tasks on its own, without assistance from the phone or tablet.
In the release of the iPhone 5, we saw a re-dedication to the fine art of timepiece design for Apple. If it wasn’t clear enough with the iPhone 4, the two iterations of the 5 showed Apple’s team of industrial designers to keep the faith with fine metals and attention to fine detail. We can expect this and a whole lot more in this next-generation iCompanion, complete with the knowledge and understanding that, more than ever, people will be getting up close and personal with the hardware and the software alike.
Have a peek at the timeline below to get a cross-section of ideas and concepts that have lead up to this moment in what very well be Apple’s imminent future. Let us know if you’re pumped up at the idea of a wearable device from Apple, too!
Chris Burns is currently head editor for SlashGear and executive editor for Android Community. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he's responsible for editorial decisions made for the USA-based day-team of SG and AC and he uses an iPad 3 as a VCR. Follow him @ t_chrisburns and inside Google+ at http://chrisburns.co/+ for tech, gadget, and design news galore.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SlashGear