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back to article The iWatch is coming! The iWatch is coming!

The Apple iWatch rumor mill has rumbled to life yet again, with one report that Apple is sampling 1.5-inch OLED displays for the li'l fellow, and a second that long-time iKit assembler Foxconn has received orders for a test batch of the "wearable computing" device. On Monday, MacRumors spotted an article in the Japanese Apple- …

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Anonymous Coward

Wow, another story about the iDontCare, or iCouldntGiveACrap, whatever it ends up being officially called.

Can't wait to be shouted down by the iFans but honestly I see more people giving up their iStuff than buying new. It is getting old.

Welcome to the iRevolution

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Liar, you care enough to actually read the story and post about how much you don't care.

You know what I don't care about, network infrastructure, android, why the sky is blue, and how can you tell? I don't post on articles about them saying I don't care, because I never bothered to read them.

The reality is you care a lot, so fail for the liar.

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WTF?

Someone doesn't care about network infrastructure?

You liar, everyone loves network infrastructure!

Steven R

PS: Can't see a usage model for a watch-phone combo if I'm honest, but then I didn't see a model for a tablet.

After buying a (halfway decent one) I still can't, but plenty of other people seem to like 'em....if it filters down some shiny new tech, then I won't grumble.

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@owen

I think you'll find he probably didn't read the article.

Neither did I, I stopped at MacRumours on the second paragraph and went looking for the flame war

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Re: @owen

You are correct, I saw multiple links to multiple snippets of non-news that my brain just barfed.

Sorry, iNews, iBarfed

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Re: Someone doesn't care about network infrastructure?

Remind me to show you my MetaWatch next time I'm in your neck of the woods.

I got one simply because I liked the idea of a watch that I could develop custom code for. Like you, I din't really see a need for such a device. However, it does serve a useful function. It might be because I'm not permanently tied to my phone like the yoof of today. Glancing at a watch is much more convenient than digging my phone out of a bag.

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Convenience more or less equals utility.

"Can't see a usage model for a watch-phone combo"

There's a parallel with the move from pocket watches to wrist watches - no real change in functionality but a great one in convenience and that would be enough to make them sell.

If it is Apple v Samsung in this market too, will the Reg coverage come from the wrist watch writs watch desk?

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Re: There's a parallel with the move from pocket watches to wrist watches

Except that a wristwatch is big enough to display the time, a display smaller than a smartphone is going to struggle to display much more with any degree of usability. Remember calculator wristwatches? The interface was just about usable, their appeal was limited to geeks, and everyone else carried on using their pocket calculators. If you want a wearable smart device you can just hang a phone around your neck.

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@Owen Ashcroft

"Liar, you care enough to actually read the story and post...."

Hey simpleton, I don't care about iThings and I read the article and comments. The Reg articles sometimes contain amusing references to fanboyism. Can you comprehend that some people like myself enjoy watching fanboys go nuts over their beloved inanimate objects? (not just apple fans) I must thank you for your outburst responding to a troll, it was amusing enough to respond.

What kind of moron would buy an iWatch anyway? Oh wait captive audience! Have you seen those happy clappy people in blue at a product launch in a shop! lol

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Re: @Owen Ashcroft

>Except that a wristwatch is big enough to display the time, a display smaller than a smartphone is going to struggle to display much more with any degree of usability

Okay, just a partial list of things that could be easily displayed on a watch without a fancy display:

-The time

-A direction to a waypoint - like a traditional compass

-Notification alerts - could be done with a single RGB LED - different colours and flashes denote different alerts, much like the one on your phone does.

-4 digit Numerical data sent from your phone - time to next train, custom countdown timer, average speed, distance to waypoint, altitude

Even little bits of information like these might be useful if they can be consulted without removing your phone from your pocket (or in some circumstances, a waterproof pouch in your rucksack)

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@dougal83

Hmmm

Owen thinks differently to dougal83.

Dougal83 responds with a diatribe of spittle-laden invective mocking anyone who doesn't toe the dougal line and calls them morons.

What a wonderfully reasoned discourse:- obviously proves that poor Owen should tremble before Dougal's mighty discerning intellect.

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JDX
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display smaller than a smartphone is going to struggle to display ... with any degree of usability

People said texting on a touchscreen would be lousy and not catch on, too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Someone doesn't care about network infrastructure?

"PS: Can't see a usage model for a watch-phone combo if I'm honest, but then I didn't see a model for a tablet."

Bill Gates saw a "usage model" for tablets, but if just didn't work with Windows at that time. Way before the plagiarists Apple.

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Re: display smaller than a smartphone is going to struggle to display ... with any degree ...

Well, it is lousy - and in spite of this it caught on.

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Trollface

Re: @dougal83

@Ted Treen

First off thanks for recognising my superiority complex. You will go far in this world with your keen eye Super Ted. I do fear I commited blasphemy by poopooing a rumoured iDevice and caused offence in the process. Oh well life goes on. You can take off your blue t-shirt and give your hands a rest now.

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Pint

Another Bluetooth & Wifi gadget a lá les Googgles?

Or are people expecting it to be equipped with a built in mobe?

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Re: Another Bluetooth & Wifi gadget a lá les Googgles?

The semi-mythical Pebble uses Bluetooth to connect to iPhone / Android.

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Re: Another Bluetooth & Wifi gadget a lá les Googgles?

The new version of Android shown off last week brings support for the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol to the OS for the first time- though some Android Samsung devices already have the hardware. More recent iOS and Nokia WinPho devices already support it, as does the Casio G-Shock BLE watch - with a claimed battery life of 3 years based on twelve hours connection per day.

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Anonymous Coward

ours will be 2.5 inch

and pulsating when members of the opposite sex initiate visual evaluation of its girth. Yeah, baby! - said the Samsung CEO in his canned statement.

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Trollface

Re: ours will be 2.5 inch

Haha! And maybe the fact that's it's juddery an dhas invisible buttons that make it "go back" quickly will be an advantage this time.

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Anonymous Coward

This doesn't make a lot of sense

The most important attribute of a watch is convenience. An important part of that is battery life. Things that are both unnecessary and would kill battery life are:

- any display other than eInk

- a processor with sufficient grunt to run a full sized OS

- sufficient RAM to run a full sized OS

All that is needed is a micro kernel running on a low power microcontroller, E Ink display, wireless comms to let the smartphone do all the processing and the biggest battery you can get away with. Capacitive switches around the edge would be an effective alternative to a touch sensitive display

Why would they build a watch that runs iOS and uses OLED? It would need recharging every day.

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"It would need recharging every day."

This must be the reason why smartphones proved to be such a flop.

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Re: "It would need recharging every day."

Wouldn't this be a good use of wireless charging? Its unlikely Apple will put a dock connector in the thing, even the new smaller dock connector is pretty big compared to a watch. Take it off at night and set it on a charging pad next to your bed.

I wouldn't think you want a watch that needed charging EVERY day though, because who wants to take a charging mat with them when they travel. So a week's battery life would be a good compromise, any longer and you'd need a find a way to charge it (is it possible to do so through a headphone jack?)

I don't think a week's battery life is a problem. The screen needn't be on all the time, it could come on with a touch or maybe by waving your arm in a particular way (hopefully not a way that makes one look too silly) Ditto for the CPU, it would be idle 99.9% of the time, since it isn't exactly going to be calculating pi when the screen is off.

One of the big consumers of battery in phones is the cellular and wifi modems. This would have neither, and use only Bluetooth or some similar short range technology to talk to your other device, so it would also be idle most of the time.

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Joke

"It would need recharging every day."

Well, just give it an onboard gyro-powerplant and the fanboi wrist-action will keep it fully charged. All. Day. Long.

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Re: "is it possible to do so through a headphone jack?"

yes.

The old(ish) iPod shuffles both charge and sync through the headphone jack.

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Re: This doesn't make a lot of sense

There were similar posts prior to the release of the iPad and iPhone. The thing Apple have learned to do really well is address exactly the kind of questions you have put on that list then test and refine until they have something enjoyable to use. They won't use focus groups which they see as a distraction from innovation (one of Steve Jobs' favourite quotes was Henry Ford, "If I had asked people what they wanted they would have replied 'faster horses.'") but instead will have a core team using the prototype product continually and asking themselves the question "is this something I love to use." If they have retained Jobsian disciplin then if they bump against an ugly reality - such as insuficient battery life, they will either work really hard to resolve the problem, or they won't release the product.

Part of what Steve Job's brought is the ability to say "no, it's not good enough." The problem most companies have when innovating new products is that people become overly invested in the product and due to time spent and career politics, will doggedly stick with something even when it starts to become obvious it is a bad idea or badly implemented. Even worse, the executives who approved the product R&D budget spend also tend to become similarly invested. Added to this is the tech press clamouring for something new from Apple as though it is a failure if tech doesn't mature quick enough to unloock entire new new markets with drum beat regularity (which has always been a faintly preposterous notion). So personally, unlike most others, I see it as a sign of strength if they can filter out the noise *refrain* from launching new products and have the disciplin to wait until the tech is mature enough (when they have to wait) and work really hard to improve the tech where they have the capacity to do so (famously Steve Jobs was a very good whip cracker, pushing others on to exceed even their own expectations).

They will have come up with some solutions to the questions posed about battery life etc. Perhaps motion sensing algorithm, tuned to switch on the display when movement matching some "intention signalling" pattern indicates the user is looking at the watch. Who knows. But it's clear this will be a big test for the post Jobs era team. Will they have succumbed to external pressure and release a product too early, or will they show they have retained the disciplin to release when the product is ready and one that users can really enjoy using it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This doesn't make a lot of sense

"Why would they build a watch that runs iOS and uses OLED? It would need recharging every day."

Like the crappy iPhone!

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FAIL

Re: resolve the problem, or they won't release the product

Like iOS 6 maps, you mean?

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Re: resolve the problem, or they won't release the product

It may have escaped your notice, but the executive responsible for the maps fiasco was unceremoniously dumped for his failure.

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Re: resolve the problem, @SuccessCase

"It may have escaped your notice, but the executive responsible for the maps fiasco was unceremoniously dumped for his failure."

I did enjoy your longer post above, which was excellent. But on this point you're wrong. A scapegoat was found, and sacrificed, and most of the guilty remain on fat salaries.

It wasn't a one man decision to junk the relationship with Google - that would have been boardroom stuff with much debate. The release of an essential product like maps, again, not one man's say so. The Apple Maps fiasco is a product of the post Jobs management preferring to play politics and lawsuits in preference to focusing on product, product & product. And you can see that with their maps product it was poor quality, rushed and under-resourced, with woefully inadequate testing. And they knew these things - this wasn't a cheesy immature startup, it was big corporate management with huge software and product development experience, yet knowing that their maps weren't as good as competitors, they still went ahead. Because pissing off a few customers didn't matter as much to their egos as thumbing their noses at Google.

Jobs didn't always get it right, and personally I won't touch Apple stuff, but in this case I don't think he'd would have made this mistake.

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Re: resolve the problem, @SuccessCase

@Ledswinger. I didn't make that remark off the cuff. You're making the assumption Apple wanted to do their own maps app as distinct from wanting to avoid being forced to incorporate advertising in a maps app from Google.

The evidence goes against that.

A few points:

- The contract with Google for maps data supply was up for renewal, so Google could change the terms.

- Google were withholding access to the turn-by-turn directions API from Apple (Apple developed and maintained the maps app, though of course it was little more than a window onto the Google app)

- Google were withholding access to vector based maps, which are much higher performance (and consume less bandwidth - so this was for sure a political point not based on costs)

- Google started charging an arm and a leg for access to the volume mapping API (there was an outcry at the time from their established web customers, and they later reduced the newly introduced wholesale charges by an order of magnitude

Apple's position was that Google themselves wanted to provide maps to iOS and that therefore they were not going to a) pay for the maps data for what is a free app , b) be forced to take adverts (there is of course no way Apple would settle for such in a stock iOS app). In this context both parties were negotiating a position and both parties were free to horse-trade and or be aggressive in their approach. It is clear however Apple saying "we'll build our own" is not a decision they made in a vacuum or necessarily because they wanted to be in the mapping business per-se. Divining the motives of men (or corporations) is an idle task.

In the event Google have produce the maps app for iOS on the terms Apple were, reportedly, requesting in the first instance (e.g. not charging for wholesale data access, incorporating vector maps, and not incorporating adverts), so it could be said the evidence points to Google playing politics equally, if not more than Apple (though as said, divining motivations is an idle task).

Lastly Scott Forstall was the senior executive fully in charge of the maps project. It was IMHO appropriate he should have apologised for the debacle surrounding the low quality of the release. However responsibility was not shirked by other management, because, in the event, since Mr Forstall felt disinclined to apologise for the debacle, Tim Cook did what any man next up the tree should do and apologised unequivocally himself. I don't feel Forstall, reportedly sticking two metaphorical fingers up at Cook, and leaving the apology to his boss quite qualifies him as a poor unfortunate collared to be scapegoat. A scapegoat has no reason to feel the stab of the dagger on the sacrificial altar. Forstall would have avoided the altar altogether if he had stepped up for what, given his position, a quite reasonable mea-culpa.

Not sure I can be wrong on this any more than you, since I think it is a matter of opinion. However hopefully you now see I don't just express my opinions thoughtlessly.

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An iWatch will be a tough sell...

They probably won't be able to include the 3g/4g data connectivity in it, at least without it weighing a ton or having crap battery life. So you'll still need a phone (even if you could somehow use a watch to do all the other things you do with a smartphone) - of course you'll still need a phone, otherwise sales of the iWatch would cannibalize iPhone sales.

The only thing I can think of for it is for notifications, or an alarm if you leave your phone behind. But neither of these require an OLED display - you can do it just fine with LEDs. Indeed, there are at least two kickstarter projects for a bracelet with LEDs and bluetooth in it, to do notifications and warn you if you've left your phone behind (here's one: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/embraceplus/embrace-a-smart-piece-of-wearable-technology ), and another one to do the same thing with your wallet.

In order for Apple to justify the costs associated with the OLED display and the Apple brand, Apple is going to need to do something really cool /and useful/ with that OLED display. And I just don't see any functions like that.

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The problem with an iWatch

Is that given Apple's demographic for the iPhone which has most of their present customers either need reading glasses now, or will shortly. One would presume the audience for the iWatch is even older, given young people's tendency to go watchless now. Who the hell wants to have to put your reading glasses on to look at your iWatch?

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Go

Amazing multi-tasking capabilities

It allows the owner to talk into their watch and out of their arse at the same time.

Another breakthrough product by Apple!

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Watch out!

How long before Casio, Swatch, Seiko et al have to license a wearable device that tells the time after Apple invent the concept?

looks like the best way Apple can innovate the iPhone is to sell something 'new' and 'never before seen' to go with it.

The iPhone is dying mow.

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Re: Watch out!

I'm not worried about that.

I'm more worried about having to pay an iTax for owning a wrist for any brand of watch to go on.

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Re: Watch out!

The iPhone isn't dying now, but the iPod wasn't dying in 2007. Modern Apple likes to get each new cash cow up to speed before the previous goes into decline.

That said, if a watch is all they can come up with then the future's probably not bright.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Watch out!

"The iPhone isn't dying now"

ThomH sorry to tell you, iPhone missed the bus years ago. It's so over the hill your bus could never catch up!

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JDX
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Re: Watch out!

Don't let the facts get in your way AC, those sales figures are totally irrelevant.

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Are apple inventing the spot watch?

iSpot, or similar?

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Re: Are apple inventing the spot watch?

So..would that make a google/android version the gSpot?

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Re: Are apple inventing the spot watch?

@shadowedone - brilliant, love it

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Re: Are apple inventing the spot watch?

@ ShadowedOne

I hope not, what good is a watch that I can never find?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Are apple inventing the spot watch?

G-spot is the original vapourware.

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M7S
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Genuine interest, but not just for an Apple one.....

One that functions as a remote keypad/screen for the xphone in my jacket pocket so I can see who's calling and accept/reject, dial numbers or look up contacts and control the media player functions, all whilst listening/talking through some tiny bluetooth headset.

That should cut down on all the opportunistic phone thefts involving bicycle riding ne'er do wells and similar problems.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Genuine interest, but not just for an Apple one.....

Yeah this time they'll nick your watch AND your phone - that's progress for you....

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Re: The iWatch is coming! Ergo The Microsoft Windows Watch 8 Pro is coming!

Ergo Eadon will start lobbying for a full Linux stack watch whilst everyone else gets on with buying and binning these ;)

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