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back to article Apple's iWatch to appear in 2014, will RULE your home – new claim

A US analyst who spoke to Asian suppliers about the health of Apple's supply chain has heard that Cupertino's long-rumored iWatch won't be primarily an extension of your smartphone or tablet, unlike Samsung's big-as-your-head Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Instead the time-piece will be a "multi-purpose gateway" into controlling things …

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Doing things right

They are waiting for the new flexible screens to be perfected and made cheaper. They are also figuring out how such an item might be most useful. If they are going to make such a product they will do it right. They won't just throw an unnecessary clunky peace of jewelry out there that is uncomfortable to wear and has no useful function what so ever. If they can not do it better, if they can not make it useful, they will not do it.

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Re: Doing things right

Exactly. They won't be forcing home automation on people. They have tended to be good at identifying when a technology's time has come. So for example they have resolutely avoided RFID, but it seems they have been planning use of low power blue-tooth and iBeacons for some time. I find it interesting that it only recently people have become aware that they have built blue tooth into Apple TV (it can now be configured to use your iTunes account by "touching" your iPhone to it). That was kept quiet.

What what is right in this piece is they will be targeting some unexpected use cases, and that will probably include home automation. There is quite a lot you can do by purchasing blue tooth low power accessories, but actually before that, a system you frequently interact with where it will be useful is your TV. So control over AppleTV via the low power bluetooth is likely to be there; amongst other more unexpected use cases. They definitely won't be throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, into it. I expect the main areas of focus will be the quantified self (through use of the motion chip), message and environmental notifications (through being paired with the iPhone and through the use of iBeacons when out and about, shopping etc) and lastly, possibly, security. This last one is particularly strong because:

1) You can have fingerprint security with paired devices without needing the scanner on the device - so this will make a nice high-margin upgrade purchase for e.g. iPhone 5c customers and iPad users (Apple won't worry about the possibility of cannibalising iPhone5S sales if the use case is strong enough, they have always understood it is best to find new profits through providing new products that are convenient for the user rather than defending existing product lines and the new device profit margins will be close enough anyway).

2) Potentially this will be even more secure than a device based scanner because you can make it that the watch is a security band and can be set with a passcode + fingerprint but will cease to function if removed from the users wrist (even with fake fingerprints). Suddenly fingerprint tech == good enough for confirming payments, logging in to devices, bank accounts, the works and doing away almost all password pain. Now that would be big.

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Re: Doing things right

Its vapourware. Im reserving judgement until it exists.

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Re: Doing things right

"Its vapourware. Im reserving judgement until it exists."

I have wound up with nearly the same opinion. At first I thought about how and what the watch could do for you, then I thought about what the watch could do for Apple. I think they are sort of marooned into building this thing, because there is more people everyday asking why Apple is worth so much when they have such a small product line.

The watch or some other random product has to succeed, because if it fails there will be a shit load of people (not numbers) saying to themselves that Apple can only do phones. Considering that Bell, Mitsumi, and many many other players in IT have already proven you can be great in many ranges, that would leave Apple being the least dynamic, yet somehow the most valuable (to me, it's already like that and I can't understand it).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doing things right

That's the plan all along. Let everyone release their bad watch products and then release your own better one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doing things right

Anyone could release a BAD semi-smart watch... but who would wear them - most are monstrous and rushed attempts to try and get there first. Like Samsung parading it's hall of shame 'gold' phones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doing things right

>That's the plan all along. Let everyone release their bad watch products and then release your own better one.

Yep...let the opposition do the R&D, market testing and mistakes - then just pay them to build one for you while pretending it was your idea all along.

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Meh

"what the hell good is it?"

"a multi-purpose gateway in allowing consumers to control their home"

So it's the gateway drug loss leader pry bar for Apple to shift ultra expensive iThermostats, iDimmers and Barry White filled iPods. What will they think of next, stain resistant iShag carpeting?

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Re: "what the hell good is it?"

Hopefully someone will break the protocol it uses so hardware hackers can steer clear of the costs-an-arm-and-a-leg Apple branded/licensed home automation implants and use whatever they want.

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Re: "what the hell good is it?"

Who says they'd sell all that stuff? They make a few accessories for iPods, iPhones and iPads, but mostly leave that up to third parties. Ditto for apps.

I think it is much more likely they'd sell an iWatch that relied on developers and gadget makers to help create demand for it by the products and software they created. Similar to how iTunes was never intended to make much money for Apple but to help sell iPods and later iPhones, because Apple makes 98% of its profits from hardware, and iTunes barely pays its running costs.

If it didn't use some sort of open protocol, maybe it can be broken, but why? If you don't like being in the Apple ecosystem, why would you buy an iWatch? If it is a hit, I'm sure it's functionality would be available on Android branded products eventually, and Samsung would call it S-something (too bad for them Swatch is taken)

Not sure how much market there is really for controlling your thermostat remotely, on a watch or a phone. That's mostly a geek thing, regular people want to set it and forget it. The only somewhat useful thing I can imagine is if it could track everyone so it knows when no one is home and can save energy, then returns to normal settings when one of the tracked residents is on the way home. But why would I need a watch for that?

It isn't clear to me how controlling anything using a watch is somehow better than controlling it with a phone. The guy claiming this rumor must envision a world with a lot of thermostat and appliance tweaking if he thinks the time savings not having to pull a phone from one's pocket is such a big deal Apple is basing a new product line on it.

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Re: "what the hell good is it?"

They will let other companies make the "designed for iWatch" stuff, but everything will require an Apple-Tax chip to talk to the watch, and will not be allowed to talk to any other type of device.

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Re: "what the hell good is it?"

Example: watching TV. Do you have your iPhone in hand? No. But you have an iWatch on your wrist. No need to look for the remote, just touch the watch to pause what's onscreen. Go to another room, touch the iWatch again, and the playback resumes on that TV. Room getting cold? Use the iWatch to turn up the thermostat.

Example: leaving home. If you forget your iPhone, your iWatch lets you know. When the iWatch leaves, the Apple TV gateway alerts all of your linked devices to go into their "away" settings. TV off, lights off, etc.

The point of an iWatch (in my estimation) is that it is a simple, versatile UI that is always with you and can control what's around you. If you need to run an app, use an iPhone or iPad or whatever. But to quickly control your environment with just a touch, use an iWatch.

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"...and, of course, the all-important things such as cookers and blenders, etc."

The question, then, is: Will it blend?

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Completely avoiding the joke, I wonder if it would come with some sort of safe-guard, or if in fact it could be set to blend itself?

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I'm not convinced that a remotely operated blender is either useful or wise.

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Anonymous Coward

...the question that dogs many iWatch prognosticators and rumor mongers – namely,

"Will it make girls touch my cock?" - Fanbois, the answer is no, it won't.

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I agree....

But the stain resistant iShag carpet referred to earlier might....

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I guess it depends on where you strap your watch

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Anonymous Coward

Ahhh, but wait for the iVibe to come along; combine it with the iCooker and the ardent Fanboi can make sure both girlfriend and dinner are hot at just the right time.

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Can someone explain

What is the problem with the current design of light switches, heating switches and so on that home automation intends to solve?

until someone can figure out what is wrong with the current toggle switches and dials on the wall, nobody is going to come up with anything better.

Whether it is fumbling with a smartphone app, or fumbling with a watch app, pressing a button on the wall next to you is always going to be quicker and easier, and I've never felt the urge to turn things on and off at home while I'm somewhere else.

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Thumb Up

Re: Can someone explain

Here's one usage scenario that would be quite welcome: right now, I'm in the top floor of my house, running a fever about 101. I'm shivering, but the thermostat for my home is down a flight of stairs. The aches and pains from this ague make traversing that flight of stairs a daunting proposition – I'd love to be able to crank up the central heating with just a tap on my iWatch or iPhone.

Broadening that usage model, I think that such home-automation assistance would be a boon in many ways to us aging Boomers, and all of our concomitant aches, pains, and increasing lack of mobility.

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Re: Can someone explain

Its all very useful... I used to have Bang Olufson light switches in the house, I could from the comfort of the sofa change the light plan without getting up, watching a movie, the lights go down... lovely.... then when I leave the house a press on my keying and the lights dim and go off, the Av all dims and goes off...

Its all pretentious crap, but similar views were thrown at remote controls - how hard is it to get up to change channel on the telly..........

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Re: Can someone explain

It is easier to use the remote than to get up and change the channel on the telly itself. It probably isn't easier tp use a smartphone app to do the same thing. This isn't about laziness, if it helps lazy people be more lazy, then there is a market for it. My concern is that using a smartphone or smartwatch requires more effort than doing it the traditional way.

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Re: Can someone explain

Depends.

Lots of people have multiple remotes for different devices. You could have them all as "tabs" in your smartphone app. You might be able to reconfigure the virtual keyboard on your phone app, so that only the buttons you want can be to hand. The watch might have a simple pause or mute (or mute to subtitles) for when the door goes or something. Can't find the remote? Press your watch to ring your phone.

Apple might use their iPod roundy thing* as the bevel of their iWatch, giving you smooth analogue-feeling control over volume, or even time, like a video-editor scroll-wheel.

I predict problems of a more political nature. The remote acts like a tribal "talking stick" in a lot of homes, so when both spouses (and perhaps even a couple of the kids) have the same apps, domestic anarchy will ensue, mark my words. Heating up, heating down, lights on, lights off. Even those with inside bathroom switches will no longer be immune to the mid-dump darkness-plunge prank.

*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BnLbv6QYcA

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Unhappy

Re: Can someone explain

"Its all pretentious crap, but similar views were thrown at remote controls - how hard is it to get up to change channel on the telly.........."

Sadly the advent of the remote control has heralded in a new era of tvs that are almost impossible to operate beyond the on/off button. Heck, even with the remote control on some tvs it can be like a Krypton Factor puzzle to change the video source.

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Trollface

Re: Can someone explain

'Cause shiny complex bling is what sells, not robust, reliable and simple.

Simple and reliable is just so, well, plebeian.

Shiny and complex must be good because, obviously, it's shiny and complex, right? I mean, it's goes to 11, doesn't it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can someone explain

That's because you have not used anything better - people probably said stuff like this when the first electric bulbs came out - i.e. why do I need it - these candles are adequate.

How about lights that can change their intensity based on the time of day or come on when you enter a room and automatically go off if no-one is in the room - set a lighting pattern depending on user preference or usage - dimmed if watching a film etc.

Like electric memory seats in your car - sure you don't really 'need' them but they are nice to have.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can someone explain

In my old house I had standard lights with some dimmer switches - probably similar to most houses. In my new house they had fitted a Lutron lighting controller - at first thought it was a bit pointless but after a while lighting zones are nice, being able to have different presets and controls based on usage / time of day etc. Yes it's a bit of a luxury but expect you get used to it and see the benefits after a while.

Would I have spent what the previous owners spent on it - probably not - but as this stuff becomes more popular the price will drop and as the price drops it will become more popular.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can someone explain

I'm sure when the first remote controls came out people said 'we don't need this - you can just get up and change the channel / volume' but how many would say that now.......?

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It doesn't matter if it's any good

What matters is how the Apple Fanboys will react to it. There is no correlation between quality and success any more.

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Re: It doesn't matter if it's any good

"There is no correlation between quality and success any more."

Are you claiming that despite the success of Android products, they're not necessarily quality products?

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Re: It doesn't matter if it's any good

"Are you claiming that despite the success of Android products, they're not necessarily quality products?"

I think he is observing the well known economic fact that with 'snob goods' -- goods that costs much more than their worth -- success does not follow quality or price.

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Re: It doesn't matter if it's any good

"...well known economic fact..."

The epithet "well known" is so often applied to something which has just been coined, in order to endow it with validity, gravitas and credibility.

".. 'snob goods' -- goods that costs much more than their worth..."

Assigning that category or description to any product is totally subjective, and not in the least objective.

Your criteria for assessing the inherent value of something might well differ from my criteria, and Joe Bloggs' criteria might well differ from both.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It doesn't matter if it's any good

Your demonstrably silly comment may betray a lack of understanding of the full complexity of market forces, but at least it offers a bit of solace to fans of the woeful Houston Astros.

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Re: It doesn't matter if it's any good

Agreed.

Some people don't see any point in having a watch even if it's only £10. Others see value in a watch that costs £500... £1000...

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Re: It doesn't matter if it's any good

The epithet "well known" is so often applied to something which has just been coined, in order to endow it with validity, gravitas and credibility.

Except the concept of a Veblen good is well known in economic circles. Just because it may not be well known to you doesn't make it an epithet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It doesn't matter if it's any good

Not really - what Apple do and make popular others copy and everyone ends up using. Sure there were fingerprint scanners before but what percentage of phones has one - 0.00what percent perhaps?

Now Apple have put on on the 5S you can bet others will follow and then it will become standard.

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Most who wear watches take them off at home, for comfort

Most of us who wear watches take them off at home, for comfort.

Even the old style slim watches get taken off at home, by men and women.

As for Samsung's "big as your head" watch, if you've been to a jewelery store you should know that giant watches are in style now.

Giant watches, tiny numbers. The watch industry seems to be intent on ignoring us over 50s, the main group of people who still wear watches.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Most who wear watches take them off at home, for comfort

"Most of us who wear watches take them off at home, for comfort ... The watch industry seems to be intent on ignoring us over 50s, the main group of people who still wear watches."

That sounds an awful lot like someone saying "This is what I do so it must be what everyone does." - is there any good evidence that it is the over 50s who make up a majority of those who wear watches and that people who wear watches take them off when at home?

I'm under 50 and wear a watch all the time - and I mean all the time, it stays on when I go to bed, when I shower, when I go swimming, etc - I'm not suggesting that I am more representative of watch users, I simply have no idea.

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Thought so.

Apple usually waits until a technology looks like it's establishing, then they gather their guys together and make their own. There will be patent wars.

Then when everybody's pretty much sick of smart watches, and the market is saturated, Microsoft will release a yellow monstrosity. Then Ubuntu will try something stupid and fail, and the whole thing will start again with smart specs/shades...

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Anonymous Coward

The NSA remote?

Brilliant,

Who needs expensive drones when we can have Mr Bad Guy's electric blanket controlled by our security forces ?

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DN4

Multi-purpose gateway

But... Will it show time?

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iWatchU

Is the NSA helping to set up a school for this?

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Anonymous Coward

"Will rule your home"?

Really? The Ruler of the Home job has already been taken by my cat. She won't let no stinking watch take over, let me tell you.

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Nice to see some positive comments

Wow, some great comments!

Nice to see it's not all pro- or anti- Apple for a change.

I agree that products should be released when they are truly:

1) useful

2) fully functional

3) reliable

4) affordable

Not forgetting decent battery life.

Looking forward to a product that truly has a positive impact on my life though.

Will hold judgement until I've used one though. Found it difficult to justify a tablet until I'd used one a bit.

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Stop

Murica!

Unless you live in the USA or one of its territories, no point getting too excited. *IF* this is remotely true, then I'd bet my hat it will launch with products designed for 110v power supplies and Mercan sized switches & sockets. The double strength voltages and interestingly sized sockets in the rest of the world make a worldwide product launch highly unlikely, at least until Apple have demonstrated product demand in their own back yard.

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Home automation is a very small market. For the most part, a cheap mechanical timer will do the trick of turning on the microwave or kettle before you get home. I very much doubt if this is what the 'alleged' iWatch is all about. If it doesn't measure my blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and blood sugar level, I can't see a need for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Home automation is a small market AT THE MOMENT. MP3 players and full screen / touch smart phones were a small market until Apple made them popular.

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Apple already controls lights and heat and smoke...

Interesting comments. Remember that there are already iPhone-controlled lightbulbs in the Apple stores, and Nest (thermostats, smoke alarms) is an Apple spin-off.

Personally, I stopped wearing a watch about a decade ago - I don't like the feel of something on my wrist. And our home is simple - a thermostat that's used maybe half the year (the cold half), and we know where the light switches are. But - maybe that remote controlled blender would be useful...

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