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back to article It's JUST possible, but Apple MIGHT not make an iWatch in 2013

What's better than smartphone that is not strapped to your wrist? A smartphone that IS strapped to your wrist. In what is a strange rumour even by the standards of supply chain rumours - Chinese manufacturing news site iPhone.TGBUS says that Apple is planning to release a watch in 2013, and the story has been widely circulated …

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FAIL

Re: needs shake-up in own apps

Rubbish, the Camera app works better in Landscape, allowing you to use a physical button to take the photo.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Bush_rat re. the take-photo-button

can't quite understand why anyone would vote your post down. Clearly they don't like the truth and would rather believe that they have mechanical shutters on their phones.

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Facepalm

Hoooooboy!

Just wait for all the fanboys to conveniently forget about all the previous watchphones (https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=watchphone&hl=en&client=safari&tbo=u&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=ANLiUOruKZGN0wXa64DgBQ&ved=0CD4QsAQ&biw=1024&bih=644), or even about previous watches, and get ready for them to start insisting the Ghost of Steve invented the whole wristwatch concept. I bet Seiko are priming their lawyers for an incoming slew of Apple missives - some of the Seiko watches have round corners!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hoooooboy!

Even Clive SInclair can get in on the prior claim game.

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Re: Hoooooboy!

No no no no no. You have it all wrong.

They will use this for new features, for which they will claim to have invented, forgetting that it is only a new feature cos it is 'on a watch'. Hmmmmm let me think.

Telling the time

Missed call

Call alert.

Reading texts.

remote dialing

adverts of exciting new apple products at that apple store you are just passing.

NFC payments

phone locator

different vibration modes for different alerts (including alarm clock controlled from the iphone)

I am also guessing they will have an icon of a watch showing watch-phone connectivity, which they will then accuse everyone else of copying.

Now where is the square icon with rounded edges?

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Re: Hoooooboy!

>Just wait for all the fanboys to conveniently forget about all the previous watchphones

Er, those are watch phones. I think the reason you don't people wearing them very often is because ergonomically they don't (can't) work well- mic and speakers are in the wrong place, not enough space for a reasonable battery). That is why people forget about them, and no wilful amnesia is required on the part of 'fanbois'. Anyway, there are some interesting comments on this thread than the oh-so-tired unoriginal form you've opted for.

Apple aren't going to try and make a 'watch phone', but making a watch that controls a phone in some limited manner is an easier trick to pull off - All it would really take is an iPod Nano with a Bluetooth chip. The consensus on Sony's efforts seems to be that MKI was buggy and MKII too pricey. If Apple can nail the problem of power consumption / recharging, they might be on to a winner.

(It may not be coincidence that Sony hail from a land where public transport can be so crowded as to make pulling a phone from your pocket inconvenient, and where watches are a thriving industry (think (Grand) Seiko, Citizen, Casio, and numerous fashion watches that disguise the time in the form of a puzzle))

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Nya

Doesn't sound right though

"it'll have a 3G SIM and need's to be tethered to a Iphone or Ipad."

Yeah, that pretty much doesn't really sound right. As Sony (and others) have shown with Android watches, tethering is all well and good, but it is crazy for it to need a SIM in it. If anything this thing (if it even exists and isn't just the usual trash from the Apple rumour mill) is just like a Ipod Nano with tethering you can offload commands to the phone. Only another possible for it to actually have a SIM card would be if it didn't need to be tethered, and was basically just a rehashed Nano which did streaming audio...

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Re: Doesn't sound right though

Or possibly less than the old iPod nano, just enough guts to capture touch events, speech for Siri, button presses and act as a 1.5" AirPlay screen for another device, that way all the processing would be handled by the host device and you wouldn't need to update your watch apps every other day.

As far as orientation goes, here's hoping for it being round, like a proper watch.

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Happy

Re: Doesn't sound right though

>here's hoping for it being round, like a proper watch

The Heuer Monaco isn't a 'proper watch'? : D

D'ya remember that Motorola Aura phone with a circular display?

(Smiley Face icon - circular display of happiness)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doesn't sound right though

no it isn't. It costs too much for it to be a watch. It's a piece of jewellery that just happens to tells the time.

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Kinda taking a 6th gen. Nano to a new level. Maybe something like the Android smart watches that have come out.

I got a Nano free a year or two ago. Nothing to do with it, I gave it to my wife. It sat in it's box for most of that time. I Recently added a decent aluminum watch band to it to use as a watch, but even that isn't a great use of it. The screen size, 1.5", is just too large for a watch.

One thing I would like to point out, many people have gotten use to the idea of new smart devices being charged everyday. Would this also apply to an Apple Watch? How many people want to "charge their watch" every day or three?

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I'd hope such a device would have a 72 hour useable life, or at least a NFC based charger with a range of a meter or 2 (to put on the bed side table)

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Perhaps they'll patent a manually operated dynamo (i.e. a knob to wind up your watch - square with rounded corners naturally) for it.

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Joke

I think we could take miniturisation a stage further. We could create a communications device as an ocular implant feeding images directly to the optic nerve.

Would anyone complain if we called it an eye-phone with retina display chip?

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Meh

@ Simon Harris -

>

eye-phone

<

futurama . . .

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Paris Hilton

@ Bush_rat -

>

NFC based charger

<

Is that like powering a smart TV over WIFI or jumpstarting your car over Bluetooth?

SCNR

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Happy

Re: @ andreas koch

Yes, but Futurama's set in about 3000AD, so I'm claiming priority!

Never saw the eye-phone episode before, but just found a clip of it.

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@andreas koch Re: @ Bush_rat -

"NFC based charger"

Well, if you boosted the power it could be a multifunctional device and warm your breakfast coffee while charging your watch-phone.

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FAIL

...how many people want to charge their watch every day or three?

There was a time, not all that long ago, when you had to wind your watch every day. It's basically the same thing.

(Kids these days, I dunno...)

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Re: Winding watches daily

Only on cheap bits of crap.

Any decent mechanical watch made in the last 50 years would be self winding.

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Re: Winding watches daily

I remember when I got my first self-winding watch about 40 years ago (it was also a cheap bit of crap, made by Timex), and I remember thinking how bulky it was compared to the cheap Ingersol I had before it.

Some people just can't wear heavy watches.

I still prefer slimmer watches, even though I'm now wearing a lump of stainless steel that must weigh close to 100g because I cannot find something durable and lighter that does everything I think I want (although the last time I used the stopwatch was months ago) at a price I'm prepared to pay (when did watches become so expensive!)

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Re: @ andreas koch

>Never saw the eye-phone episode before, but just found a clip of it.

"... you can download a porno on a crowded train, or check your email as you get run over by a train..."

Brilliant. P'raps more applicable to Google's Project Glass, though!

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Pint

Chaging you watch every day.

I use my Blackberry as a bedside clock. The clock stays dim lit so long as it's charging. Sadly it doesn't take 7-8-9hrs to charge so goes out in the wee hours. Still working on a Badside mode that stays on all night. :)

What happened to the more icons poll?

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Re: Chaging you watch every day.

I was impressed when I saw my mate's blackberry do that on its dock. A few years later and my Xperia seems to have picked up the idea, but using a combination of [accessory]+[optional time period] to trigger that dim clock behaviour- or some other action. i haven't tried Tasker, though, but i get the idea it does all sorts of things like that.

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Re: Winding watches daily

Not necessarily, the omega speedmaster pro isn't a self winding caliber, its a manual wind even today.

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Devil

"It would be rather dull"

For some reason I read "It would be rather Dell"

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Pass

I honestly cannot find any way to care about such a product whether it be from the fruit company or even Google. It's a terrible form factor, it'd be bulky and charging it every day would be a killer feature but in a way that I mean it would kill the thing. Is there anyone reading this that would ever find such a thing useful?

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Re: Pass

The Swiss railway company?

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Re: Pass

A music player watch cell phone thingy...sounds like something Microsoft would try to sell.

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Re: Pass

>Is there anyone reading this that would ever find such a thing useful?

What, being able to check call notifications without having to reach into your pocket, or use media controls when the phone is docked on the other side of the room and acting as a media player?

Essential? No. But useful? Yes, of course. Same as the IR remote controller for your television, in essence: useful, but not essential.

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Meh

Re: Pass

You do raise valid points about it needing to be charged- the form factor of course is too small for a sizeable battery. This, as well as ergonomic and aesthetic concerns, is why this sort of device hasn't caught on in the past. However, either this is a constraint that defines the function of this (hypothetical) device (how much power is required to receive a signal from a phone and then display a notification? LED? E-Ink? How much power is required to send a bluetooth signal to the phone for Call End / Volume Up, Track Skip etc?) or maybe an easier way to charge the phone has been developed... wireless charging? Does this mean the user has to sit within a radius of the charger... perhaps at their desktop, or whilst in their car? Solar? Mechanical?

Maybe, some bright spark has developed a way for the watch to work without a battery... maybe buttons change the passive RF resonance of the watch that the phone can actively detect? Or maybe piezo crystals under the buttons could generate enough power for a signal the phone can pick on? Maybe rotating the bezel generates ultrasonic clicks that can be 'heard' by the phone?

Obviously, the points raised here are generic, and not Apple-specific.

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Happy

No hands! They could use coloured pixels that surround the periphery - one colour for each regular hand - and all you need know is the approximate time.

Let me file a patent before Apple copies it. I have two of these in my office now.

I'll call one the iSpot and the other the iDot.

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Anonymous Coward

Been done - using Android..

If you look at the i'm watch site you'll see a phone which was developed using Android. Now, I personally avoid Android like the plague (privacy issues - long story) but this product looks like fun.

Having said that, being watch-sized makes it even more than a tablet a "receive only" device: it's great to be able to consult a live calendar on the device, but there is no way it makes for a device where you can ENTER such data. Add to that short battery life (there's simply not that much space) and I don't think it's for me..

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Re: Been done - using Android..

>a "receive only" device: it's great to be able to consult a live calendar on the device, but there is no way it makes for a device where you can ENTER such data.

And conversely, a watch would make a better Dictaphone-like device than it would an MP3 player. In this example, Input is easier than Output. Depends on the form of the data being collected/given out. : D

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Anonymous Coward

Actually quite a clever move

Before even the Android watches (which have been out there for a couple of years) there were 3G watches.

I had a (relatively) cheap Chinese one imported and used it with a Bluetooth PAN to share the Internet with my Windows Mobile 6 smartphone (that's dating it a bit...). Meant I could leave the brick (HTC Kaiser) on my desk at work and still receive phone calls etc.

Nowadays- especially if it had integrated WiFi- you could use your watch as the hub of your Digital life. The extra set of Apps created (for a 1.5" screen) would be hugely profitable without cannibalising sales from other devices, the smartwatch market is still niche enough that Apple would be able to capture the market no problems, and the potential profit from selling licenses for "apple approved" bluetooth- or wifi-connected kit would be phenomenal.

Chuck in IR and NFC and you've got wireless payments AND a remote control for your existing home electronics- all rolled into one. Stick on a miniLightning connector and you've got another round of licenses and addons like a larger screen (e.g. bendy OLED that goes round your arm) or an extended battery on an arm-clip.

Done properly it could bring in a very large stack of cash for Apple. Done properly it could have brought in an even bigger stack of cash for Samsung!

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Gold badge
Coat

Re: Actually quite a clever move

Nowadays- especially if it had integrated WiFi- you could use your watch as the hub of your Digital life

You'd get about 30 seconds of use out of a battery that fits in a wrist watch.. Having said that, I once saw torches you could charge with a movement that was especially for men fairly well embedded in muscle memory - a watch is at exactly the right place for such an energy source. So that would NOT be hands-free then..

Yup, thanks. Otherwise I'll be here all week..

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Re: Actually quite a clever move

Onanism aside, I would be interested in some rough calculations /references to how much power is generated by a, normal movements of the wrist as used to power automatic mechanical watches, and b, exaggerated wrist movements performed for the sole purpose of generating power, a la that torch you mention (I had one, it was a bit poor).

Another form of human power would be piezo-electric crystals under the buttons, as used in some cigarette lighters. That can certainly generate enough power for a small spark.

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Consistent

But (at the risk of being accused of being anti/pro-Apple), wouldn't this be fairly consistent with Apple's usual approach? They have built a pretty successful enterprise on the idea of making slow, careful, incremental developments to their existing technology. I know nothing of these rumours except what the article says, but producing an iWatch (or whatever) by just "adding a SIM card" wouldn't seem too out of kilter with that.

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Re: Consistent

They have built a pretty successful enterprise on the idea of making slow, careful, incremental developments to their existing technology

Hmm, must be a different Apple. That is exactly Apple's problem right now, only small incremental improvement. That wasn't the case with Jobs, there was always something they'd come up with that was actually a decent improvement and it's exactly the lack of that which made the last releases such as the iPhone 5 a disappointment (that, and the idiots writing an announcement speech which was suitable for Jobs, but not for Tim Cook who doesn't really speak in hyperbole).

I don't buy this rumour.

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Re: Consistent

>I don't buy this rumour.

Good point, the original iPhone forewent 3G in order to make the battery last a reasonable amount of time. I can't see Apple releasing something with really poor battery life.

That said, I am finding it fun to imagine how that problem might, hypothetically, be mitigated. Also, just how much power is required for function X and function Y etc?

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FAIL

Um... missing the point.

Lazy article... have you never seen http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/597507018/pebble-e-paper-watch-for-iphone-and-android ?

Its much more likely apple will release a watch that connects via bluetooth to the iPhone / iPod in your pocket, not an iPod strapped to your wrist or an all-in-one wrist phone.

Personally I think the watch is long overdue for a upgrade.

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Re: Um... missing the point.

My son bought into that, or something similar.

As a means to get the ring from your phone, get email alerts, locate the phone, and get accurate time through the phone from the telco's timeserver, it's a great idea.

If you're wedded to Apple, I'm sure their version will be elegant, and expensive. And once they popularize the idea, there will be more affordable alternatives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Um... missing the point.

Ah yes the Pebble watch. The production date keeps slipping again and again and we are still to hear of a release date. I know they've recently got FCC approval, but until I see this product I won't believe it

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There's a bunch of similar kit on eBay starting at around £40. This one looks particularly promising (£155):

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-Black-Z1-Android-Wrist-Watch-Mobile-Phone-WiFi-GPS-2-0-TFT-Touch-Screen-8GB-/190776567203?pt=UK_Mobile_Phones&hash=item2c6b2b65a3

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Meh

".....This one looks particularly promising......" If only I didn't have gorilla fingers! iPhone1 on a wriststrap with a bluetooth headset (as used by one of our more spaced out admins for a couple of years now) makes a better option.

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Yeah, the page does say "easily send emails" which made me laugh. A lot of the ebay ones come with a poking-stick built into the wristband, which implies a resistive touchscreen. I imagine the emails would be both short and badly-spelled.

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Silver badge

Been done before

Sony have a smart watch which is android based. It uses bluetooth to act like a handsfree remote display for a phone. Before that Fossil had a smart watch around palm OS.

Anyway the biggest issue with these things is a) a wrist is a stupid place to put either a phone or an mp3 player since it is impractical in either role, b) they need charging almost as much as a phone does and c) the screen is so fiddly small it doesn't offer much functionality.

I don't see an iWatch being especially different.

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Happy

@ DrXym - Re: Been done before

>

a wrist is a stupid place to put either a phone or an mp3 player since it is impractical in either role

<

You're holding it* wrong . . .

* The wrist.

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Re: Been done before

> a) a wrist is a stupid place to put either a phone or an mp3 player since it is impractical in either role, b) they need charging almost as much as a phone does and c) the screen is so fiddly small it doesn't offer much functionality.

a, agreed, but is a reasonable place to put media controls

b, probably yes, but it might be possible to design a very efficient SOC that just does some basic functionality, or develop a hassle way of charging, or of getting energy from elsewhere. It is also possible the the functions on the watch are passive (eg, pushing a button changes the RF resonance of the watch)

c, Disagree- my Android phone can communicate quite a bit with just a single notification pixel (blinks green for email, blue for a text, red for low battery, constant light shows charging status etc. )

Lets say for the fun of the discussion that Apple do make such watch... they have a history preferring to omit functions rather than implement them to the detriment of battery life.

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AF
Go

About time

This is the MP3 player and iPhone all over again - not an original idea, but probably the first time it'll be done in a way that sells in significant numbers. There are a number of smart watches due to hit the market "real soon now", and they've already built up demand and advance orders, so this is clearly something people want (despite what El reg thinks). Heck, if no-one wanted this sort of thing, why were Nano wriststraps selling out?

Think of the possibilities; custom watch faces alone will sell it, but add in the ability to have companion apps on the watch that work with your phone and it sells itself. Never mind the obvious quick wins - display of incoming messages, caller ID, weather forecast, appointments, travel alerts, vibrate alerts that you can't miss by leaving your phone in the other room, navigation... All these are things we use our phones for regularly, but imagine if you no longer needed to fish out your phone, unlock it, and launch the app. A flick of the wrist (I'm assuming the screen will be off until needed), a swipe of the display and there you go. You'd easily replicate the A and C of modern ABC watches (altitude, barometer, compass), although the B would probably be replaced with a weather app.

You could even use it as a remote for Siri; get William Daniels to replace the voice and you won't be able to make 'em fast enough.

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