Did Apple Sneak-Peek The iWatch?

apple iwatch

Did Apple give us a glimpse of the iWatch? Media and iOS lovers have been widely asking the question since Cupertino released its newest ad for the iPhone 5. While the ad includes a variety of people enjoying their iPhones, one in particular has jumped out to fans, and he happens to be wearing a conspicuous device on his wrist.

The iWatch has been rumored for months, and hundreds of Apple fans have created mockups depicting their interpretations of an iWatch. And although the tech giant typically unveils new products at its June developers’ conference, the otherwise unobtrusive commercial could very well be teasing Team Apple with its latest innovation. In fact, upon closer inspection of the ad, at least four individuals are wearing wrist wear, a rather large group considering how few people today actually wear watches. Of course, most attention has been focused on the young man tapping a table, assumedly to music playing through his ear buds, while the camera zooms in on his wrist.

Is there really a market for an iWatch? Former Apple bigwig Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini, now a principle with the Nielsen Norman Group, believes such a device could certainly change lives. In a blog post earlier this year, Tognazzini explained how an iWatch could facilitate and coordinate the activities of all other computers and devices in a user’s life. Although he explained his predictions are not based on any insider information, Tognazzini believes the true value of an iWatch would be vastly underestimated at the product’s launch, similar to other breakthrough Apple products such as the iPhone, but it could certainly go on to have a profound impact on users’ lives and Apple’s fortunes.

Steve Jobs’ true legacy lies not with his products, but his method, the way he would forge revolutionary products from cold blocks of creativity. I know,” Tognazzini wrote. “I was one of his earliest recruits and watched him develop the method. Steve applied it one project at a time.  My hope is that Apple now has teams applying it across many projects, shortening the historic six years beteen breakthrough products.

According to Tognazzini, the smart watches already on the market are riddled with problems. They are “big and clunky.” Unlike traditional watches, they require charging. They can’t be read in the dark without turning on their lights, and “people over 45” are unable to read them without the assistance of reading glasses. Plus, the extra functions in traditional smart watches are either difficult to find or simply unneeded.

Tognazzini outlines basic ways Apple can improve upon the smart watch. First and foremost, Cupertino could utilize its patent that allows users to charge an object several feet away, wirelessly, eliminating the need to remove the watch in order to charge its battery.

Apple also already holds a patent for a low-cost method of creating curved glass for screens, which could be used to eliminate the large, clunky design of current smart watches.

And as far as complex series of buttons and menu trees? An Apple smart watch wouldn’t need any. Why? Siri. Users could program the watch’s timer, alarm and other functions through voice commands.

Siri will be accompanied by touch, of course, with touch handling the lighter tasks, Siri the more complex,” Tognazzini wrote. “There will be overlap, so you can use more complex touch maneuvers when you can’t speak to your watch, during a meeting perhaps or when there’s a lot of ambient noise. Many people will never learn the more complex maneuvers, nor will they need to as the iPhone, iPad, and Mac will offer simple alternative interfaces to the more complex tasks.

The iWatch’s most revolutionary function, however, would be its role as office manager. It could be used to coordinate the functions of all the user’s other iDevices and the Internet through the gathering of data, delivering of messages and storing, forwarding and coordinating of tasks. For example, Tognazzini sees the iWatch serving as a phone call facilitator, vibrating when a call comes into an iPhone, and allowing the user to accept or reject the call from the watch. It would also eliminate the need for multiple passcodes.

The watch can and should, for most of us, eliminate passcodes altogether on iPhones, and Macs and, if Apple’s smart, PCs: As long as my watch is in range, let me in! That, to me, would be the single-most compelling feature a smartwatch could offer: If the watch did nothing but release me from having to enter my passcode/password 10 to 20 times a day, I would buy it,” Tognazzini wrote. “If the watch would just free me from having to enter pass codes, I would buy it even if it couldn’t tell the right time! I would happily strap it to my opposite wrist! This one is a must.

Did Apple offer a sneak peek in its commercial? Some have said the commercial simply features the iPod Shuffle, which already offers a wrist mount. But does Apple ever do anything unintentionally? It’s rare. Either way, we’ll surely find out next month. As they say, stay tuned…