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Apple iWatch: is it an iPhone nano on your wrist?

Mark Hattersley | March 15, 2013
We take a look at the sort of apps and features an iWatch will have, if Apple does release it.

Much of the tech speculation surrounding the iWatch seems to focus on what the mythical iWatch will be, rather than what it will do.

So let's assume that the iWatch is coming out. While we're at it let's take a punt and suggest that Apple's going to make it work, insofar as putting an iOS-powered touchscreen display on your wrist. Battery life is good enough, charging is easy enough, it has good connections (probably wireless), the screen displays the info you need, and the interface (both touch-based and Siri-based) works for what it does.

You're now wearing a thin strip of plastic on your wrist with a curved screen displaying information, and you can press it and do stuff with it. What does the iWatch actually do?

I'm sat at my computer at the moment, so it's hard to see anything that it could possible do that my computer doesn't. Mind you, I could say the same about my iPhone which is sat next to the Mac. A better mental excersise is to take a long walk and imagine what that would be like with an iOS-powered wristwatch. What would be useful?

Here's the functions I think you can expect the mythical iWatch to have:

The Clock App (it's a watch - it will tell the Time act as a Alarm, Timer and Stopwatch)Notification Centre (so you know when to dig your iPad or iPhone out)Messages (hopefully iMessages, but also SMS as well) Music (we're kind of expecting our mythical iWatch to have wireless headphones)Phone (you'll have to speak into it to use Siri, might as well place phone calls whle you're there)FaceTime video (how very Star Trek)WeatherContactsCalendarsPhotosRemindersStocks

What the mythical iWatch probably won't do

Safari (let's start big. You're unlikely to enjoy browsing the web on a 1.5in display)Notes (it's not going to have a keyboard, and Siri isn't going to be fun for taking notes)Mail (see Notes)Newsstand or iBooksApps and App Store (Not until Apple has had time to show developers how a 1.5in interface works)Game Center (you won't be playing games)

And we're going to put these in our mythical iWatch unsure camp

MapsPassbookCamera (unless the lens is somehow integrated with the rear of the device, not impossible)FacebookTwitter

So what have we got? A device that does some of the things the iPhone does, but not all of them. And some of the things the iPad does, but not all of them. It's that third-device that Apple loves, or a fourth device if you include the Mac.

If it plays out this way we can see the iWatch being designed to kill the smartphone. It is the device you have with you all the time that lets you place calls, send and receive messages, and tell the time. All the stuff you used to do with a feature phone before the iPhone came along and put the mobile internet in your pocket.


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