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Apple Said To Be Working On a 'Watch-Like Device'

timothy posted about a year ago | from the i-watch-sounds-hinky dept.

Apple 291

The WSJ reports that Apple is "experimenting with designs for a watch-like device that would perform some functions of a smartphone, according to people briefed on the effort." An excerpt: The company has discussed such a device with its major manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., one of these people said, as part of explorations of potentially large product categories beyond the smartphone and tablet. Apple's efforts come as companies have introduced various kinds of wearable gadgets, mainly designed to measure physical activity. More sophisticated devices face big technical challenges, but also are attracting investments from large technology companies. Foxconn, as Hon Hai is also known, has been working on a spate of technologies that could be used in wearable devices, one of these people said. In particular, the Taiwan-based company has been working to address the challenges of making displays more power-efficient and working with chip manufacturers to strip down their products."

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291 comments

And I should give a rat's ass... (-1, Troll)

jddeluxe (965655) | about a year ago | (#42853179)

...because???

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (-1, Troll)

negRo_slim (636783) | about a year ago | (#42853281)

...because???

Because a veritable metric fuck-ton of halfwits will and it will be crammed down your throat from those around you and by the waves of incessantly blaring media.

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (-1, Offtopic)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#42853313)

You ever notice how Hillary has a gigantic mouth? I mean, we KNOW bill cheats on her, but she MUST know what he likes, which is blow jobs. Seriously Hillary has gone down on Bill MANY times. Does she swallow? Almost certainly.

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#42853325)

Because everything Apple does is super important! Even a rumor about them possibly thinking about making a gadget that 100 other companies are also working on is important enough to get an immediate front page on Slashdot.

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42853707)

Not to mention that dozens of these are already on the market, some specific to the Android world, some rather generic.
Sony has bluetooth Smartwatches and LiveView watchs that let you check email, messages, etc without taking the phone out of your pocket.
These are peripherals for your phone.

There are also full phones [amazon.com] that actually seems to get good reviews. Some of these are actually fairly inexpensive [amazon.com].

But, hey, if Apple makes it and charges $596, they will sell millions because it will be the best thing ever.

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (3, Insightful)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#42853851)

And during later years Apple will be remembered being the one which "invented" this thing.

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (4, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about a year ago | (#42853887)

Hi, you must be new here. Slashdot is a moderated site, meaning enough people were interested to mod the initial story up so that it made it as a published story. That also means your somewhat slanted view of what is news and what isn't doesn't mesh completely with all the folks on this site. Welcome to the internet. Not everyone will agree with you, or want the same stories as you would like to see.

I might suggest in the future you simply ignore the post, or mod it down prior to it being published rather than whining about it after the fact, clicking on the link, and posting a response to the story, which in turn makes the post look more valuable in 'clicks' as well as measured by activity.

You might want to think that through for a moment ;)

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42854011)

Hi, you must be new here.

Don't kid yourself. They were only going for a first post and couldn't think of anything to say that was related to the story.

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (0)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year ago | (#42853895)

Because everything Apple does is super important! Even a rumor about them possibly thinking about making a gadget that 100 other companies are also working on is important enough to get an immediate front page on Slashdot.

You're right. The touchscreen phones everyone now has? Were not popular until the iPhone, then every manufacture started making touchscreen phones and completely changed cellphones and communication. Tablets sucked (windows xp tablet edition yuck!) until the iPad. So yeah, apple making a watch is super important.

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (3, Insightful)

theVarangian (1948970) | about a year ago | (#42853379)

And I should give a rat's ass...because???

Actually you do give a rat's, you posted a message. If you truly didn't give a rat's ass you would have skipped over this story without posting

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853425)

Quite simply, this device will change everything. You no longer have to go through the hassle of going outside to observe your sundial, or look at the desk or the wall in order to make time based decisions.

You can now simply look at your wrist. It's amazing.

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (0)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#42853731)

Off-topic: A few recent posts of mine were anti George Bush jr., I instantly had a new 'foe' here. Then a junk email appeared in my Hotmail account containing a pic of a headstone with strange symbols on it (I guess I'm supposed to be 'hexed' since I looked at it). My new foe is "RalphWigum" (and he seems so darned cute on 'The Simpsons'!). There are some weird people using this site, like for example a couple commentors above.

On-topic: I've tried using regular watches in my life, the faces always got scratched up after awhile, the pins that hold the straps would break and some time later I'd notice my watch is gone. I've gotten away from watches and gotten used to having this phone always on my person, I won't be needing or using this new 'fashion tech'

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853691)

because this may be the next big thing Samsung copies.

Re:And I should give a rat's ass... (1)

kqs (1038910) | about a year ago | (#42853755)

Funny you should mention rats. This is like the experiment where the rats had to choose between food and cocaine. Any rational person would just ignore this story, but many iHaters will keep pressing the "submit" button for their dose of whining and feeling superior.

So no, you shouldn't care, and (reading these comments) few Apple fans care, but there is a huge pool of people who do care. And who really need to get on with their lives.

Given Apple's track record, if they do release a watch which binds to a smartphone, it will probably be simple and do what most people want. I can imagine how I might want that to work. But until Apple announces something there is little point having an opinion on the matter.

The iWatch (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853193)

Kind of like this? http://getpebble.com/

Re:The iWatch (5, Interesting)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#42853227)

Like that, but with fewer buttons and way more expensive.

Re:The iWatch (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853247)

And locked into the Apple ecosystem.

Re:The iWatch (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853339)

Eco or Sewage system?

Re:The iWatch (3, Informative)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | about a year ago | (#42853939)

I've only had my Pebble for a few days, but I'm finding it pretty convenient when I'm out and about. A lot quicker when I'm walking somewhere, or on the subway, to glance at my wrist to see if I need to respond to an email right away or if it can wait. And the (currently) rudimentary music controls are convenient, too. It's still in a primitive state, but hopefully the developer community will come up with some killer apps for it. Time will tell if it becomes useful enough to survive past the toy stage and become a regular fixture on my arm.

I Knew It (4, Funny)

longbot (789962) | about a year ago | (#42853195)

The return of the iPod Nano!

Re:I Knew It (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#42853243)

The touchscreen nano is a decent size for a watch; if it could use wireless headphones it might be an interesting proposition.

Re:I Knew It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853295)

Pretty sure there were wristbands for it.

Re:I Knew It (1)

cygnwolf (601176) | about a year ago | (#42853711)

yes, but it most notably lacks bluetooth support, Sure, you can get a dongle, but that starts to get clunky in a watch situation. Oh, and all of the phone bits too. And apps. Those would be very interesting to see in one that size...

Re:I Knew It (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#42853513)

The current ipod nano with six icons on the screen would make a great phone. Possibly good enough for me to buy an iphone.

Will it display the time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853201)

Will it display the time?

Re:Will it display the time? (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#42853975)

One reason that Apple was able to take over the market was because they realized that there is a large number of customers that don't really care if their mobile device is nor a great phone. This seems counter intuitive, but a lot of people predicted that the iPhone would fail because it was a bad phone. History has told the real story. Even with Android Phones I see people buying them because they have a HDMI output, not really because of the quality of phone or ease of use.

So I assume that watches are going to be no different. As mentioned, it could be something like the iPad nano. What is likely going to the killer feature is connection to an iPhone or iPod for caller id, bluetooth speaker and microphone, viewing new mail, and the like.

If you look at the watch market, the watch is hardly the killer feature in sales. A watch is piece of jewlery that happens to markt he time. Very few people buy a watch primarily to know the time. This was even before a phone was a more reliable time keeping device than a watch.

It has a touchscreen (5, Funny)

naroom (1560139) | about a year ago | (#42853205)

With only one button on it. The button says "PAY".

Re:It has a touchscreen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853287)

yeah, i'm just going to wait for my google glasses and google car since those will obviously be free since google is a non-profit organization.

Re:It has a touchscreen (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#42853563)

Metrosexual man, the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because thatâ(TM)s where all the best shops are), is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade. In the Eighties he was only to be found inside fashion magazines such as GQ, in television advertisements for Levi's jeans or in gay bars. In the Nineties, heâ(TM)s everywhere and heâ(TM)s going shopping.

And he's wearing a watch.

Re:It has a touchscreen (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year ago | (#42853697)

Metrosexual man, In the Nineties, heâ(TM)s everywhere and heâ(TM)s going shopping.

And he's wearing a watch.

Dood, it's 2013, who else do you think could have designed the Windows 8's Metrosexual interface interface?

Dick Tracy anybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853213)

His special watch (a "portent of things to come") - in fact, that's EXACTLY the reference I use when speaking to peers (since youngsters may NOT remember this since they're possibly not old enough to get the reference) about modern computing appliances...

Tablets & such (whatever represents the SMALLER stuff out there now that's 'trendy', that is)...?

No, it's NOT the "end all/be all" - this WILL be though, as far as external devices folks use/wear (the Dick Tracy watch)... especially once they get holography down better/pat, etc./et al!

APK

P.S.=> I didn't think of it, the comic strips' author did & here we are in the 21st century where ideas actually DO actualize & become truth...

... apk

Oh, the irony! (5, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#42853229)

I stopped wearing a watch years ago because I could pull my phone (not even a smart one) out of my pocket to see what time it was.

I'd be interested to know how many people still wear a watch as anything more than a big piece of jewellery.

Re:Oh, the irony! (3, Interesting)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#42853267)

I stopped wearing a watch outside of work recently, for the same reason. However, no one is allowed to bring cell phones, 2-way pager, cameras, or anything that can transmit or connect to a computer. So I wear a simple Casio watch to work and typically take it off when I get home. I'd love to go to a smart watch like Pebble that can connect to my phone, display alerts, play music, etc however I couldn't wear it to work.

Re:Oh, the irony! (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#42853637)

I stopped wearing a watch outside of work recently, for the same reason. However, no one is allowed to bring cell phones, 2-way pager, cameras, or anything that can transmit or connect to a computer. So I wear a simple Casio watch to work and typically take it off when I get home. I'd love to go to a smart watch like Pebble that can connect to my phone, display alerts, play music, etc however I couldn't wear it to work.

They let someone wearing a simple Casio watch [wikipedia.org] into a high-security environment?

Re:Oh, the irony! (3, Insightful)

cmseagle (1195671) | about a year ago | (#42853365)

Most anyone who works in a somewhat formal environment. Pulling out your cellphone to check the time looks unprofessional.

Re:Oh, the irony! (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#42853429)

Pulling out your cellphone to check the time looks unprofessional.

Wake up, man! Thats just what Rolex want you to think! :P

Re:Oh, the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853479)

Assuming you know what everyone's doing based simply on appearances is unprofessional.

Re:Oh, the irony! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853515)

Unprofessional only in the same way that white, unembossed business cards are unprofessional. Would you say an executive who wore a cheap Casio also looked unprofessional compared to the exec next to him/her with a gold-plated arm ornament?

Professionalism is in the eye of the beholder, and when I see an expensive watch I think "more money than sense". One can argue about how many smartphones are overpriced toys, but at least they do something more than tell the damn time.

Re:Oh, the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42854007)

Taking a quick peek at the cheap Casio looks much more sleek than digging through your pockets to pull out your iPhone.

Re:Oh, the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853391)

Joggers/runners.

Now please get off my lawn, but be sure to stay in the slow side of the sidewalk or you'll get run over by someone wearing a watch.

Re:Oh, the irony! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853453)

I stopped wearing a watch years ago because I could pull my phone (not even a smart one) out of my pocket to see what time it was.

I'd be interested to know how many people still wear a watch as anything more than a big piece of jewellery.

Right. Because fishing around in my inside jacket pocket, extracting my phone, figuring out which way is "up" and then pressing the button to wake up the screen to check the time and then put it back again is just soooooo much more convenient than glancing down at the watch on my wrist... I'll keep my Rolex. It makes me happy, and it cost more than the car you were conceived in, to boot.

Re:Oh, the irony! (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#42853519)

Years ago, I purchased an expensive watch. WHY? Because I discouvered that over the years I had spent that much on a series of CHEAP watches that I would eventually break, or they would simply give up working.

In 1990, I paid $1500 for a nice watch. It still works today, 23 years later, and I expect I will own it until I die.

Re:Oh, the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853625)

...I'll keep my Rolex. It makes me happy, and it cost more than the car you were conceived in, to boot.

You should sell it, then maybe you could move out from under your mom's bridge.

Re:Oh, the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853463)

In my job i am required to have immediate access to the time, down to the second. A mobile phone just doesn't cut it.

Re:Oh, the irony! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#42853485)

If you a) don't drive everywhere and b) it gets cold where you live then you don't want to be undoing your overcoat and ferreting around in your pockets when you could just push your sleeve up a bit.

Re:Oh, the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853487)

I'm thinking of getting a watch again since I got a Windows phone from work... because Windows Phone 8 keeps the screen 100 % blank when locked, and there is no option to keep even the time on screen. It gets pretty annoying to have to press a button to wake up the phone just to check what time it is.

Re:Oh, the irony! (3, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#42853567)

I stopped wearing a watch years ago because I could pull my phone (not even a smart one) out of my pocket to see what time it was.

Ten years from now: "I stopped carrying a cell phone in my pocket years ago because I can just speak to my wearable device to make a call."

Re:Oh, the irony! (1)

Salo2112 (628590) | about a year ago | (#42853745)

I enjoy long walks - for exercise and stress release. I don't want to be in communication with anyone, but I do want to know roughly how far I have walked and when I should be heading back in, and for this, a watch is perfect.

Re:Oh, the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853889)

I stopped wearing a watch years ago because I could pull my phone (not even a smart one) out of my pocket to see what time it was.

I'd be interested to know how many people still wear a watch as anything more than a big piece of jewellery.

I did the same thing as you, but regret it, and now I'm in the market for a new watch.

Getting the phone out of my pocket is inconvenient. We've learned this lesson before, when we switched from pocket watches to wrist watches. It's especially annoying to not own a watch when go out on a run.

Re:Oh, the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853917)

Mabie you hadn't noticed, But people started using watches becuase they found pulling pocket watches from their pockets inconvienient.
Oh the irony indeed.

Re:Oh, the irony! (1)

dontbemad (2683011) | about a year ago | (#42853965)

I'd be interested to know how many people still wear a watch as anything more than a big piece of jewellery.

I'm pretty sure those kinds of people are the ones apple is going to try to appeal to with this: The kind who wear watches for fashion more so than functionality.

Re:Oh, the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853991)

I stopped wearing a watch and used the phone, because it's more polite to pretend you're checking something on your phone, than checking the time because you're bored to death.

rumors... (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#42853259)

Recently we've been getting some unlikely apple rumors....AppleTV.......watch device......

What this really means is Apple has started fighting leaks by leaking false rumors. That's what I think this comes from.

Re:rumors... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#42853843)

According to MacWorld, Apple critics are all just jealous, mis-informed and or paranoid...

Dan Moren, senior editor of Macworld, talked tech with cofounder of gdgt Ryan Block, Wired staff writer Christina Bonnington, Ars Technica editor Jacqui Cheng and tech blogger John Gruber.

In their eyes, Apple’s critics were misinformed, jealous and/or paranoid.

“People like the underdog,” Bonnington said. “People just cut Apple down because it’s in the headlines all the time.

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/13995624-apple-rumors-postmacworld [allvoices.com]

making displays more power-efficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853273)

e-ink. True it cant do multimedia, but its real efficient, and more than enough for many people.

Re:making displays more power-efficient (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853377)

Yes, but updating the screen is slow. It will probably get better as the technology matures though.

The Pebble watch, by the way, no matter how much they insist on calling it "e-paper", is using a SHARP Memory LCD.
Basically it's an ordinary monocrome LCD, but each pixel can remember its state and keep it while not having to be refreshed more than once every second. This makes for a screen that can display complex animation (in monochrome), and still draw about as much power as your old Game & Watch.

Advantage of the monocrome screen of course is that it is eminently readably without backlight, even though it has one.

Once they start making good reflective colour memory LCD-screens we will most likely see some dramatic advances in the smart-watch market.

just had a creepy thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853303)

i wonder how many flops the average apple fanboy will have in home or on person in 5 years to unknowingly offer some random botnet somewhere.

iWatch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853363)

Someone should register this trademark quickly.

Re:iWatch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853469)

OMG electronics beat us all to it

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4006:iz51m6.4.1

Watch on time (5, Funny)

ColdCat (2586245) | about a year ago | (#42853385)

Apple was so good with daylight saving and news years alarms calculation that a apple watch is certainly a good idea.

Brilliant... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853421)

...now we have to look forward to all the Apple fanbois claiming that Apple invented the wrist watch.

The problem is... (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#42853475)

The problem is:

A) The display

B) The interface

The closest Apple has come to a watch is the iPod Nano (6th gen) which had a whole host of problems, namely that the screen (and therefore the interface) was tiny. Assuming the Nano 6th gen as a template in size, what functions of my smartphone could that easily replace? Music playback would work, but not videos, nor would web or messaging work all that well. I suppose a game or two might not be too bad. But other than that I'm at a loss as to what it could have that my smartphone has. Streaming music perhaps? But really, the screen is going to be too tiny to be usable.

I hope they do, and there are many copycats (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42853483)

I don't wear wristwatches because I am hairy, but I would like a pocketwatch-formfactor MID running Android. Gingerbread would be OK, and QVGA even, as long as it has at least a 2MP camera.

I looked at iPod Nano even though it is made by Apple but it is just too fragile and getting it coated for liquid resistance is just too expensive.

Pebble (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853493)

I wonder how this will play against Pebble. I am currently waiting for mine.

-B

Purpose of the watch is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853523)

Counting down until Eric Schidt departs Google.

Like Dick Tracy, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853547)

In honor of its comic predecessor, the device will be called iDick. The humorous trademark-infringing Chinese knockoff will be called iPud.

Lela! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853571)

So it was Siri Lela had on her wrist thingy. No wonder she barely ever uses it :)

Smokescreen? (1)

goruka (1721094) | about a year ago | (#42853623)

The concept seems pretty useless to me, given that your cellphone is almost equally as accessible nowadays. Maybe they are letting out these rumors to force their competition to re-focus their R&D in something useless and make them waste money ant time? The idea of the Apple TV screen kind of rings of the same.

Sony makes an Android watch ... (4, Insightful)

kbahey (102895) | about a year ago | (#42853649)

Sony already makes an Android watch, the SmartWatch [sonymobile.com] ...

But this will be Apple's ... Ooooh ... Shiny ...

Some functions of a smartphone... (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about a year ago | (#42853659)

Point-to-point contact? Is my childhood dream of a real Power Rangers communicator watch-like device finally coming true?! Meh. Don't care. Not a kid anymore.

Difficult to patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853667)

Prior art:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/--ZkMPJMfWl0/UITyARxb--I/AAAAAAAAAhA/dF58FFm6HX4/s1600/dicktracy.jpg

Project iGlass (1)

Kostic (2754035) | about a year ago | (#42853693)

"[...]the Taiwan-based company has been working to address the challenges of making displays more power-efficient and working with chip manufacturers to strip down their products[...]" Hm... Maybe they are building iGlasses. Hipsters gonna like that.

Buzz Lightyear to Star Command (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853695)

Do you read me?

Considering Apple's lack of success with... (1)

mschaffer (97223) | about a year ago | (#42853719)

Considering Apple's lack of success with handling alarms, new years, and DST switches, would anyone really want a watch from Apple?

Now that Apple was forced to license... (1)

mschaffer (97223) | about a year ago | (#42853759)

Now that Apple was forced to license the Swiss Railway clock design (a la iOS 6), maybe their license extends to future products like iWatches?

Form Factors (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | about a year ago | (#42853803)

The smart phone has retreated from shrinking for good reason - all things, no matter how advanced, reach a limit to their usefulness as input and display devices.

Ideally, a watch-like "smart phone" would be better as a peripheral, ala the Pebble [getpebble.com], acting with a smart phone for additional freedom (and to replace an actual watch with something more flexible in function).

I can see a future where people throw their hand up to the side of their face with a "phone handset" gesture, speaking into their pinky, listening into their thumb, with a watch-style interface on their wrist to handle it (and some implants in the hand), while a smart phone stays in your pocket or on your belt, ready for more "heavy duty" functions.

This is the same reason why optical discs have not shrunk... and why sellable media will probably remain no smaller than a typical DS cart or SD card. Too small, and it's easy to lose, even if it handles the volume of data it needs to carry out its function.

iButtplug (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#42853807)

Apple's efforts come as companies have introduced various kinds of wearable gadgets, mainly designed to measure physical activity.

I'm guessing most of them are cock rings.

This reminds me of Microsoft's SPOT Watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42853885)

Back in 2004 Microsoft launched its Smart Personal Object Technology [wikipedia.org] (SPOT). The technology wasn't just limited to watches, it also found itself on coffee makers and was promoted as a great solution for a raft of other consumer items.

I own a couple of SPOT watches...they gave me 24x7 access to stock prices, news headlines, weather and a large selection of other news items that I could customize through the SPOT configuration page (now long gone...)

Good old SPOT was laid to rest just over a year ago - rendering my SPOT watches new additions to my Microsoft Abandonware shelf...joining the Office Keyboard, my two Zune players, the fingerprint scanner / mouse combo, WebTV Settop box, my copy of Visual Basic for DOS and Windows 3.1 for Pen and countless others.

I think that SPOT failed for three reasons:

1) Outrageous annual subscription fee ($55 per year or $99 'Lifetime').
2) Very limited transmission range for the Direct Band [wikipedia.org] transmission system limited the tool's use to just a handful of Canadian cities.
3) Microsoft gave up. (Just like they have with everything else in that abaondonware bin...)

Now it is up to Apple to (once again) show us (and Bill and Steve) how it is done right!

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