Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Can Even Apple Make a Watch Insanely Smart?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the humbly-submit-display-size-matters dept.

Handhelds 196

theodp writes "Throwing some cold water on the buzz surrounding the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch launch, The New Yorker's Matt Buchanan questions how smart a watch can really be. Calling offerings like the Galaxy Gear useful but not the stuff of dreams and revolutions, Buchanan writes, 'So there remains a strange undercurrent of hope that somebody-Apple-will figure out, soon, some grander vision for wearable technology, transforming it from something that people have vaguely imagined into something people intensely desire. It did it for smartphones, once, and again, for tablets. The question that Apple has been charged with, since nobody has definitively answered it yet, is whether the lack of an invention that truly carries us beyond the last five hundred years of wrist-mounted technology is the result of a failure of imagination or simply a fact of nature-that a watch will always just be a watch, no matter how smart it might think it is.' So, will you be an early adopter and drink Samsung's or Sony's smartwatch Kool-Aid, wait to see what Apple comes up with, or hold out for a Windows Forearm Pad 8?"

cancel ×

196 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Another Fail (0)

TFlan91 (2615727) | about a year ago | (#44789071)

Another Slashdot Fail.... Go back to school ffs.

Re:Another Fail (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44789371)

the last five hundred years of wrist-mounted technology is the result of a failure

Say what?? A smartass New Yorker wants to impress but fails to fact check

Wrist watches is a technology only about 100 years old [wikipedia.org]

Before wristwatches became popular in the 1920s, most watches were pocket watches, which often had covers and were carried in a pocket and attached to a watch chain or watch fob.[3] In the early 1900s, the wristwatch, originally called a Wristlet, was reserved for women and considered more of a passing fad than a serious timepiece. Men, who carried pocket watches, were quoted as saying they would "sooner wear a skirt as wear a wristwatch"

Speakinf for myself, I'd rather wear a 16 core desktop than a smart watch; carrying the desktop, at least I'd have the advantage of the physical exercise, with a smart watch one can do mostly nothing: not enough computation power, screen economy, batery life.

Re:Another Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789529)

Speakinf for myself, I'd rather wear a 16 core desktop than a smart watch; carrying the desktop, at least I'd have the advantage of the physical exercise, with a smart watch one can do mostly nothing: not enough computation power, screen economy, batery life.

Then buy a backpack, cram a tower into it and warn people not to trip over your "world's longest extension cord". You can blog about the experience in real-time ... and the people who are laughing at you will upload pics and videos of you with their phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

Re:Another Fail (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44789641)

Or he can buy one of those AMD quad laptops and be able to do a million more things a bazillion times better than a so called "smart watch".

I do find it ironic how the tech corps are pushing "smart watches are the wave of the future!" when more and more people are treating watches like 8-tracks and not wearing a watch, preferring to check their smartphone. Hell even my elderly parents have quit wearing watches, they find the big screen of their Android phones easier to read and includes the weather. Folks are always messing with their phones anyway so why not?

Re:Another Fail (3, Informative)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about a year ago | (#44789545)

Wrist watches is a technology only about 100 years old

Patek Philippe created the first wristwatch in 1868 for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. [wikipedia.org] , so 145 years.

That said, the smartass reporter did some research; Wearable watches date back about 500 years, but they appear to have been worn as necklaces (Flavor-Flav in the 16th century yo) rather than on the wrist. He just confused wearable with wrist-mounted.

Steve Jobs on your Wrist... (0)

dryriver (1010635) | about a year ago | (#44789077)

The Apple iWatch will have a 3D avatar of Steve Jobs on its screen at all times. This will make the iWatch "Insanely Smart". Each time you want iWatch to do something, all you have to do is say something to the Steve Jobs avatar on the screen. Things like "400 Million Chinese can't speak Mandarin. Can you fix this somehow, iWristWatchSteve?" The iWatch being designed from the outset to be "insanely smart", China's language problem will get fixed in 100 ms. =)

Re:Steve Jobs on your Wrist... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789105)

China's language problem will get fixed in 100 ms. =)

Technically it will be Algeria's language problems that get fixed in 100 ms. Unless Apple iWatch is allowed to use Google maps.

Re:Steve Jobs on your Wrist... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789565)

Little Steve on your wrist will tell you that you are holding it wrong. Holding what? Well, what do you think you might be holding in the hand that shares a wrist with your watch? Yep, when Steve tells you it is too small you can say "that's what she said".

Re: Steve Jobs on your Wrist... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44789907)

"400 Million Chinese can't speak Mandarin"

What about us 6 billion 600 million Non- Chinese who can't speak Mandarin?
I want to get fixed too.

Re: Steve Jobs on your Wrist... (2)

dk20 (914954) | about a year ago | (#44789969)

What about the 900 million who can speak mandarin?

Language - Percent of World Population
Mandarin 12.44%
Spanish 4.85%
English 4.83%
Arabic 3.25%
Hindi 2.68%
Bengali 2.66%
Portuguese 2.62%
Russian 2.12%
Japanese 1.80%
German 1.33%
Javanese 1.25%
Others 61.17%

Wait (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789079)

I'll wait to see what Apple (or anyone else) comes out with but I don't hold out much hope for any of them - seems like a lost cause. The marginal increase in convenience from having it on your wrist compared to taking it out of your pocket just doesn't counter the decrease in display size and functionality compared to a phone. Even if it was extremely low cost, if I have the phone with me anyway, why bother with the watch?

Re:Wait (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44789177)

I think there are genuine use cases for it. Rather than keeping your phone in a pocket close to your body it can stay in your jacket or bag because you will definitely feel the watch vibrating. The watch will be audible in almost any clothing too, where as a phone in your bag can go unnoticed unless it's really, really loud.

A watch would also be nice for doing things like contactless payments. I see a lot of people travelling on public transport paying with their phones, but I'd prefer to have a cheap watch I can brush against the payment pad instead of having to take my expensive phone out.

For Google Now type notifications it might be nice as well. Kind of like how Glass shows you stuff all the time, but less intrusive and maybe more socially acceptable.

Re:Wait (3, Informative)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about a year ago | (#44789209)

Most of those things you mentioned fail for the watch use case though.

Contact-less payments are a nightmare - the possibility of an unintentional scan is pretty damn high. Ah you say, but you'll require you to authenticate - well ok, but now you've turned a one-handed action (remove phone from pocket, press "allow" and swipe) into a two-handed action (hold hand against scanner, use other hand to press "allow" on the watch face").

The Watch is a really terrible form factor for pretty much anything that's not passive, because there is no possible way to control it with the hand of the arm it's worn on - it takes things which only need one hand on your smart phone to implicitly involving two.

Re:Wait (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44789307)

Japanese phones with contactless payment allows you to pre-authorize certain services. For example you could pre-authorize Japan Rail, then when you want to use the train you just brush against the payment pad as you go through the barrier. No danger of accidentally paying for anything else.

In any case I don't think the accidental payment issue is a major one. There have been incidents of it happening but only because the payment machines have had too much range. Once the banks get on top of that an make sure the machines only work up to about 10mm it will be fine. The banks are obviously keen to prevent accidental payments and improve the customer's experience, and so are the retailers because it costs them money when it happens. The system has been in use in Japan for a decade now and works just fine, the teething problems having long since been worked out.

Re:Wait (3, Funny)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year ago | (#44789583)

That's Japan. You think American banks give a shit about improving customers' experiences? I think not.

Re:Wait (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about a year ago | (#44789597)

In any case I don't think the accidental payment issue is a major one. There have been incidents of it happening but only because the payment machines have had too much range. Once the banks get on top of that an make sure the machines only work up to about 10mm it will be fine.

That won't do - a malicious scanner will not abide by the standards. It's the device's
job to enforce distance limits. And I don't see that working without a proximity sensor:
A better antenna on the scanner improves both sending and receiving range.

Unfortunately, with mandatory proximity sensing, the usecase of "keep device in the
bag and just wave past the scanner" is out. Passive devices are out too (make sure
to wrap your "proximity pay"-enabled cards in metal).

So maybe that's the use case for a pay watch. I wouldn't bet on it though.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789797)

Accidental payments are already a problem. Many UK supermarkets use them at checkouts, and people are getting double charged when they present a difference card. It's been all over the news for months.

Re:Wait (0)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#44789317)

Disney, whom Apple has a great relationship with, demonstrated a technology recently that may change your mind about this.

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/128715-disney-touche-turns-everyday-objects-into-multi-touch-gesture-recognizing-interfaces [extremetech.com]

the video postulates a future where you interact with your smartphone (or other wearable/implanted computer) by performing touch gestures on your own body. Grasp your own hands to stop the music, tap on your palm with two fingers to go forward a track, ball one hand to pop up the local weather on your Google Glasses HUD and so on.

This may not be available for an iWatch yet but it's on the horizon.

Re:Wait (1)

hebertrich (472331) | about a year ago | (#44789671)

For easy payments and tap , new technology in the form of a two sided ring is appearing and could catch on fast.
Two sides one for public side info the other is private at all cost info .Near field will catch on.Good time to invest in the technology.

for it to be really smart it needs it's own modem (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | about a year ago | (#44789301)

For the smartwatch to really take off it needs a flexible screen (samsung and lg both have these), that wraps around your wrist or unfurls to smallish smartphone, and most importantly has a data/voice connection of it's own (this way you can leave home on a jog or go to the pub and just take your watch). Problem is the big companies won't want to bring that out, because it could hurt the sales of their other products (safer to sell an accessory than a replacement).

Re:for it to be really smart it needs it's own mod (1)

kasperd (592156) | about a year ago | (#44789613)

Problem is the big companies won't want to bring that out, because it could hurt the sales of their other products (safer to sell an accessory than a replacement).

That's not a concern if they can also hurt the sales of their competitors' products.

Re: for it to be really smart it needs it's own mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789679)

omate truesmart

Re: for it to be really smart it needs it's own mo (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44789955)

Omate true smart on Kickstarter looks like a good option. it seems to do everything a Smart Watch should do.

IMHO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789099)

The Samsung Gear is a joke. It must be joke. Terrible design, laggy, stuttering, poor battery life, too expensive, limited use case and compatibility.
A rushed product to yell "FIRST!" like a stupid troll in a forum. Despite not being first.

If Apple is not able to blow way people (and the mediocre Gear) then the smartwatch is indeed dead. But it will be tough, really really tough to pull that off.
And even then I'm not convinced that it will be a smash hit like the iPhone or the iPad.

Re:IMHO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789567)

I agree that this is going to be hard to make work in a practical way. But, Apple's iPod Nano [apple.com] is almost the right size already and has a lot of iOS functionality built into it (plus a radio).

I'm not sure if the "smart watch" has a place in today's world, but most companies that are trying to produce one aren't "smart" when it comes to this type of product. Maybe in 5 years when the tech & battery life is ready to be crammed into that small a space.

Keep in mind that we all refer back to when XYZ company came out with a XYZ product long before Apple tried to make it "cool" (even the Newton was too soon for the tech it needed). We're at that point with smart watches. In a few years we'll be decrying Apple for selling them to the masses and claiming XYZ company did it first. Wash, rince, repeat.

Re:IMHO (1)

clay_shooter (1680300) | about a year ago | (#44789921)

The nano doesn't have iOS functionality or at least it doesn't provide the iOS api for new apps. IMNHO he nano screen needs to be about twice as wide to be useful in any "more than nerd toy" way.

First of all the Betteridge Obligatory: (-1, Troll)

scarboni888 (1122993) | about a year ago | (#44789103)

No.

Second. Steve Jobs is dead. And therefore so is Apple. Sure they're big enough to stumble around for a bit after the head's been cut off but unlike the last time they brought Steve back to save their pathetic cult with his personality and great design ideas this time there is no resurrection.

Re:First of all the Betteridge Obligatory: (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#44789143)

I'm not so quick in discounting them, even though the effect of Steve's passing has been quite obvious.

But Apple never was a one-man show, even though he took the spotlight. From all I know, Steve's strength was not in designing or creating anything, but in inspiring others and, most importantly, his ability to cut through the crap to the core issues and to kill anything that sucked. Where other companies spend time and resources on bad products (and sometimes even bring them to market), Steve would just kill it brutally with a few words and everyone could go back to making something good.

Re:First of all the Betteridge Obligatory: (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | about a year ago | (#44789189)

And who is killing the bad ideas now?

Re:First of all the Betteridge Obligatory: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789587)

And who is killing the bad ideas now?

The consumer, just like they do for other consumer electronics items and computers.

Re:First of all the Betteridge Obligatory: (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | about a year ago | (#44790003)

And who is killing the bad ideas now?

The consumer, just like they do for other consumer electronics items and computers.

Right, and the problem with that is that it's a lot slower than having someone at the company do it early. Most stuff they send to market will be crap like it is from the other vendors.

Re: First of all the Betteridge Obligatory: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789227)

Certainly Apple was a one man show. the cult of personality drives organizations of that type. The Soviet Union at its most successful point similarly had a one man show, that ended when Stalin died.

There are examples, though, of cult-of-personality organizational structures that carry on beyond one Dear Leader. North Korea comes to mind. Perhaps the Apple cults similarities to North Korea will be continued and refined.

Re: First of all the Betteridge Obligatory: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789169)

Guess you a samsung fag???

Re:First of all the Betteridge Obligatory: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789259)

Apple is dooooomed ()

The same unoriginal slogan propagated by Apple haters since 30+ years.
Are you guys really that unimaginative?

And wrong since 30+ years.

Captcha : compute.how fitting. The FUD does not compute.

Re:First of all the Betteridge Obligatory: (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44789399)

Can Even Apple Make a Watch Insanely Smart?

Insane, I imagine it can. Smart? No,,, to start with, batery life.

Already Got One (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789119)

Pebble http://getpebble.com/

Re:Already Got One (2, Funny)

geogob (569250) | about a year ago | (#44789229)

You probably meant to say "we, at pebble, already produce and sell a similar product that might interest some of you as a nice alternative to the product discussed here. You can read more about it at http://oursite.com/ [oursite.com] "

At least do it honneslty if you want to place your product. People, especially on tech sites, are always open to interesting products... If presented the right way. Now you just look like a lamer that doesn't understand what we want and do not want. How can I trust you to know what I want as an intelligent watch.

Please go sleep over this.

Re:Already Got One (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789535)

Definitely not what I (as the AC you're replying to) meant to say. I am not with Pebble, I don't sell any products, and I get no kickbacks of any variety. I am just a person who, if I happen to hear a person asking a question that I have opinions about, will answer. Since I own a Pebble, I have opinions about its ability to fill a need.

Re:Already Got One (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44789727)

I just got mine recently, and it's fantastic at what it does. Notifications, weather, Google Now support, and more. I just tried a biking app for it that shows speed, distance, and elevation. You can actually read the thing in sunlight and the battery lasts a week. It's too bad they're not more readily available.

Re:Already Got One (1, Insightful)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year ago | (#44789753)

You're definitely more likely to be a shill, based on the comment you replied to, and your carefully written but spurious argument and "high horse". You reek of "corporate responsibility" and all the duplicity that goes with that.

First of all, why have we got any reason to believe that if someone were promoting Pebble for reward, they'd make a dumb anecdotal comment and ju st give the link?

Since the Pebble is a) more open (computing-wise), b) a lot cheaper and c) a commodity (replacable) item, as opposed to the iWatch's inevitable proprietory platform and vendor lock-in (Will it work fully )with anybody else's smartphones?), anybody promoting it would likely point out these things, and others, giving us REASON to click the link and buy.

You're using words like lamer, implying things you can't possibly read into the comment, like whether he understands what "we" want - this also simultaneously implies that you speak for all of us (if you want something like and iWatch, iPad etc. - you definitely don't speak for all of us!!)

This is the exact same manipulation technique used by shills (government and corporate) to control our purchasing and thought patterns - resulting in the system of control and manipulation Apple et. al. are at the top of right now.

tl;dr: He accuses the parent of being a shill, his comment makes it look more the other way round.

Re:Already Got One (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789977)

If presented the right way.

That being "New product announcement from Apple". For any other company slashdot gives almost no coverage. I can't say I blame them for using the comments section to get SOME coverage when it is basically impossible to compete with the Apple hype machine. Fuck, Apple haven't even come out with anything yet and already their competitors are being casually dismissed by the industry estalishment (and yes, that includes slashdot).

Re:Already Got One (4, Informative)

DJRikki (646184) | about a year ago | (#44789233)

Re: Already Got One (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789533)

If one of your complaints is the watch strap, you should not review watches.

missing the point (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#44789125)

It doesn't have to be "incredibly smart". It just has to be smart in the right places.

The original iPhone didn't really do anything that wasn't available elsewhere already. But it bundled the proper things together in the proper way and had the proper design to make it all work well. I had owned several PDAs before, but the iPhone was the PDA I had always wanted.

Same for the watch. My bet is that while everyone else is working on cramming as much crap into the watch as possible. Apple is busy making sure there is no crap on it, only the right mix of the right stuff you really want on your wrist.

Re:missing the point (2, Insightful)

halexists (2587109) | about a year ago | (#44789195)

Amen.

When you look at the iPhone, Apple figured out how to make it do stuff people craved to do over and over, but not gadgety stuff that sounds sci-fi cool and you only want to try out once. The Samsung watch has a LOT of cool tech packed into it, but reported lagginess will kill it in the market. Nobody wants to wait to interact with their watch.

To expound on what the right mix of stuff probably is for a watch, the focus should be on things that people will want to do multiple times a day, and things that take less time than the same task on a smartphone (a tall order to be sure). The only way a "smartwatch" gains traction is by adding utility in two areas: 1) you couldn't do something without that specific form factor and 2) you could pull your phone out of your pocket/purse, but it's faster to just use the watch.

That is a tall order of niche to fill with a device that will cost at least a couple of bills. And if it can't do those things reliably (i.e. pairing issues, responsiveness) then nobody cares. I would give Apple the best odds at pulling it off if anyone can in this decade.

Re:missing the point (2, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44789347)

Simply having a lot of crap is not the problem. High end Android phones have a lot of features, but you can easily manage them and turn off the ones you don't want. Customizability is key, making the phone work according to the user's preferences and with the features they want.

With Apple it's Apple's way or the highway. That's fine if your needs and preferences happen to match Apple's.

I just hope that there are standards for smart watches, and interoperability. Obviously Apple's watch will be Apple only, but I'm hoping Android will be better as it seems that "smart peripherals" like Glass are where we are headed (no pun intended).

Re:missing the point (0)

Kartu (1490911) | about a year ago | (#44789451)

You didn't need a visionary to combine PDA and a phone.
Gestures with pitch to zoom etc were there even back in mid 90th, on (at that time) very expensive prototypes.
Once right tech was there, pda-phones or smartphones if you want, were inevitable.

And once everyone did that, Apple is oh so far behind. (still that PDA icon grid thing and no widgets, give me a break)
It still sells well because it is a fashion device, but that's it.

iWatch will probably be as popular as apple TV.

Re:missing the point (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#44789885)

You, Sir, have no idea what the heck you are talking about.

You still think that technology matters, but it frankly doesn't, or very little. It's not who has the coolest widgets, it is who can make it work.

All the PDAs at that time, all of them, without exception, were toys. Average people wouldn't touch one with a ten foot pole. Heck, I'm an IT guy and I considered them barely useable. In fact, for serious stuff I even moved back to paper and pen.

The iPhone was, above all, useable. No, more then that, it was a pleasure to use. That's why it essentially started the smartphone market even though smartphones had been around for quite a while already.

Re:missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790043)

The iPhone was, above all, useable. No, more then that, it was a pleasure to use. That's why it essentially started the smartphone market even though smartphones had been around for quite a while already.

Nope. The iPhone brought a standard web browser to the smartphone world and that's why it finally jump started things. If it had just merged an iPod with an apps-only PDA and phone capabilities its popularity would have grown much more slowly.

If an "iWatch" is ever to have similar success, it will meet some essential wearables need first and be a watch / aux-screen second. Current wrist wearables just don't seem to have identified any functions that would be interesting to a large segment of the population.

Personally I want to see Apple push flexible screen technology to where they can introduce a device that wraps around our wrist as a bracelet (and there are a LOT more fashion variation opportunities in bracelets than watch-sized wearables) but be easily unfolded to iphone-sized flat block on a desk when we want to do more complex touch-based interactions.

Omate TrueSmart: Water-resistant standalone Smartw (2)

Darri (948351) | about a year ago | (#44789511)

Here is one I think has real potential:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/omate/omate-truesmart-water-resistant-standalone-smartwa [kickstarter.com]

It was mentioned here on /. not long ago:

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/13/08/26/0454236/omate-truesmart-watch-stands-alone-no-phone-required [slashdot.org]

They have already reached some amazing stretch goals, such as Sapphire Crystal Glass, and are
aiming for further ones, like 720p video recording.

Re:Omate TrueSmart: Water-resistant standalone Sma (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#44789703)

This one does look kind of cool, especially like the whole 'it is a phone' thing. I already do most of my stuff on the Nexus 7 anyways, so tethering between the two and still having a device to take phone calls on would actually be pretty great.

Re:Omate TrueSmart: Water-resistant standalone Sma (1)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#44789851)

aiming for further ones, like 720p video recording.

That's what I mean.

Why in all hells would I want a watch that does video recording? Or Facebook? Or messaging?

Re:Omate TrueSmart: Water-resistant standalone Sma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789889)

I have my name down for an Omate but I would like to point out that even cheap Japanese quartz watches have sapphire glass.
It is really nothing special in the watch world. The problems of shaping the glass to fit the design of the watch have been solved.
Omate state there supplier has never done this before. Perhaps they should find a supplier who has experience in doing this.

The difference between sapphire glass and mineral crystal is that sapphire is more scratch resistant but shatters easier.
Mineral crystal scratches easier bit has a higher resistance to shattering. Seiko uses its proprietary Hardlex mineral crystal which is a hardened form of mineral crystal. It resists impact better than ordinary sapphire crystal and is harder to scratch than mineral crystal.

A good watch will have an anti-reflective coating on the inside of the glass. A better watch will have the coating on either side of the glass.
A very good watch will have a thicker slab of sapphire and two coatings of a-r.

Omate do not mention anything about a-r. I think it is essential. Further, they do not say how thick the sapphire glass will be.
In my experience the thicker the glass the better. The extra thickness does not interfere with seeing into it.

The thing that makes this stand out from every other smart watch is that it is a stand alone phone.It does not have to have your smart phone anywhere near.

Re:missing the point (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789841)

The only thing Apple ever does right is target stupid people.

Re:missing the point (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44789925)

RIght, it is the integration of the product. The iPhone actually is not a good phone, but it is a good pocket mobile device. If you want a phone, or a a TV streaming device, or a hotspot, then but another product that is engineered to do that.

The iPod was the same thing. No wireless, less space than a nomad, but I eventually replaced my nomad with an iPod because the firewire less me transfer music quickly, the build quality was much better, and the fact that I could move music quickly meant that I did not need very expensive removable storage on the Nomad.

We see this where computers where some laptops are sold on the basis on number of USB and HDMI ports.

The problem with the watch is that it has to be integrated with the phone and the computer or whatever cloud repository there is for data. To me the present use case for a watch is that the phone stays in your pocket and many thing, reading emails, making calls, video calls, etc are done through the watch. Pebble does a good job of this on Android, not so good job on iPhone. One can blame Apple for this, due to lockdown, but Samsung has not been able to do much better with their watch which works with exactly one upcoming phone.

So Apple will make the engineering compromises that will allow the watch to function as something, not quite a watch, not quite a wrist computer.

Smart watch not such a smart idea (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44789135)

The trouble everyone is grappling with here is that they want a smart watch to be some kind of smartphone-like thing. We've seen it work in comics, right? Dick Tracey and all. The only trouble is that the size of things people want to put on their wrists isn't big enough for much of a display, isn't big enough for much of a data entry device and isn't big enough for much of a battery. You just can't pack a lot of function on there, much less do it attractively, much less do it in a form factor where it becomes a fashion accessory, particularly for ladies since ladies are used to tiny watches.

Re:Smart watch not such a smart idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789295)

The only trouble is that the size of things people want to put on their wrists isn't big enough for much of a display, isn't big enough for much of a data entry device and isn't big enough for much of a battery.

And that is why it is probably more intelligent to make a watch only a wireless peripheral device to a more functional device.

Arguably a retinal+earpiece device obsoletes the need for watches, though I find google glass ugly, the perfect device for me is visually undetectable that I am wearing one. Wake me up when we have the tech to tap into a human optic nerve to read and write visual signals. I could imagine a field inducing coiled collar implanted around the optic nerve, though you would definitely need a tin foil hat to shield it.

Flexible displays are the answer (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | about a year ago | (#44789385)

Both samsung and lg have built flexible displays and you can expect them to start showing up in products next year (I'm pretty sure apple's iwatch will have one, if they are waiting till next year). With a flexible display you can get can get a smallish phone to be be a biggish watch. And before you go telling me everything cant be flexible it doesn't need to be (just enough to wrap it around a wrist), stuff like batteries can be multiple units separated around the band, and you can easily have a rigid spot in the middle for a circuit board.

Re:Flexible displays are the answer (1)

cryptoluddite (658517) | about a year ago | (#44789909)

Watches aren't flexible. Why would you think flexible display is important? The only way a flexible display could matter is if it unfolds to make a larger display than the watch face... but that's not going to happen.

The key feature will be the display though. An e-ink display that doesn't flash for instance (can change single pixels without having to refresh whole areas). An always-on display that takes next to no power is the key feature for a smart watch. Combine that with something useful like a always-on heart rate or blood pressure monitor would finish it.

Re:Smart watch not such a smart idea (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year ago | (#44789407)

and the many design disabilities is why the Federation quit using the wrist communicators after Wrath of Khan.

No use for a watch anymore (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789139)

I have a collection of watches in a box for about the last ten years and have no plans of ever using them again. There's a large readable time display on my cell. there's time displays in many places such as in cars, on buildings, microwaves, TVs, computers.and more. As a last resort just ask someone "what time is it ?" I haven't noticed many people wearing watches lately. Why burn time and energy on this stupid shit, does any one really care ?

The Watch is so 20th c. (2)

nightcats (1114677) | about a year ago | (#44789153)

Leave the wrist alone -- Let's focus on a different body part. How about a Smart-Truss? Who wouldn't want a 1.5 Ghz processor warming their junk? Cupertino, I expect a slice of the action for this idea....

Re:The Watch is so 20th c. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789187)

Remember the audience. The iButtPlug, with customizable pattern vibrate for easily distinguishing between appointments and incoming calls and messages.

Re:The Watch is so 20th c. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789437)

Apple users don't need one - their head is far enough up their ass as it is.

Sent from my iPhone.

Apple tryhard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789163)

When have they invented anything?

Just wait for their new watch, with rounded corners no doubt.

climb back under your rock.

Don't expect a watch from Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789167)

Or would you buy an "iWatch" and put it on your wrist? Hello NSA! Besides, Steve Jobs is dead. Apple is now just another stock, with managers eager to avoid risk and fill their coffers.

Good fucking luck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789185)

Since Jobs died Apple has made no significant innovation -- and they're not terribly good at refreshing their current offerings.

They create markets, not devices. I don't think a Jobs-less Apple can pull that off anymore.

Are they even building a watch? (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#44789211)

Seemingly everyone thinks they are, but has anyone seen any concrete proof besides some random patents?

Re:Are they even building a watch? (1)

AlecC (512609) | about a year ago | (#44789267)

I reckon they have had a good look at it, decided it won't work, so they are leaking that they are going to do it to make Samsung etc. waste effort on something that will never work. My bet is on the iHat as an answer to Google Goggles. After all, Dick Tracey wore a hat as well.

innovation in a smart watch (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year ago | (#44789213)

put a phone in it

It would be handy if it told the time as well

Re:innovation in a smart watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789265)

It would be handy if it told the time as well

Fast forward two years... people that wear the watch on their right wrist will fail to get the time updated properly when daylight savings comes around, be told they're wearing it wrong.

Re:innovation in a smart watch (0)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44789415)

LOL AC, the fat and fluid in the average arm was not factored in during extensive testing.
Version 2 will have a better antenna in the longer, stronger band.

The Interface, Stupid (2)

Ed The Meek (3026569) | about a year ago | (#44789231)

It's all about the interface. If you can interface well with the watch to accomplish the task - it should be a winner.

Re: The Interface, Stupid (1)

Ed The Meek (3026569) | about a year ago | (#44789281)

A watch like this will be awesome when we're able to interface with it holographically.

yeesh (0)

markdavis (642305) | about a year ago | (#44789247)

>"'So there remains a strange undercurrent of hope that somebody-Apple-will figure out,"

Oh please give us a break. As if only Apple can figure anything out. I find it humorous how much they copied from Android into iOS the last few rounds.

And no mention of Google as a major player in this space is a mistake. They are coming out their own watch too... (Really? You mention Samsung, Apple, and.... MICROSOFT??)

Re:yeesh (0)

Rob Hostetter (2908585) | about a year ago | (#44789387)

Well that is ironic since android copied all the good ideas from iOS first.

Re:yeesh (1, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#44789631)

Oh please give us a break. As if only Apple can figure anything out. I find it humorous how much they copied from Android into iOS the last few rounds.

There's the one thing that companies like Samsung can't find out without copying Apple (as demonstrated by that horror watch that Samsung released): What features to add and more importantly, what features to leave out.

Windows 'forearm' (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#44789251)

Reminds me of what they had on the show 'Ark II'.

Obama Fallatio HQ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789303)

Attention Obama Supporting Slashdot Douchenozzles!

You have butr yourselves to thank!!! Oh the joy of statism! Bend over douchenozzles and suck up the Obama socialism!!! Get in line for your food stamps, government cheese and a colonoscpy!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-administration-had-restrictions-on-nsa-reversed-in-2011/2013/09/07/c26ef658-0fe5-11e3-85b6-d27422650fd5_story.html

"The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material.

In addition, the court extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years — and more under special circumstances, according to the documents, which include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. "

Tyranny!!! It's what's for dinner at Slashdot Socialist Central!

Miss my casio cfx-200 scientific calculator watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789309)

I miss my old Casio cfx-200 scientific calculator watch [google.com] . Darn thing lasted over 2 decades before it died. It was incredibly useful, and always available.

A smart watch shouldn't be so hard. Folks are just repeating the PDA debacle. Remember when no one could figure out PDAs, and some guy from Palm Computing at U.S. Robotics put it together? What do folks really want in a watch? What are we putting in there "just because"?

Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789341)

Expensive watches have been nothing but fashion statements for years now. They don't do anything new, replicate functions that are much better on cheaper devices, lack any real innovation, and are really just oddly socially acceptable look-at-me bling.

Apple should dominate this market.

I'll admit I'm curious. (0)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year ago | (#44789403)

I've racked my brain trying to dream up a smartwatch I'd want, couldn't really hack it. Maybe Apple will come up with something nice.Or maybe they'll come up with something shiny, magical and overpriced

It's just an Apple joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789439)

Having seen the pictures and reviews of the Gear, it's hard to believe Apple will bring out a watch.

I think the whole thing is just some misdirection on Apple's part. The Apple boardrooms at this moment are full of people drinking champagne and saying "Can you believe it? They actually fell for it. What a bunch of morons."

"five hundred years of wrist-mounted technology?" (2)

jageryager (189071) | about a year ago | (#44789473)

According to wiki:

Patek Philippe created the first wristwatch in 1868 for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary.

Too bad Job wasn't still around. He could "reinvent" that wristwatch.

It's the screen size, stupid (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year ago | (#44789485)

Even a screen that's roughly 4x4 cm covering a square roughly the width of a man's wrist is too small to really be useful. This has been tried before with the Palm OS. Another thing is, large watches are ugly, and people won't buy them for that reason either. Sure, geeks would lap them up in droves of a few thousand units. After that, crickets...

Wearable information Technology and the Watch (2)

adam.sys (1558109) | about a year ago | (#44789513)

I've been working on wearable computers since 1994 (http://www.media.mit.edu/wearables/lizzy/oranchak/witintro.html) and I believe strongly in the concept. The smart phone has delivered nearly all the promise we had hoped for except hands-free operation. The cell phone watch is not new. I bought one that was made in China and wore it for years. In fact, I showed that watch at the Gadget Show during the 2008 International Symposium of Wearable Computers in Pittsburgh and I had been using for a couple of years at that point.

The watch doesn't offer a purely hands free experience, true, but I never lost that phone; I still have it. Answering calls is possible with the watch alone but a bluetooth headset is much more preferable. Nobody knew it was a phone until I received a call. That was generally followed by shock and amazement. I used it to track my billing hours. It was always there. It was pretty great, really.

The adoption of wearables has always been hampered by fashion strangeness. The watch format does a nice job of dealing with that. The screen size is challenging. Mine had a tiny little stylus and using it was merely possible and not much more. But, I could have a meeting with clients and nobody ever questioned it. When I wore my first wearable to its public opening, somebody on the subway asked if it was a bomb. The early wearables made the wearer self conscious in public; you had to be prepared to be stared at.

One of the early concepts proposed by Motorola was a constellation of devices that, together in synergy, becomes a full on wearable computer. That, I believe, was the project that first floated the idea of an ear bud headset. They, too, seemed strange at first but they have become widely adopted. That's where we are heading.

So, now, the electronics have gotten smaller, power consumption reduced to the point where battery bulk is reasonable, and infrastructure is in place to support wearable computers. Wearables are becoming real. Yet, there are still challenges. We hoped that head mounted displays would be key but we are still struggling with them. That's a field that I have been working on for the last decade. I know the challenges intimately and we are not there yet. In the meantime, the watch format is a viable intermediate step.

As for Apple coming to save the day: Frankly, I don't understand why people are so enamored with their offerings. They don't do anything different in my opinion. I prefer the Android approach that "opens the innovation tent" to everyone willing to give it a shot.

Apple is a software company (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44789603)

Frankly, I don't understand why people are so enamored with their offerings.

Because they are well made, easy to use, have a well thought out interface and for the most part require very little fiddling to work. My 94 year old technologically illiterate grandmother is able to effectively utilize an iPad while at the same time I am able to get what I want out of an iPhone and I'm about big a tech geek as you are likely to run into. What makes Apple products attractive and different is the software.

They don't do anything different in my opinion.

Ahh but they do and those differences are what people are willing to pay for. What you have to understand is that Apple is fundamentally a software company. Steve Jobs himself has said so [youtube.com] explicitly. What is different about Apple's products is the software and what it does. It's not so much about them doing tasks that no one else can do as it is how they do those tasks. Apple (usually) provides a well designed and well executed experience and software is how they tie it all together. People buy Macs for the software - the hardware is barely different from PCs from Dell or HP. People buy iPods, iPhones and iPads for the software. The hardware isn't much different from the competition and in fact some competitors have rather slavishly copies Apple's designs. What Apple does differently is found in their software.

I prefer the Android approach that "opens the innovation tent" to everyone willing to give it a shot.

Nothing wrong with that but there are positives as well as drawbacks. If you are someone (like me and probably you) who really likes to fiddle with your gear then Android might very well be a better choice. But for my non-tech savvy relatives who just want a smartphone I point them at an iPhone. Not everyone wants to endlessly mess around with arcane features of their phones. Apple's products aren't for everyone but Apple has never pretended that they were. That said they sell an awful lot of product so they clearly are doing something that appeals to a lot of people.

Wearable T-shirt Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789527)

Me, I'm waiting for my smart T-shirt to come on the market. It will be powered by my rippling muscles. Yeah, dream on.

it's not meant to be a watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789531)

It's not meant to be a watch though - in fact, I wish manufacturers would realise that and stop trying to make it look like one. This isn't about trying to make an existing thing "smart" - it's about taking something that's smart i.e the personal computer, and making it a wearable device - it just happens that the best place to wear it on your body is the wrist, hence why we wear our watches there..

Yes, but... (1)

0m3gaMan (745008) | about a year ago | (#44789591)

It'll run like the Performa 6116.

Wearables and Mobile Devices (1)

ARCHAEVIST (3035921) | about a year ago | (#44789651)

I look forward to the specialization of wearables. So far, most wearable computers interact with the users mobile device and only do a little bit of onboard computing. Why not create a mobile device which specializes in providing the computing for wearables? I imagine that it would be well protected with a big battery. Instead of a touchscreen, I'd give it e-ink like the kindle. Ideally, this device should only have to be charged once a day, and backlights and touchscreens are a pretty big power drain. I might even try to use the AR device and the Watch synchronously to create a typing system, for quick tweets and texts. We have pretty good predictive typing, why not make use of it? Word or letter suggestions could be arrayed around the watch at the stations of the clock, and twisting the hand the watch is on to scroll through suggestions.

Meh (1)

GrahamJ (241784) | about a year ago | (#44789705)

Even as a tech-savvy early adopter I don't find the idea of a smartwatch particularly appealing. I only ever wore a watch for utilitarian reasons and I gladly dropped the practise after I started carrying a more capable device (a phone) I find the pocketable slab-of-glass form factor to be ideal for my mobile computing needs and as much as I try to imagine a watch being a useful addition to it in some way, I just don't see it. Poking at a tiny screen or talking to my wrist do not appeal to me at all so anything input-related is out. I guess notifications could be handy but I'm not going to spend money, strap something to my body, and deal with keeping it charged just for that. A vibe in my pocket and a quick peek at my phone if I really care is fine for me. I guess if I was always walking or doing something where even pulling out my phone is a pain I might see things differently, but that's not me.

Don't smart phones already have piles of sensors (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about a year ago | (#44789707)

built in? I am wondering if what is really needed here is not a watch sized display that talks to the phone in your bag, but a phone mounted on your wrist. The only problem with that scenario now is that shirt sleeves aren't made to accommodate a phone-sized object strapped to your wrist. So what we really need then is for shirts to be made with bigger sleeves and some sort of strap attachment for a phone to put it on your wrist (OK, maybe a minor tweak to the phone design so that the power button is located where you can get at it more easily while the phone is strapped to your wrist).

The great breakthrough is going to come from a clothing designer, NOT a phone maker.

One more thing- that strap should hold the phone along the radius- the bone on the thumb side of your wrist (like a pipboy 3000) - where it is easy to access without turning your wrist into an uncomfortable position, as many so-called smart watches require.

Wearable Apple = iClothes (3, Interesting)

bazorg (911295) | about a year ago | (#44789713)

There is one thing that Apple could do that a conventional electronic devices or software house competitor cannot: shift the discussion from wearable tech to pieces of fashionable clothing. If we think about it, the white earbuds are a fashion item as much as an accessory for MP3 players. People made or adapted existing bracelets to wear the iPod Nano as a wristwatch. Loads of armbands were built to accommodate wearing iPods and iPhones when exercising. Nike has sensors for shoes that link up with the current generation of iPod. The tech part they've got nailed already (Sony, Samsung, Apple, Google, ... all of them). Getting people to wear it without looking silly is the challenge and has been for a long time.

What Apple can do rather than try to out-gadget the gadget makers is to design beautiful items of clothing that have the right pockets in the right places to carry the iPhone. Maybe some way to get a microphone and headphones built in to make calls and chat with Siri. There's always money for fashion items and I suspecct that Apple fanboy/girl would be happy to wear the team's colours. Pay £150 for a turtleneck? No problem. They can all wear the same model of iClothes until next year's is released. It would be a bit like Star Trek, with everyone on the planet wearing the same type of clothes.

5kT Killer App (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789775)

Predator had a smart watch.

Old (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44789879)

A smart watch once saved Harold Crick's life.

The smartest watch is dumb (4, Insightful)

Misagon (1135) | about a year ago | (#44789919)

I think that what a smartwatch needs to be is as a "companion device" to a phone, and nothing more.
It needs a screen, two buttons (or areas to tap) for "Yes" and "No" and low-bandwidth communication with the phone. The phone tells the watch what to display and what the buttons mean. The watch then needs only to reply with "Message understood, displaying screen", "Yes" and "No". That's it.
All the "killer apps" that a smartwatch could be used for require those things and nothing more.

The Samsung watch and many stand-alone smartwatches are too powerful, too feature-rich and already too bloated. The Samsung watch is already too large to wear comfortably on the wrist. Has anyone mentioned battery life yet? My Casio has a battery life measured in years.

Bias much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789943)

So, will you be an early adopter and drink Samsung's or Sony's smartwatch Kool-Aid, wait to see what Apple comes up with, or hold out for a Windows Forearm Pad 8?

No, I'd rather wait and drink the apple kool-Aid. That way i can pay twice as much for a similiar product...

Team effort? (2)

nanospook (521118) | about a year ago | (#44790037)

I wouldn't be surprised if the managers at Apple are all so busy watching each other and playing court politics that innovation is dead. Jobs was very vocal and out there about what was good and bad for his company and what he liked and didnt like. I hear the new guy has nothing to say unless hes pissed. Good luck Apple..

The problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790061)

The problem with smart watches is that the typical target audience need their wrist free, so they can insert their hand wide enough into their anus. What's the point of wearing a watch if you have to take it off every 5 minutes?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>