iWatch speculation time: Still too early

Lucky Apple – it enjoys such great media interest in its products. All it needs do is send out a media invitation to a launch event on September 9 and the world’s press immediately go into a frenzy trying to out-predict each other on what will come.

The new iPhone 6! The iWatch! The iTime! WearableTechWatch is flying in the face of the world’s media predictions by saying we still think it’s unlikely that Apple will launch a smartwatch in early September.

The iPhone, as imagined in 2005 … (Image courtesy money.cnn.com)

Why? Because there just haven’t been enough leaks. Before a major Apple launch, the internet is usually awash with authoritative-sounding reports stating “this is the iPhone Apple will launch next week”, etc. This hasn’t happened for an Apple smartwatch. No credible images have emerged.

Nobody has accidentally forgotten their Apple wearable in a bar in the Bay Area. There aren’t any pictures of the charger, the strap and we don’t even know the form factor of the device: whether it will be a competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit, or the more chunky Sony Smartwatch II. Maybe Apple’s even planning to take on the Neptune Pine and introduce a curved iPhone Mini which also straps to your wrist.

An analog iWatch?
Just when you could have predicted the death of the old-fashioned analog wristwatch, along come two models that look like … good old fashioned analog wristwatches. Apple could also be planning to follow the recent trend and introduce something with an analog face, like the Withings Activité or the manly-looking and sounding LG G Watch R. Both already make the Moto 360 look dated.

Alternatively, if it’s going down the smart wristband track, then Apple is launching into a rapidly stagnating market, as we reported that market analyst firm Gartner observed a few weeks back.

What we do know is that Apple is a company famous (and rich) for its innovation. Before the original iPhone launched in 2007, there were some very real-looking but ultimately hugely wide of the mark guesses as to what the device would look like. A 2010 BusinessInsider article has a gallery of some of the shots that were furthest from the mark.

The first iPhone launch heralded a complete change in direction for the entire mobile handset market. Unless you’re buying a throw-away handset today, it’s almost impossible to find one that does not have a full touchscreen, yet back in 2007, BlackBerry was smartphone king of the hill. It had only just introduced the off-white roller ball for navigation – state of the art at the time.

Radically different but amazingly obvious
The same Apple principles of innovation will apply to any iWatch, and any associated iTime app: If they come, they will be radically different, but also so amazingly obvious that you’ll wonder why nobody ever thought of it before. That’s what Apple is best at doing.

One thing is certain: The September 9 announcement will introduce the new version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, along with its Health app: official information is already available from Apple. The app is “an easy-to-read dashboard of your health and fitness data”. We think – as posted in April and May this year – that Apple is creating an eco-system of smart devices, worn around the body. As we stated most recently in July in the post Your next-generation smart wristband is a smartphone, “as noted previously, we think Apple is planning to counter this to an extent by collecting data from various sources around the body – such as Beats headphones, and Nike shoe inserts.”

Here’s the clue: Apple’s iHealth page says: “Heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar, cholesterol — your health and fitness apps are great at collecting all that data. The new Health app puts that data in one place.” Apple is thinking beyond the smartwatch. Time will tell whether Apple actually introduces an iWatch on September 9, 2014: Based on what we know right now, we still think it unlikely.


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