So, just like I told you, Apple is turning its iPod Nano into a new wearable device coming soon. Given Apples history with these things, I predict it will be cool but fall way way short of its potential.
It’s unlikely any of this will actually be in version 1, but my 100% technologically and business-wise possible wish list is as follows. From my mouth to Jobs ears… Here’s what Apple could do to make this product tha bomb dot com:
1- Make it WATERPROOF.
Not water “Resistant” to where it can get splashed – iPhones are already that. They don’t advertise as such, but I’ve taken mine on enough boats and in enough oceans, lakes, pools, hot tubs and bath tubs to know that it can handle some spritz and even moisture (minimal, obvs) in the headphone jack and Lightning-butthole. The only iPhone I killed with water was Brenda1 – my first generation iPher in 2008 when my group stayed out on an offshore Hawaiian island too long and the tide came in and was rough so the swim back was equally rough, causing our waterproof bags to — whatever. The point is that a smart watch that doesn’t need to be removed in water is how to make watches a thing again. I used to love my old waterproof Fossil a girlfriend bought me back in the day to keep track of how many hours I was out in the waves and whatnot. Phones should be waterproof but I get why the care and expense isn’t taken to make them so. Theres no excuse for watches. Especially a smart watch. We already have an electronic thingy that we have to remove from our person before we go wake boarding. We don’t need another. A waterproof iWatch is how Apple can truly keep us connected with something actually useful: Get Facebook, Twitter and other notifications with you while in the pool. Don’t cut your surf session short waiting for a call – just check your wrist for important texts and incoming calls to tell you when you need to hustle back ashore. This is the #1 need for this device. All it would mean is wireless charging for the device – which is not a big deal but for some reason Apple doesn’t use that technology anywhere. The iWatch might be the first wireless charging device Apple finally releases though since there really is no sensible way to add power to a wearable device conveniently and in keeping with the minimalist Apple esthetic. And I’m not even talking about the electricity wifi that I invented and was laughed at for claiming was possible in 2001 – I just mean a charging dock with no plug-in. My tooth brush uses it. Why can’t apple? Their wireless mice should at least use it (with double-A recharbales inside that can be replaced with regulars if you choose) but doesn’t. Make the watch waterproof and that alone will get me to buy it.
2- Make it talk to other Apple products.
This is your chance to make being in the Apple cult really pay off, Apple. Wtf is wrong with you for letting Samsung punk you on that cool “bump phones to share a picture” feature? How was that not an Apple thing, you dummies? Especially when this iTV monster finally comes out after 4 years of developing – you’re gonna have to blend your shiz better. I want my iWatch to pause and play my iTV so I essentially have a remote with me at all times and I want it to know when I’m in the vicinity of my other Apple children so it can do things like log me into my computer without making me type in my password every time.
3- Make it loud AND make it silent.
Up until now, watches just beep and chirp at you. Apple has a chance to re-invent this product that’s been stuck in the 1980s for 20 years and give people a Walkman on their wrist and instead of calling it the iWatch – call it the iBand and make use of the play on words since you’ll have a music band within a wrist band. Put a speaker in this thing. Let me listen to a podcast or music playlist with the sound coming from my arm instead of a device in my pocket. That combined with its waterproof feature would make the watch fantastically unique.
For alerts, alarms and other messages: Morse code them to me with vibrations. You put your phone on vibrate and it still makes a loud “JZZZ JZZZ” sound. Put your iBand on silent and it subtly notifies you that you have something you might want to give attention to and finding out what it is not a cumbersome hassle of digging for your phone or retrieving it across the room just to see what has popped up on the screen – it’s as simple as glancing at your time telling device (which is perfectly socially acceptable in almost any instance outside of Presidential debate and other moments where you might be considered inapropes for waiting for whatever is going on to be over).
4- Make it a wallet.
Apple is inching towards this with it’s built in Passbook app that stores boarding passes, coupons, movie tickets, gift cards and more. Put it on the wrist. Eventually, I’d like to pay for my milkshake with money on my credit card by booping my wrist on a device in front of a register and getting an electronic receipt logging my purchase right away – but until then, I’ll just settle for paying for that milkshake with a gift card stored in my iBand the same way I can do now with Passbook on my iPhone. Put it on the wrist and give people one less thing they have to hold in their hand and dig in their pockets for. It’s the way of the future.
5- OBVIOUSLY open it up to the App Store
It’s really dumb that the Apple TV has existed for so many years and STILL doesn’t (and may never) allow 3rd parties to make apps for it outside of special deals made with Apple itself. Slowly, new features have been introduced to the device like Hulu Plus and a bunch of sports bullshit (baseball and basketball video streaming or something? Idk. I’ve never explored the icons) but it needs so much more. I assume this is Apple just holding back until their actual TV comes out in a million years to give it a bigger bang, make sure it works exactly how they want it to and that there aren’t conflicts of interest with their other products but it’s still lame. The iBand needs apps right away. I love the idea of having a hand-watch (which I’ve lost the ability to read) and a digital watch in the same device that is a tap away from switching back and forth in full-screen and I love the idea of being able to swipe left and right to see the local time vs time @ my destination I might be traveling to vs time in Kandahar – but that shiz is just the beginning. Make your watch a Mickey Mouse watch – put some screen savers on it that could be conversation starters – turn the screen stark-white to make it a makeshift flashlight – let me run the far superior (and free) Run Tracker exercise app on it instead of Nike’s super lame built-in iOs app that requires an external $30 device on your shoe – OPEN this thing up and it. can. Be. Awesommmmme.
These features are necessary, awesome and most of all: useful by being not redundant (ie: they achieve better ways to do things than currently exist even in other Apple products like the iPhone or any version of the iPod).
I rarely ask these closer questions (cuz it’s almost always just a cheap gimmick by authors to get viewers interactive) but I really wanna know: What do you want in the upcoming Apple-wrist-product?