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Wearables: Article

Is it iTime for iOS?

Is Apple in the process of reinventing the modern timepiece rather than extending it into the modern world?

There have been quite a lot of rumors these last few weeks with regards to Apple reportedly working on an iWatch. I was wondering what they would gain with such a move? Some have pointed out that they already have the iPod Nano as a simple watch, but this repeats the functionality of the music player and lacks functionality of the full iOS device. Does this mean the age of Dick Tracy is around the corner? Far fetched you think? I would have agreed, but after I visited the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA last week it may not be. The Computer History Museum exhibits hardware up to the year 2000 and it's awesome how far we have gone beyond that in 13 years! So this may not be far off… and trust Apple to make it happen.

It's only when you start using 'wearable technology' that you realise what a convenience it is, being able to look at the the latest information whist your device stays firmly in your pocket or bag! There are already tech manufacturers that are connecting to the iPhone and Android devices via Bluetooth, of which an example is the MetaWatch Strata http://www.metawatch.org . This KickStarter funded project allows the display of weather, stocks, calendar and messages from the iPhone 4S via widgets that run on the watch and an app that is on the devices. Their API is available so all developers could extend those key important pieces of information to the MetaWatch, though its is a one way process… view only!

The question then becomes if Apple are about to blast past guys like these, by extending the springboard to the wrist, or putting a limited version of iOS on a strap? I am slightly sceptical of the functionality that a wrist based iOS device could achieve, bettering the functionality of something like the MetaWatch. Though as an extension of an additional iPhone/iPad, that integrates better than 3rd party products, pushing data back from the watch etc… then I could be sold. I also think if this is a sweet spot for Siri, allowing the able to interact on an iOS device too small to have a keyboard? What will be certain is that any physical design from Apple will be as magical as we would expect.

Is Apple in the process of reinventing the modern timepiece rather than extending it into the modern world? I believe so, though I'm having a hard time predicting how... but remember the old Steve Jobs saying that states that... we as consumers can't envisage what we want!

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

More Stories By Ian Thain

As one of the Sybase Technical Evangelists, Ian regularly addresses technical audiences all over the world and his sessions are always very well attended. He also writes education classes, whitepapers, demos and articles for various Sybase products and publishes regularly in Journals such as SYS-CON's PBDJ and International Developer Magazine. He is also the Sybase Unwired Platform & PocketBuilder Evangelist and works closely with the team in Dublin, CA and Concord, MA on new features and demonstrations for the products. In his customer-facing Evangelist role, Ian is very involved with the design, production and testing of Enterprise class Unwired Solutions, that have been implemented using Sybase's Unwired tools for Sybase customers around the globe. In addition, Ian is a dedicated technical expert continually working with Sybase's key partners and clients to enhance the capabilities of the Unwired solutions that Sybase can offer to its customers. Ian can also be found on Twitter @ithain

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