Analyst: iWatch isn’t about Smartwatches

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With rumors of an Apple smartwatch running hot and heavy, analysts are offering thier take on just what might be up -- or at the end of -- the company's sleeve. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White thinks the mythical watch isn't about being a smartwatch at all, and instead is a wrist top remote for managing music, TV, home automation, and more.

Brian White thinks the iWatch is a wearable home automation systemBrian White thinks the iWatch is a wearable home automation system

Mr. White said,

As an Apple supplier, our contact offered insight into the 'iWatch' and described this potential new device as much more than an extension of your iPhone but as a multi-purpose gateway in allowing consumers to control their home (i.e., heating/cooling, lights, audio, video, etc.).

That's a different take than most other analysts who are expecting Apple to release a watch-like device that's more in line with the Pebble, and Samsung's poorly designed Galaxy Gear, both of which are accessories to smartphones and tablets. Of the two, the Pebble is better designed and more comfortable to wear, but still is essentially little more than an extra screen for the iPhone.

Samsung's approach to the smartwatch market was to rush to market the Galaxy Gear -- a clunky Android-based watch with short battery life and compatibility with only one Samsung device. More devices will be added to the compatibility list soon, but at over US$300 consumers were looking for something that had more versatility on launch day.

Assuming Apple is taking a different approach to tech on the wrist, which seems very likely considering the company is about market disruption and not "me too" products, watches like the Galaxy Gear will have a hard time competing because they're simply following along with similar devices that are already on store shelves.

Instead, Apple is most likely working on a device that changes how we think about wearable technology regardless of whether or not it's on our wrists.

There also isn't any reason to believe that Apple is looking just to our wrists for wearable tech. The company hasn't said what its plans are, or even if it's really working on a smartwatch. What CEO Tim Cook has said is that Apple is interested in wearable tech, and that's clearly enough to put analysts and the company's competitors on alert.

Right now the focus is on Apple as a potential smartwatch maker. What's more likely is that Apple is working on something that offers unique functionality when worn, and that it offers even more features when paired with other Apple products.

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Apple may or may not be working on a smartwatch. It may or may not be a home automation remote control. What we really know for sure right now is that analysts are all frantically trying to figure out just what Apple is working on, and that Samsung jumped the gun with a weak entrance into the smartwatch market in hopes of beating Apple.



Methinks executive hearts will have sagged in Seoul upon reading this report, and that rising from the upper floors at Samsung HQ I descry a collective, “Doh!”

Whatever one might think of Samsung, one must accept that they are nothing if not consistent - at least in their relentless copying of anything successful in any market in which they compete (if I one may be so generous as to call such practice competition).

Whatever Apple come out with in the form of wearable tech, and whatever it may do, my prediction (indeed, this is too obvious to even merit the title ‘prediction’, more of an anticipation, really), is that Samsung will quickly follow suit, and if the direction is as substantially different from their original offering, as this report suggests, they will explain their first iteration watch away as a ‘mere concept’, and that this (whatever direction Apple has led) is where they were always headed.

I will be happy to be proved wrong.




Home automation control on your wrist ... now this makes me think of people in sci-fi movies who tap out instructions to robots or security personnel on their wrist, or who tell their spaceship to come pick them up somewhere.

I don’t have very many automated things to control, so this wouldn’t be useful to me. Maybe in 20 years.

I’m still more interested in the idea of something that acts as a watch but adds more unique functionality beyond what I already have. So far only FitBit Force seems to have caught my eye. But I still haven’t decided if I even *want* to track my health.  (I’m the guy who refuses to have any kind of diet other than: if I eat cake then I’ll eat more vegetables the next day.)

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