How the iWatch Could Completely Catch the Competition Napping

I don't mind a bit of fantasy about the iWatch. If none of the following comes to pass, that's fine. The iWatch will be fantastic anyway. But I have one last chance to ponder what Apple could do and test my predictive skills. Follow me on this.

What started this was a reader who sent me a great paraphrased quote (unverified) this week, in the context of warfare.


Never think about what they might do; think about what they are capable of doing. - Chester W. Nimitz

What I would like the iWatch to do is something that it could very well do.

1. Track iPhone. The iPhone is always at loose ends. We don't use a lanyard. It's easy to lose if you set it down. Recently, my wife and I were in Panera Bread, and there was an iPhone in a very feminine looking case sitting on the counter. We handed it to the clerk, and she set it aside. On our way out to the parking lot, we saw a woman get out of her car, leaving the kids behind, and was rushing into the Panera Bread, almost running. I said to my wife, "Guess who that iPhone belongs to?" (I was right.)

If the iWatch had a proximity sensor and warning, we'd never leave our iPhone (or iPad) unattended again.

2. Track Owner. We'll log on to the iWatch with Touch ID. When we take it off, it'll sense the loss of body heat and log me out. A stolen iWatch is useless.

3. Log Me On. The iWatch could also sense the proximity of my Mac, MacBook Air or iPhone and log me on. Once I've authenticated with my fingerprint on the iWatch, I can log on to all my Apple devices with an encrypted radio link just by being close. No more passwords to remember. (But a password still works.)

4. Payments. There are rumors of an NFC capability in the iWatch. "WSJ Claims iWatch Will Have NFC for Mobile Payment System." I like this because there are situations when it's rather inconvenient (or risky) to fish an iPhone from a briefcase or purse, log on, and then approve a payment. (And then leave it behind while wrestling with shopping bags.)

With an iPhone, so long as it senses body heat, you're logged on. Just wave your hand close to the point-of-sale NFC station and touch the iWatch to approve payment. Done.

I don't know if these fantasies will come true on September 9, but they're certainly in the realm of things Apple could do, and these features could catch the competition napping because they could be so easily integrated into Apple's current OS X and iOS architecture.

I'm crossing my fingers that I'll get my wishes.

Next: the technical news debris for the week of Sep 2. Robots, the iPhone 6 official name, and Apple's finesse with the media.

Page 2 -The Technical News Debris for the Week of September 1


I'll start off with this highlight of the week, an awfully good multi-part series by Mark Gurman of Apple's handling of its public relations. This is highly recommended: "Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media."

Peter Burrows, who is a very astute observer of technology, writes "6 Reasons Samsung Should Fear the iPhone 6." In the course of the article, Mr. Burrows maps out the changes happening at Apple and how these positive changes enhance Apple's ability to compete. It's also a very good read.

360 Eye. Image Credit: Dyson

Back in the 1990's Microsoft, centered as it was on its own agenda, missed the importance of the Internet in its early public phase. Similarly, I think that if Apple ever gets into trouble, this hardware company will miss the boat on household robots.

We know all about the Roomba made by iRobot, but now Dyson, after investing US$47 million in research, has its own robotic vacuum cleaner, the 360 Eye. This is a technology poised to explode, and I can't think of any reason why Apple should not think about this as much as it thinks about music or mobile payments.

There have some rumblings about Chinese phone makers like Xiaomi, Huawei and others starting to increase their efforts and gain market share in the home market. Here's a Business Insider article with data that backs that up. "Here's What The Global Smartphone Market Looks Like Ahead Of The iPhone 6 Launch." The implied question is whether the popularity of the iPhone 6 can stem that tide by appealing to the customer and overcoming the desire of the Chinese government to see home grown companies do better.

John Kirk explores the business of Apple Claim Chowder when it comes to events. My favorite quote, from many, is "The human mind is a delusion generator, not a window to truth. - Scott Adams." Mr. Kirk, as always, nails it. "Apple Claim Chowder: Events."

iPhone 6 leaks are coming out now at a frenzied pace. This article at  ZDNet has additional technical details and suggests that the 4.7-inch model will be the iPhone 6 Air and the co-released model, the 5.5-inch model will be the iPhone 6 Pro. "Chinese carriers post possible specs and names for iPhone 6"

Considering that Apple has taken a beating lately over iCloud and celebrity photos, I'm guessing Apple is all to happy to have China Telecom ramp up the fervor for this new pair of iPhones.

The clearest, most comprehensive article I've seen regarding Apple's (presumed) initiative into mobile payments is by James Cook at Business Insider. This is one of those "everything you need to know" articles: "Apple's Plan To Kill PayPal Has Finally Become Clear."

Moving on ....

One of the trends that interests me is that makers of set top boxes, like Apple TV, Roku, etc, don't seem to be in a particular hurry to add UHDTV capability because most customers don't have UHDTV sets. Plus, the HDMI 2.0 spec is brand new. On the other hand, makers of UHDTV sets have a direct interest in promoting their product, so they include connectivity options to Netflix and Amazon UHD streaming.

Where that will lead, I'm not quite sure. Perhaps, as UHDTV becomes mainstream, the set top boxes will catch up. But, as we know, waiting ins a dangerous strategy in this high technology business. That's another good reason for Apple to make (or have a 3rd party make) its own UHDTV.

Finally, for clarification on "4K" vs. "UHDTV," there is a great primer article at Digital Trends that explains the difference. If you want to be in the know, this article will bring you up to speed. Bottom line? The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) says we should use the term UHD for ultra high definition (3840 x 2160) and UHDTV for Ultra High Definition TV. 4K is different and for cinematographers.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page 1) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.