Apple Wearable Debut may Accompany new iPhone at September Event

by Matt Klassen on August 29, 2014

Earlier this week Apple sent out invitations for an official release event slated for Sept. 9th. The company provided no details, save for its usual mysterious tagline, one that this year read, “Wish we could say more.” While undoubtedly this event will serve as the company’s annual refresh of its iPhone brand, with speculation that Apple will release two differently sized iPhone models this year, there are rumours that Apple will use this opportunity to finally unveil its entry into the wearable technology market…that is if it’s ready yet.

In a recent interview Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who is still an outspoken voice regarding Apple products, let his opinion about Apple’s rumoured forthcoming smartwatch be known, noting that while he has confidence his former company can do to the wearable market what it did to the smartphone market in 2007, that wearables present a greater challenge to the company.

But challenging or not, Woz thinks he has the recipe for Apple’s wearable success: make it more than a go-between, increase its functionality, and make it bigger (but only a little). Truly if Apple was to release a smartwatch this Fall, one that checks the boxes that Woz has deemed essential, there’s nothing to say that despite its late entry that it couldn’t dominate the hearts and minds of the public, as it seems even after multiple generations of wearable products from Apple’s competitors that the market is still waiting for its first big thing. That said, given successive years of disappointing Apple products, I, for one, am not holding my breath.

There’s no question that Woz has confidence that Apple, should it actually enter the wearable market, has the opportunity to dominate. “Apple works very hard to produce exceptionally great products and doesn’t quickly release things like a wearable. So if one is introduced I expect it to have a chance to set the direction and make the product category finally viable,” Woz said Wednesday in an email exchange with CNET.

“I feel that wearables are a hard sell,” Woz added. “They are go-betweens for your smartphone but are an extra piece and need special advantages that the smartphone doesn’t have, in my opinion. If they are just a Bluetooth go-between then it could wind up in the category of Bluetooth headsets: Fun to wear and show off for a day.”

Simply put, if Apple wants to really capture mind and market share the company has to broaden the functionality of the smartwatch, expanding it beyond a simple fitness band or a Bluetooth smartphone companion and giving it usability that approaches a smartphone.

Further, as Woz notes, Apple will need to expand the screen size beyond the 1.5 inch current form factor, as that’s simply too small to adequately serve as a mobile platform. Of course fiddling with screen sizes on a smartwatch comes with its own challenges. Too large and the device is heavy and may be unattractive, but too small and sleek and its screen may be less visible and harder to interact with,” CNET’s Nick Statt writes.

In the end, while some may read Apple’s secretive tagline “Wish we could say more,” as a hint that there’s big things to come that the company is remaining tight-lipped about, the skeptic in me reads the hint a different way, as in, “Here’s this year’s iPhone, we wish we had more to show you,” a Freudian slip about impending disappointment.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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