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A Pebble on the author’s slabby big man wrist.

By Nic Lindh | Saturday, 12 July 2014 | FacebookTwitter

The rumored iWatch won’t be what you think

Why whatever Apple is about to release will not be anything like the Pebble or Android Wear.

The rumor mill has been working itself into a fever pitch about the new product category Tim Cook has stated Apple will enter this year. Most of the speculation has focused on the so-called iWatch. But speculation is all it is.

The only thing I’m sure about when it comes to this new product category is that it won’t be a watch. Why? Because a smart watch is a niche device and Apple isn’t interested in anything that won’t ship millions of units per quarter. A smart watch will not do that. At least not a smart watch as we know them today.

I say this as a happy Pebble owner. I love my Pebble. For me it’s great: Getting notifications on my wrist is fantastic and having a stopwatch and timer as well as the ability to control music and podcast playback from my wrist is very nice. But then, I’m a huge nerd, the kind of person who thinks it’s worth it to charge yet another device twice a week in order to get notifications on your wrist.

The smart watch market just heated up when Google recently announced Android Wear. Ars Technica has a predictably thorough look. It is essentially an upgrade to the Pebble with nicer screen and UI and deeper integration with Android.

From reading the Ars article and listening to various nerd podcasts, Android Wear looks like it was rushed to market, presumably as a first strike against the iWatch of which, again, people outside Apple know nothing.

(Which, if I’m correct, is a sad commentary on the intellectual rigor of a company as large as Google. All those meeting, all those planning sessions, all that work against a phantom idea? That’s just sad. I hope I’m wrong about all of this. But then, these are the people who thought Google Glass was a game changer.)

My money is on the first generation of Android Wear devices to sell poorly to say the least. First off, you have to own a recent Android phone to tether the devices to, which cuts the market significantly, and second, from what I’ve seen of Android devices in the wild here in Phoenix, there are two distinct sets of Android users:

  1. An extremely vocal minority of hard-core nerds who love changing their ROMs and skins and keyboards; and
  2. The vast majority who picked up whatever phone the salesperson at the carrier store was pushing that day. Hey, it does texts and Facebook: It’s fine.

The first group will no doubt pick up an Android Wear device and install strange hacks on their wrists. The second will have no idea what you’re yammering on about.

That second group is who Apple wants to reach. An iteration on the Pebble or Android Wear with the customary Apple polish won’t do that.

So what is coming? I have absolutely no idea, but I know that it will be successful if it meets one condition: When Apple announces it you look at it—just like with the iPhone—and go, Wow, that is so obvious.

« After the empire fades

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Enjoy the ten latest posts:

The story we tell ourselves

Us humans filter everything we see and experience through our existing narrative. Nic finds this fascinating.

It's the words, stupid

Nic loves books, but he loves their content more.

Voting in America

The American voting system is stuck in a time warp. It makes Nic sad.

The Kindle Voyage is a solid update with an achilles heel

Should you upgrade to Amazon’s latest e-ink reader? Nic gives it a reluctant and somewhat perplexed nod.

Our technology is bad and we should feel bad

Nic is worried about the fragile state of our technology and thinks you should be as well.

Book roundup, part 16

Lots of good reads in this installment. Includes All Hell Let Loose, Metallica: This Monster Lives, 10% Happier, Onward, Echopraxia, Cibola Burn, The Getaway God, Lock In, The Red: First Light, Terms of Enlistment, and Lines of Departure.

The WATCH is nigh, and I don't get it

Nic tries to understand the WATCH. It doesn't go well.

Apple might enter the home integration field

Nic thinks home integration could be Apple’s next major category. Read on to find out why.

An Apple ebook reader would be nice

Nic is frustrated with his Kindle and would love to see Apple make an e-ink reader.

Flashing a Gigabyte BIOS should be easier than this

Once again user-interface ineptitude and Internet idiots make things harder than they have to be.

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