The dream of wearing an Apple device is not a new one. From iPod armbands to nano bracelets, there have been plenty of solutions over the years if you don’t want to be sat at a desk or reaching into your pocket all day long. But few of them are fashionable. And none have Apple’s ingenuity.
The smartwatch market has been active for a while now, but all we’ve had as a result are clunky, inelegant products that are neither stylish nor smart. All that could change in a few months. Jony Ive has undoubtedly rejected dozens of prototypes that looked a bit too much like the Galaxy Gear, and you can bet the final product will be completely unique. For one, it might not even be square. Apple products are always instantly recognisable, but a watch ups the ante considerably, combining its trademark design with a sense of fashion. Smartwatches are all about their screens, and a high-resolution rectangular display would certainly stand out, with a flexible curve that naturally wraps around our wrists. And it won’t by anywhere near as thick as the bulbous Galaxy Gear – likely just a few millimetres, with an equally thin bezel. Annoying for our prognosticating, Samsung launched the Gear Fit as we were going to press that does indeed have a curved rectangular screen – albeit in a device that doesn’t look as elegant as our vision for Apple’s!
Your eyes might focus on the screen, but the strap is just as important to the aesthetics of any watch. Since we’ll want to wear our iWatch every waking minute of the day, it needs to be comfortable and rugged, but we’re also banking on Apple making the band in clever and unique ways, which means no leather or canvas. And while we’d like to think that an iWatch will have a slick Liquidmetal bracelet, realistically we think it’ll be closer to the Nike+ FuelBand, made mostly of high-end polypropylene with aluminium accents.
We’re not so sure Apple’s going to follow Samsung’s example with a built-in camera, and the iWatch isn’t going to have a run-of-the-mill strap either; instead of a standard buckle, wouldn’t it be cool if a set of powerful magnets adjusted the fit to perfectly contour to every wrist, with a Lightning port built discreetly into the end? Colours will surely come too, but the first generation will be offered in a basic set of iPhone 5s–matching hues.
Space grey aside, an iWatch won’t share much of a resemblance with the iPhone or iPad, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have the brains of an iOS device: That means Bluetooth, motion sensors, and Touch ID built right into the screen. When locked, the display would function much like the iOS 7 lock screen, with the time and date prominently displayed, and notifications appearing with a gentle vibration.
The home screen will be as simple and elegant as the watch itself, with matching wallpaper and space for four visible icons. The time and date will always be seen at the top of the screen – it is a watch, after all – but instead of swiping, the iWatch will use scrolling navigation, with the familiar acceleration and rubber-banding responding to your movements.
Above all, it’ll be an extension of our iOS lifestyles, receiving notifications of calls, texts, calendar alerts, scores, and anything else we constantly reach for our iPhone to check. Siri will be heavily implemented (just say his name to wake him up) to take short notes, set Reminders and schedule Calendar appointments, and iCloud will instantly sync with all of your devices. Have we got it right? Watch this space…