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Former Apple Human Interface Developer Speculates on Future 'iWatch'

Former Apple employee and human interface developer Bruce Tognazzini published a blog post earlier this week listing his thoughts on the iWatch, a potential Apple product that made headlines late in 2012.

pebblesmartwatch
The Pebble Smartwatch

Tognazzini's post encompasses a wide range of ideas on the design and functionality of the iWatch. He believes that an Apple-branded smart watch would have few standalone operations, instead being used to extend the usefulness of existing Apple devices by enhancing apps and other functions.

One of his more compelling ideas includes the elimination of passcodes. With a passcode, he speculates, the smart watch, which would incorporate a sleek, button-free design, could be used to unlock iPhones and Macs via proximity.
The watch can and should, for most of us, eliminate passcodes altogether on iPhones, and Macs and, if Apple's smart, PCs: As long as my watch is in range, let me in! That, to me, would be the single-most compelling feature a smartwatch could offer: If the watch did nothing but release me from having to enter my passcode/password 10 to 20 times a day, I would buy it.

As with passcodes, the watch could be used in conjunction with Find My iPhone, sounding an alert when a user moves out of range of the device.
Along with facilitating phone calls and incorporating sensors, Tognazzini believes that an Apple iWatch might also include NFC capabilities for making payments and temperature controls, similar to the Nest.
The NFC chip belongs in the iWatch, not in the iPhone! That way we'll know exactly where it is at all times, strapped to the end of an appendage expressly designed to be waved around at things. How handy! Reach. Touch. Done.

Meanwhile, our iPhone, handling any necessary communication, will stay hidden safely away, and, if someone does manage to get ahold of our watch, it will require reauthorization, having been removed from our arm. Net value to the thief: Zilch. Net loss to us: A whole lot less than an iPhone, with word on the street quickly making it clear there's no point in stealing an iWatch.

Of course, not every merchant will accept NFC right away, so the watch, linked to Passport, will also display QR codes, etc.
An iWatch could even potentially serve as a fix for Apple Maps, utilizing pressure data from watches to build an altitude map of the world, which would improve the functionality of Apple's 3D mapping.
Using pressure data from millions of watches, Apple could build a precision altitude map of the world. This map would indicate true altitudes everywhere that iWatch wearers travel. The granularity would be several orders of magnitude greater than ever before attempted for a wide-area map at a cost several orders of magnitude less than Flyover.
Tognazzini believes that via apps and design, Apple would revolutionize the smart watch industry, with its curved glass designs created by Jony Ive, Siri integration, and wireless charging.

Though Tognazzini admits to having no insider information, he points out that his ideas come from a "solid understanding of Apple, its products, the problem, and the opportunity."

His full rundown on the potential Apple iWatch is worth a read, and it can be found on his blog, AskTog.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

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24 months ago

An iWatch is about 10 years too late! I don't know anyone who wears watches anymore because of the fact that they have cell phones! :confused:


I, as the only remaining person on Earth who wears a watch, will explain that I do so because it is more convenient to glance at my wrist for the time than take my cell phone out of whatever pocket in which it is stored and push the home button to see the time.

Glancing at my wrist is clearly an antiquated and old fashioned way to learn the time.

But, according to the poster above, I am the only quaint fogey who still does that.

:rolleyes:
Rating: 26 Votes
24 months ago
Everyone says the dont want or don't need one, but how many of these people said the same thing when the iPhone and/or iPad came out?
Rating: 20 Votes
24 months ago
It's pretty unbelievable how narrow minded many of the people are on this forum....

I had zero desire for a smartphone before the iPhone was announced. I loved my little small flip phone and it did everything I could ever want in a phone. The second I saw an iPhone I new I NEEDED one immediately. I see this same possibility with the iWatch.

Sure, you say most people don't wear watches? That may be true (although I think there are a lot more watch wearers than you realize), but that's simply because most watches only serve one function... to tell time, and we all get that on our phones.

But the possibilities are endless with an iWatch, assuming it's implemented correctly (and with proper security). Wirelessly charged as you sleep each night. Warns you when you walk away from your phone. Can ask "where's my phone?" and it makes your phone start beeping. NFC payments. Notifcations. Siri communication (seems especially useful with reminders). Fitness apps/health monitoring. Apps that record precise sleep monitoring to wake you up at the right time. and so much more!

But no just because YOU don't wear a watch anymore, there is no reason you (or anyone else) would ever want to wear one again... :rolleyes:
Rating: 19 Votes
24 months ago

It's pretty unbelievable how narrow minded many of the people are on this forum....

I had zero desire for a smartphone before the iPhone was announced. I loved my little small flip phone and it did everything I could ever want in a phone. The second I saw an iPhone I new I NEEDED one immediately. I see this same possibility with the iWatch.

Sure, you say most people don't wear watches? That may be true (although I think there are a lot more watch wearers than you realize), but that's simply because most watches only serve one function... to tell time, and we all get that on our phones.

But the possibilities are endless with an iWatch, assuming it's implemented correctly (and with proper security). Wirelessly charged as you sleep each night. Warns you when you walk away from your phone. Can ask "where's my phone?" and it makes your phone start beeping. NFC payments. Notifcations. Siri communication (seems especially useful with reminders). Fitness apps/health monitoring. Apps that record precise sleep monitoring to wake you up at the right time. and so much more!

But no just because YOU don't wear a watch anymore, there is no reason you (or anyone else) would ever want to wear one again... :rolleyes:


I love your ideas. Siri is still in its nascent stages but it's not difficult to understand where it's going and a watch is a perfect fit.

Asking your watch for information in Siri like style would present the answer, not a list of sites that might have that answer. To display that answer, a screen that fits on your wrist is sufficient. Apps specifically built for that screen size: a map showing your immediate surroundings and directions or a Passbook card with QR code (and NFC activated) or the cover of your currently playing album with overlaying playback controls or a notifications or incoming calls.... Any of these can be designed to need no more than a couple of inches of screen real estate.

The fact that you have this watch on your wrist makes it infinitely less likely to get lost and geo fenced with an iPhone, even more remotely possible. There are many more biometric authentication methods that have not been explored and a watch that is strapped to your skin is the perfect case scenario. The watch only works when on its owners wrist. Remove it, it won't work. Remove the phone from the proximity of the watch, it too won't work.

It used to be that MacRumors was a small community populated with Apple-minded people who understood Apple's DNA and owned Macs because they subscribed to that mindset. If people wanted super customizable devices with buttons for everything, they wouldn't own a Mac. They'd be happily off in the PC world. Since the surge of Apple's popularity, its users have become the mainstream person who can't think beyond what they see in front of their noses and who would never had asked for an iPhone before it was introduced.

Like Steve Jobs said: If Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, they'd have asked for a faster horse.
Rating: 13 Votes
24 months ago

One of his more compelling ideas includes the elimination of passcodes. With a passcode, he speculates, the smart watch, which would incorporate a sleek, button-free design, could be used to unlock iPhones and Macs via proximity.
Along with facilitating phone calls and incorporating sensors, Tognazzini believes that an Apple iWatch might also include NFC capabilities for making payments and temperature controls, similar to the Nest (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/21/nest-thermostat-now-available-in-apple-retail-stores/).


Lose your watch, lose your identity. Jeez, it sounds so much like a cheesey Sci-Fi plot, I just had to:

Rating: 12 Votes
24 months ago
I personally think the iWatch is a fantastic idea and would buy one the second it was released.

Then again, I'm a watch fan (I have quite a few) and would like the ideas he presented for added usefulness.

----------

i can only hope Bruze Tognazzini doesn't ever work for a bank....lose your watch and have your entire identity stolen!


Is losing a watch more common than losing your cell phone? Better putting an NFC tag in my watch than in my cell phone IMO.
Rating: 12 Votes
24 months ago

An iWatch is about 10 years too late! I don't know anyone who wears watches anymore because of the fact that they have cell phones! :confused:

Ten years ago we weren't all exactly playing video games on our cell phones though and i think the watch has been long forgotten as a utility device. I think if this were to come true, it would definitely push the smart watch market just like the original iPhone did.
Rating: 9 Votes
24 months ago
An iWatch is about 10 years too late! I don't know anyone who wears watches anymore because of the fact that they have cell phones! :confused:
Rating: 9 Votes
24 months ago

What about the one BIG problem...I don't (and I know many others) want to wear a watch. Ever. I don't want a watch tan, and I don't want that dorky thing strapped to my wrist.


An iWatch is about 10 years too late! I don't know anyone who wears watches anymore because of the fact that they have cell phones! :confused:



I'm going to take a wild guess that you're likely under 20 or not much over. Newsflash: People have worn wrist watches for over a hundred years. Until recently, nearly every adult wore one. It's only been in the last 5 years or so that it has gotten less popular, yet many people still wear them despite also carrying a smart phone.

Is the smartphone going to kill the watch? The opposite may be true. My prediction is that if Apple or anybody releases a compelling wrist worn computer, people will stop carrying phones in their pockets.
Rating: 8 Votes
24 months ago
The ideas he was pitching behind the watch is that you WON'T lose your identity if you lose it, unlike if you lost your phone. Also, this is the first time I thought that the IWatch was something I would want. Unlocking my computer and iDevices as well as carrying the NFC chip that WON'T be in my phone...brilliant. The NFC only works when it is in proximity to your phone since the watch won't have any data stored on it.

Also, I like looing at my wrist for the time instesad of digging in to my pockets to get my phone.

I don't know, maybe I read it wrong, but I felt like this artcle actually made me want one for the first time.
Rating: 8 Votes

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