CES 2014: Apple's Competition in the Smart Watch Arena

CES 2014 has seen the introduction of a slew of new smart watches, spurred on by the popularity of early offerings like the Pebble and the ongoing rumors about Apple's prospective smart watch, the iWatch.

Major companies like Qualcomm, Sony, and Samsung have developed smart watches, as have a multitude of smaller companies. In a market now flooded with smart watch offerings, every company has made an attempt to distinguish its product from the masses, with some focusing on design while others add innovative features.

Our comprehensive list of the smart watches being displayed at CES, which is available below, gives a solid overview of the current state of the smart watch market and a glimpse at the products the iWatch will need to compete with upon its release.

Intel Smart Watch - During its keynote event at CES, Intel revealed its plans to focus heavily on wearables throughout 2014. As part of the presentation, the company showed off a prototype smart watch incorporating geofencing and location-based notifications designed to alert users when a child or family member has left a specific location. The watch was not an actual product, but the company has plans to release a similar device in 2014. (Image courtesy of Engadget)

intelsmartwatch
Pebble Steel - Pebble's second-generation smart watch, called the Pebble Steel, retains the current Pebble functionality but features a new design with a stainless steel body and a leather or steel band. It is both slimmer and lighter than the original Pebble and also includes a face covered with Corning's scratch resistant Gorilla Glass. The Pebble Steel lasts for 5 to 7 days on a single charge, is waterproof, and will begin shipping on January 28 for $249. Pebble has also announced an app store that will be available to users in January and introduced new partnerships to bring additional functionality to the device.

pebblepricing
Razer Nabu - Designed by computer peripheral manufacturer Razer, the Nabu smart band is a fitness band/smart watch hybrid. The Nabu is slim like a standard fitness tracker, but it includes two small OLED screens at 32x32 and 128x32, which display information about activity levels and notifications about texts, phone calls, and other social networking alerts. It includes an accelerometer, an altimeter, and a cylindrical vibration motor and lasts up to 10 days on a single charge. Nabu, which ships in the spring, also interacts in unique ways with other Nabu bands. For example a handshake between two Nabu wearers could allow the two to automatically exchange contacts on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. Nabu will be available for under $100.

razernabu
Metawatch META - Metawatch is not new to smart watches, having previously released the both the Strata and the Frame, but it did debut a new high-end smart watch called the META at CES. META is focused on design, with classic stainless steel faceplates and bands available in a variety of styles. While little information is available on the META, it may function like Metawatch's previous offerings, providing users with customizable settings, notifications for calls and messages, music controls, and widgets displaying information like weather, time, and stocks. META is expected in the spring and pricing has yet to be announced.

metawatch
Martian Notifier - From Martian Watches, the Martian Notifier looks like a classic wrist watch but is bundled with smart watch features, like notification alerts. The Notifier offers custom vibration patterns for different phone alerts including calls, messages, and social networking notifications. It also has a small OLED readout and works in conjunction with the Martian app, which is installed on a smartphone. The Martian Notifier will be available during the second quarter of 2014 for $129.

martiannotifier
PHTL HOT - Originally a Kickstarter project, the HOT (Hands-On-Talk) smart watch is being demoed at CES. The watch comes in four different styles, from a basic rectangle to a slightly curved design, and sets itself apart from other smart watches by allowing voice calls to be placed directly from the device. HOT utilizes a directional speaker that is amplified by a cupped hand and it also incorporates an e-ink screen that responds to simple swipe gestures to bring up menu options. It also runs apps and boasts a 3 to 7 day battery life. HOT can be pre-ordered for $152 to $212 and will ship in March.

hotwatch
Archos SmartWatches -Archos, known for its tablets, has just come out with a line of basic, affordable smart watches designed to connect to phones via Bluetooth and deliver notifications. The cheapest $50 model features a 1.55-inch E-ink display with a 1.5 week battery life. A second $100 model includes an 1.8-inch LCD touchscreen with one to two days of battery life and the third high-end model, with a curved E-ink display and a 1.5 week battery life, will retail for $129. Archos will make these available later in 2014.

archos
Kreyos Meteor - Originally an Indiegogo project, the Kreyos Meteor is being displayed at CES this week. The Meteor features a waterproof plastic body and bands in an array of colors, along with a speaker and a microphone that support voice and gesture commands. Four different wrist gestures can be used to activate customized actions and the watch display offers notification alerts. It also includes a built-in activity tracker to measure fitness levels and a removable face that can be placed in different bands, in a belt clip, or a neck lanyard. Priced at $169.95, the watch can be pre-ordered and will ship in March of 2014.

kreyos
Sonostar - The Sonostar SmartWatch incorporates a 1.73-inch curved touch screen with an E-ink display. Like other watches on the market, it connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and displays notifications from social networks, calls, messages, and emails. It also connects to sports-oriented apps developed by the company. Priced at $179, the Sonostar SmartWatch will be available for purchase during the first quarter of 2014.

sonostar
Neptune Pine - Originally a Kickstarter project, Neptune's Pine is a bit different from connected smart watches as it is designed to be a standalone device that makes phone calls and sends SMS messages. Running Android Jelly Bean, Neptune has a 2.4-inch touch screen, a full keyboard, cameras, a complete web browser, and it runs a full catalog of apps. It also includes several fitness-oriented add-ons, including GPS, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and more. Pine, which requires a SIM card, features eight hours of talk time and can be removed from the band and placed into other accessories. It can be pre-ordered for $335 and ships in March of 2014.

neptunepine
MyKronoz - MyKronoz has a range of Swiss-designed smart watches with varying price points and designs. Its newest and most advanced version, the ZeNano, pairs with an iPhone via Bluetooth and features a 1.54-inch full color LCD screen. ZeNano connects to a set of included earphones and can make phone calls, read texts, record voice memos, accept voice commands, and stream music. ZeNano will be available soon for $130.

kronozzenano
ConnecteDevice Cogito - ConnecteDevice, the company behind the Cookoo smart watch, has two new products available at CES: the Cogito and the Cogito Pop. Both watches have standard analog faces, but connect to a phone via Bluetooth and support notifications from calls, messages, and social networks. Notifications can be dismissed right on the watch, as can incoming calls. The Cogito is the more sophisticated version of the watch, while the simpler Cogito Pop comes in a wide range of colors. Both watches incorporate a standard watch battery that does not need to be charged. The Cogito is priced at $179 while the Cogito Pop is $129 and both watches are currently available for pre-order.

cogitopop
As can be seen above, the majority of the smart watches available today suffer from a similar problem: bulkiness. Most of these devices are thick, heavy, and restrictive, with many of the products focused towards a male demographic. Additionally, all of these products essentially perform the same functions – connecting a smartphone to a wrist worn device – with little innovation to be found among them.

The current crop of smart watches give a look at problems that Apple might face with its future iWatch. Creating a design that is functional but unobtrusive and suited to a wide range of wrist sizes is clearly not an easy task, nor is fitting multiple sensors and innovative features into a such a small device.

Rumors have suggested that Apple might deal with some of the aforementioned issues by releasing the iWatch in multiple sizes, and the company is also said to be incorporating many health-oriented features to set the iWatch apart from its competition.

At the current point in time, Apple is reportedly working on overcoming developmental issues relating to the iWatch's screen and battery life, and while it is unknown when the product might appear, rumors have pointed to a late 2014 release date.

Along with Apple, major tech companies like Google and Microsoft are also said to be developing their own smart watch solutions to be released in the future.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

TimeSquareDesi Avatar
96 months ago
It would be hilarious if Apple didn't release a "smart watch" after all. :D
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cymerc Avatar
96 months ago
These all seem so reminiscent of tablets pre-iPad. They look like people are making a smart watch, not because they have a good idea for how they should work, but because they know they should make a smart watch.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
caligomez Avatar
96 months ago
Wow.. I just realized that I definitely don't need a "smart" watch..
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
peterh988 Avatar
96 months ago
I'm half convinced that Apple has no intention of releasing a watch or a TV. I get the feeling they enjoy leaking the rumors and watching every company in the world go on a massive techno-snipe hunt.

Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cymerc Avatar
96 months ago
Unusual to see Apple behind on things.

Not really, people made tablets for YEARS before the iPad. They were all terrible though. Just like these watches.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ciaran00 Avatar
96 months ago
The iPod Nano watch is missing from list.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

prosser macbook air colors stacked

Images Reveal Colorful New MacBook Air Design

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:06 am PDT by
Apple's next MacBook Air will feature a completely new design and come in a range of colors like the 24-inch iMac, according to leaker Jon Prosser, who has now released supposedly accurate renders of the new machines based on leaked images. In a new video uploaded to YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser elaborated on his previous prediction that Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models ...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...
m1 ipad pro chip

M1 iPad Pro Over 50% Faster Than Previous Generation in Early Benchmarks

Tuesday May 11, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro. Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of...
3d printed airtag case siri remote

3D-Printed Case Lets You Attach an AirTag to Your Apple TV Remote

Monday May 10, 2021 8:11 am PDT by
Apple recently released a redesigned Siri Remote with a physical clickpad, but if you have an original Siri Remote laying around that you still plan on using, you may be interested in getting an AirTag case for the remote. Etsy user PrintSpiredDesigns has capitalized on the opportunity with a new 3D printed, made-to-order AirTag case for the original Siri Remote. The remote slides into the...
airtag hacked

AirTag Successfully Hacked to Show Custom URL in Lost Mode

Monday May 10, 2021 1:52 am PDT by
The inevitable race to hack Apple's AirTag item tracker has reportedly been won by a German security researcher, who managed to break into the device's microcontroller and successfully modify its firmware. Yesss!!! After hours of trying (and bricking 2 AirTags) I managed to break into the microcontroller of the AirTag! 🥳🥳🥳/cc @colinoflynn @LennertWo pic.twitter.com/zGALc2S2Ph— stacksmashing ...
iPad Pro Feature

Early M1 iPad Pro Orders Now Preparing to Ship

Tuesday May 11, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
Apple will soon ship out 11 and 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro models, according to multiple Twitter users and MacRumors readers who have seen their orders shift to "Preparing to Ship" status. So far, we haven't seen any shipment notifications, but that's the next step and is likely to happen in the near future. Apple has not provided an exact delivery date to those who ordered a new M1 iPad Pro, but ...
maxresdefault

Video: Make Your iPhone Last Longer With These Battery Preserving Tips

Monday May 10, 2021 1:23 pm PDT by
Maximizing battery life is something that many iPhone users deal with on a regular basis as we all want our iPhones to last as long as possible. Sometimes there are bugs in iOS that make the battery drain faster, and sometimes we just need to eke out as much as possible on a long day out and about. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, MacRumo...
Apple 5G Modem Feature

Kuo: Apple-Designed 5G Modem May Debut in iPhones as Early as 2023

Sunday May 9, 2021 10:02 pm PDT by
Apple plans to adopt its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the 2023 iPhones, meaning it'll no longer need to rely on Qualcomm to supply the 5G cellular modem for the iPhone, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in an investors note obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple plans to include its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the launch of the 2023...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
macos big sur ios 14 iphone 12 pro macbook air icloud drive desktop documents hero

Apple Merging 'iCloud Documents and Data' Service With iCloud Drive in May 2022

Tuesday May 11, 2021 2:36 am PDT by
Apple plans to merge its iCloud Documents and Data service with iCloud Drive starting in May of 2022, according to a support document published late last week (via MacGeneration). iCloud Drive and iCloud Documents and Data share the fundamental ability to backup data from apps. However, iCloud Documents and Data was often a cumbersome, confusing experience. In contrast, iCloud Drive is more...