An Apple 'Smart Watch' is a dumb idea

Summary:Fanboys want Apple to transform the iPod nano into a wrist-top computer, but that's a tiny market that the Cupertino giant is unlikely to want to bother with.

The Apple rumor mill continues to churn, and this time the rumor relates to the upcoming iOS 6 platform, due to be released this fall.

According to the scuttlebutt, iOS 6 contains an as-yet-undisclosed feature that allows Bluetooth 4.0 capable devices -- Apple has the the iPhone 4S, iPad 3 and a selection of Macs that are Bluetooth 4.0 ready -- to communicate using the wireless technology. Bluetooth 4.0 is interesting and opens up a whole raft of possibilities. It's power consumption is low and pairing is almost instantaneous.

OK, this could be interesting.

"The feature would enable," writes Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge, "say, a future iPod nano to display iMessages received by an iPhone, record voice memos that could be shared via the iPhone, and even initiate phone calls through its own headphones".

OK, this is where the whole thing gets silly.

There are a range of straps and accessories available that allow you to convert an iPod nano into a watch. Since these devices started hitting the market -- which happened within days of the diminutive media player hitting the market -- it has been the dream of fanboys that Apple take the tiny media player and transform it into a fully-functioning wrist-top computer.

The fantasy of wrist-top computers has been around for as long as I can remember -- I'm not that old! -- but so far no one has managed to take a device and make it mass market. People just don't seem to want to replace a wristwatch with a computer.

While I have no doubt that if there's any company on the planet that could make wrist-top computers popular, then that company is Apple, the iPod nano is not the right platform. It's too small and at best would be little more than an awkward augment for an iPhone or an iPad. Having it display iMessage or text messages -- but not be able to respond to them -- or make calls seems rather lame at best.

Apple is a company that squarely -- and with unnerving precision -- targets the mainstream market nowadays, and it keeps features to an absolute minimum to keep costs down. Adding Bluetooth 4 to the iPad nano so a few people can view iMessages doesn't seem like something that Apple would do. Adding more functionality would probably mean making the iPod nano larger, and it's already a big wristwatch as far as many people are concerned.

A more likely use for a Bluetooth bridging technology would be to allow users to have a quick and easy way to connect their iDevices direct to Macs, no cable required. That makes a lot more sense than some dumb 'Smart Watch.'

Image source: iWatchz, Lunatik/Apple.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iOS, iPad, iPhone

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.