Is the new iPod Nano the smartwatch that Bill Gates envisioned?

Bill Gates had a vision for a smartwatch nearly a decade ago. Will it be Apple, with the new iPod Nano and maybe a case with a strap, that brings the idea to life?

I wonder what Bill Gates was thinking today when he heard about the new iPod Nano. Specifically, I wonder what he thought when he saw this image:

Gallery: Photos from Apple's music event

I say this because the new iPod Nano is so small and light that, if you put it into some sort of case with a strap, you could wear it as a wrist-watch. And, after all, back on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show 2003, that's exactly what Bill Gates showcased - a high-tech wristwatch that, like many of the things that Microsoft shows at CES, never really took off.

Now, Apple didn't pitch this as a watch - so this is more about me reaching to imagine what it could be. It's not a far reach, though. Sure, I know that many people today have dumped their watches for their phones - but I'm thinking of the fitness types who don't necessarily want to take the phone on a morning run or to the gym.

I don't see the watch thing being some sort of big selling point for the iPod Nano. But when you consider the longtime rivalry between Apple and Microsoft and think back about how Gates' on-stage demo of the watch never really went any further, it's enough to make geeks like me chuckle.

Related: Matthew Miller: Is Apple's new iPod nano the perfect geek watch?