News

Former Apple Human Interface Developer Speculates on Future ‘iWatch’

Former Apple employee and human interface developer Bruze Tognazzini published a blog post earlier this week listing his thoughts on the iWatch, a potential Apple product thatmade 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.