This is the state of smartwatches today — chunky hunks of plastic and metal and silicon that are essentially shrunken-down smartphones you can strap on your wrist.
On Friday, gadget bloggers were hyperventilating over the newest of these devices, Motorola’s Moto 360. (You can see it on the far right in the photo above.) But while the Moto 360 certainly is more attractive than many of the other smartwatches we’ve seen so far, it’s still hampered by the same limitations as many other recent wearables. The battery doesn’t even last a full day on a single charge. It’s too big for people with tiny wrists. And it mimics many of the functions of the smartphone, giving potential buyers little reason to plop down $US250 on top of the $US500 gadget already in their pocket.
Today’s smartwatches aren’t mainstream products. They may appeal to geeks who get a kick out of talking into their wrist like they’re living out some sort of Dick Tracy fantasy, but they simply don’t add enough value to the mobile computing experience to make them worth buying.
Apple has a massive opportunity ahead of it. On Sept. 9 it’s expected to unveil its first-ever wearable computing device. And just like it made everyone rethink what a smartphone should be when it showed off the iPhone for the first time in 2007, there’s an expectation for Apple to do the same with its so-called iWatch.
This isn’t the first time the following photo has been brought up with respect to Apple’s anticipated iWatch announcement, but here’s a slide Steve Jobs showed just before he demoed the iPhone:
And here’s another example of what today’s smartwatches look like:
They’re too ugly. They do too much. They’re unfocused, noisy, and complicated.
Just like smartphones were before the iPhone.
When Apple finally shows us what its wearable can do, geeks and tech pundits will likely complain that it can’t do everything a smartphone can do. Or that it costs too much. Or both. But today’s smartwatches simply don’t live up to the massive promise of a major new product category. Something different needs to happen.