Apple iWatch – five must-have features

iWatch

Feverish speculation indicates Apple is planning to launch an iWatch to rival Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and the Pebble Steel. We explain what features it might have in store.

Thought Apple was done with creating innovative new products? Not if the iWatch has anything to do with it. Rumours of an Apple-made watch have been circulating since last year, spurred on by CEO Tim Cook’s declaration that the recent explosion in wearable technology is “profoundly interesting” and “ripe for exploration.”

Assuming the so-called iWatch does launch later this year, it already faces plenty of competition from the Samsung Gear 2 and Pebble Steel. So what does the iWatch need to stand out from the crowd?

What is a smartwatch? – our expert guide

Apple iWatch – five must-have features

1) Eye-catching design
When talking about wearable tech, Tim Cook has already said “you have to convince people it’s so incredible you want to wear it.” Thankfully, Apple’s design prowess has always helped its products catch the eye, whether that’s the original iPod or the brand new iPad Air. When it comes to an iWatch, a curved LED screen and aluminium strap are absolutely essential.

2) Five day battery life
From the smartwatches we’ve tested so far, battery life has become the battleground between poor and top-performing products. No one wants to charge another device everyday. The Pebble can already survive for somewhere in the region of five days so anything less than this will quickly prove irritating, as we quickly discovered with Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.

3) Dazzling apps
What good is an Apple-made gadget without apps? The iPhone proved the most popular mobile, largely because it got all the best downloads first. A similarly thriving ecosystem for the iWatch would go a long way to ensuring it’s a success.

4) Fitness-focussed features
So far, the best wearable technology we’ve seen has focused on fitness-centric features, rather than handling phone calls or taking a decent picture. Apple has to be careful though, fitbands like the Nike+ FuelBand are already popular devices that use GPS functionality to track your exercise regime. An iWatch would have to borrow some of the same features, while being different enough to persuade FuelBand owners to switch their allegiances – including a heart rate monitor would be a good start.

5) Siri to take centre stage
Consumers might not care too much about Siri, but Apple views the personal assistant as an integral part of its devices. Given the whole point of a smartwatch is to avoid you grabbing your phone for a quick snippet of information, voice-prompted notifications are an easy way round this problem. So long as they work properly, that is.

Would you buy an iWatch?

So that’s what we want from an iWatch but would you buy one? Whether you’re champingat the bit for Apple’s latest product or just can’t be bothered, share your thoughts in the comments section below.

More on this

Samsung Gear 2 vs Pebble Steel – which watch to wear?
Samsung Gear Fit
 – hands on with Samsung’s fitness band
Best Buy mobile phones – the best phones to make it through our extensive lab tests

Categories: News

Tagged as: , , ,

15 replies

  1. If I were to start a wish list of features for a wrist watch, the most important thing would be that it told the time in a clearly readable manner.

    For a smart watch, I’d expect it to show me the time by recognising that I was raising my arm to look at it.

    But that’s just me. I don’t do fruity-rubbish-style-before-function pointless gadgets.

    1. Hi Anthony,

      Good point! The most important function a watch can offer is to accurately tell the time. It’s going to be interesting to see how Apple can fit all its extras in without distracting from this necessity.

      As for the ‘fruity-rubbish-style-before-function’ bits, I think that’s how gadgets like smartwatches capture the imagination.

      Rob

  2. charging would be a massive part of its success, there are many products already in this sector, just check the motoactv for a potential fully functioning android smart watch. It is being pulled!!

  3. I agree with above comments re accurate time but watch needs to update automatically at summertime / wintertime so this means it must receive radio time. For reliability it must have no moving parts. It must not have a battery which will need to be changed so must be powered by light. It also must have computer-like display of time (for which I want 12 hr clock with hands, not digital display of numbers). Radio update of time could ensure not having to reset your watch when travelling abroad – does anyone know if this is available world wide now?
    Regards
    Duncan

  4. I want the iWatch to do these things…

    Turn on the face with a digitally delivered analogue and clear face when my arm is horizontal

    Provide updates that normally bing on my phone, so I don’t have to keep getting it out of my coat pocket

    Provide news reports, and local area information, such as name and address of local hotels, pubs, cinemas from a list, perhaps with a map if battery life permits

    Come with a dock to charge it over night, while acting as an alarm clock (small)

    Allow me to play iTunes Radio

    Provide a telephone directory of my numbers that syncs to my phone and my car

    Provide an Apple help desk phone and email directory where I can access Apple help on Apple products, VPP etc…

    Allow me to see my calendar, and for events to pop up on the face.

    This will do for starters. Battery life of 24 hours + using the new Graphene battery technology.

    c11212 – No more Apple products? Are you kidding. Did you see the Mavericks keynote. The new MacPro? iOS7? MacBook Air with 12 hours of battery life? No swearing at another Windows crash? Give me Apple any day of the week and twice on Sundays…

  5. there is possibly a good reason why I have not seen any comments on it but the abilitly to plug a sim card into the iwatch allowing to make phone calls by detatching the face of the watch to hold to your ear, I don’t like Bluetooth headsets and wouldn’t want to wear one all the time so then it would be stored in my pocet meaning I would be just aswell pulling my phone out ,

    key feautures
    time
    calendar
    phone + txt
    facebook
    e-mail

    nothing else is required

  6. After universal criticism of Samsung because the Gear, Gear 2, etc will only work with 20 Samsung device, it bewilders me to see no mention of the very great likelihood that Apple’s version of the smart watch will probably only with Apple devices. Seems a little inconsistent to me! I am a big Apple fan and have had all but the latest iPhones but it isn’t on to just accept that Apple will keep their products closed to their infrastructure but criticise another company for wanting to do the same thing.
    In saying that, as a fan of the smart watch after my experience with Pebble, I’ll be intrigued to see the infamous iWatch (though, having made the switch to Galaxy phones recently, I’ll probably be buying a Gear 2).

  7. I completely agree with Anthony’s comment ‘Will it clearly and accurately tell the time?’ pretty useless otherwise

    Many of the apps and uses suggested are things your phone does pretty well already, so why would you want a watch with a much smaller screen, smaller buttons, and a feeble speaker to do them instead? The only thing I can think of, aside from telling the time, is in sports & health monitoring where you want a discrete device that you can securely carry with you.

    Since having a smart phone I hardly ever wear my watch anymore, all the current smart watch’s need a paired smart phone to go with them & make them ‘work’, and I don’t want to carry two things around just the one.

    I’m not a ‘Fanboi’, but I kind of hope this whole iWatch rumour mill is a clever ruse on Apples part, getting the competition in a panic bringing out these useless gadgets to market before the ‘iWatch’ only to find there isn’t one after all and bring out something genuinely new & innovative (its long overdue).

    1. I think you may be missing the point of smart watches. You don’t ‘carry’ 2 things: you carry one and wear another, generally in place of something which you would normally wear anyway. If you don’t wear a watch then, yes, it is incremental baggage but if you do then it is no compromise. I would feel lost without my watch or my phone so a wearable device which gives me the top line benefits of both without needing to constantly take my phone out of my pocket unless necessary is perfect.

      Undeniably, the watch needs the phone to work optimally, just like your phone is largely useless without data connectivity, but it means that the watch can remotely access all the useful elements of your phone without needing it’s own, such as GPS or a simple data connection. The advantage of this, I found after using my Pebble, is that you still have the resources of your phone but the watch means you have to interact with the phone less, saving phone battery and your time. I was sceptically curious when I bought the Pebble but it quickly became part of my communication process and made me less reliant on my phone, even if I do, undeniably, still have to carry it. It is far from a ‘useless gadget’.

    2. I don’t think im missing the point at all we have watches (aside from just telling the time for which they are perfect) but for a lot of people they’ve been superseded by smart phones.
      The current crop of smart watches are just a fad trying to find a market that probably doesn’t exist (and aren’t either very practical or attractive).
      Whats needed is something perhaps like google glass, but the next generation, not the current one (not so geeky) that would be genuinely revolutionary.

    3. Plenty of people have replaced their watch with their phone but I’m pretty sure most haven’t – the watch industry is pretty buoyant. The 200,000+ people who have bought a Pebble (plus however many hundreds of thousands who have bought Sony smart watches, the Samsung Galaxy, etc) don’t think their smart watch is a fad but recognise the benefits. Despite your generalisation, most probably also think that their devices are both practical and attractive. I normally wear a Seamaster and think the Gear 2 looks great – of course, that’s just my opinion as a phone user and watch fan.
      Odd that you wouldn’t want to carry two devices (a phone which you carry anyway and a supporting watch [which you don’t carry because, like Google Glass, it’s a ‘wearable’]) but think an evolution of Google glass is progressive. If you don’t wear glasses, why on earth would you voluntarily wear a pair? Now, THAT would be carrying two devices unnecessarily.

  8. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I haven’t worn a watch in years. Ever since I’ve had a cell phone I’ve seen a watch as a redundancy. Time would be the last thing on my mind for a wearable (I’m thinking “wearable computer” not another watch). Im not a athlete, nor am I in bad shape. I don’t need to constantly know all my health data nor would I use it (I can’t be the only one that feels that way). I’ve had a Jawbone UP. It was entertaining but of little personal use to me. My device knowing my current health data could however help it to predict my mood, that could be useful. I’m thinking iBeacon in the home with my iWatch on my wrist and Siri knowing were I am in my home, learning my habits, and asking me what I want done. I’m thinking real home automation with a real personal assistant! I want more to make my life efficient and fun! That is just my 2 cents worth.

Create account

You can leave a reply without having a WordPress account, but if you do register you can upload an avatar. A WordPress account is not connected to your Which? login and cannot be used to login to which.co.uk or any other Which? services.

Sign up

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>