iWatch-style smartwatches are not an idea whose time has come and are unlikely to replace handsets, according to the head of one of the world’s largest timepiece-makers.
Earlier this month, tech sites unearthed patents revealing that the tech giant is working on an iOS powered smartwatch, which is being developed by a 100-strong team. Subsequent reports claimed that the devices are already in testing across Apple’s Cupertino nerve centre.
The news prompted predictably excitable talk in some quarters that a so-called iWatch could spark another smart-device revolution of the kind that previously emanated from Infinite Loop with the iPad and iPhone.
Not so, claims Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek. In an interview with the business bods at Bloomberg, Hayek said the chances of smartwatches replacing smartphones are hampered by the smaller screens they necessarily feature.
Ostensibly at least, these make it fiddly and difficult for users to navigate around the device’s apps and functions.
Hayek said: "Personally, I don't believe it's the next revolution. Replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist is difficult. You can't have an immense display."
So what do we think? Well, the way we’ve got it figured, Hayek’s comments, although pretty sage on paper, suggest that he’s misunderstood what Apple is planning with the iWatch, which reports suggest will not make or take calls.
So, rather than as a replacement for the iPhone, it will be pitched as an accessory a la Kickstarter phenom the Pebble watch that'll be paired with the handset over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and offering users the chance to access limited features of their handset’s remotely.
What’s more, we’re fans of Swatch here, not least the company’s triffic Jeremy Scott collaborations. But while we can still see a hardcore of people buying trad watches for fashion reasons, we can’t help thinking that Hayek’s remarks also betray a bit of fear on Swatch’s part in the face of the tide of change too.