Could a future watch replace iPhone?

Retired Cat

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 12, 2013
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379
The Apple Watch lacks a cellular baseband radio, and it's battery life is a big question mark.

What if it gained cell phone capabilities and had a battery large enough to last more than a day under heavy usage? This would require significant advances in miniaturization and battery capacity.

The watch could be used as the phone, and iPod touch could rise again as a device that tethers to the watch for situations where one needs a larger screen. Could Apple Watch kill iPhone and resurrect iPod?
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
8,373
2,703
Yes.

The only issue that's hard to image a work around unless some amazing new technology comes around is the Screen size, and I guess data input.

Data input COULD be gotten around somehow I'm sure, voice or some clever way. Screen size is tricky.

Unless you go to something like Google Glass route for the image.
 

JayLenochiniMac

macrumors G5
Nov 7, 2007
12,819
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New Sanfrakota
That's actually not a bad idea. You have the option of leaving the iPod Touch at home (when you go running, etc.), but when it's on your person, it wirelessly keeps your :apple: Watch charged. That's your answer to battery life.

Pull out the iPod Touch whenever you need to compose an email, carry on a long conversation, etc.
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
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2,703
How would you talk to someone?
Easy, just the same as you do now.

With a phone, you hold the phone and lift your hand up to your ear, there is no reason why it could not be worked out for a watch to work in the same manner with a speaker.

Speaking would be fine as you can get sensitive mics anyway.
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,270
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Atlanta
How would you talk to someone?
You can use the aWatch now as a phone (or when released). You just have to have your iPhone within 30' (BT range).

"Phone. Use the built-in speaker and microphone for quick chats, or seamlessly transfer calls to your iPhone for longer conversations. You can also transfer calls from Apple Watch to your car’s speakerphone or your Bluetooth headset. And silence incoming calls by covering Apple Watch with your hand."
 

JayLenochiniMac

macrumors G5
Nov 7, 2007
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You can use the aWatch now as a phone (or when released). You just have to have your iPhone within 30' (BT range).

"Phone. Use the built-in speaker and microphone for quick chats, or seamlessly transfer calls to your iPhone for longer conversations. You can also transfer calls from Apple Watch to your car’s speakerphone or your Bluetooth headset. And silence incoming calls by covering Apple Watch with your hand."
And in the OP's case, it's the flip side. The iPod Touch would have to be within 30' of the :apple: Watch for you to use the iPod as a phone.
 

APlotdevice

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2011
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Perhaps in the future, when we have flexible devices that can wrap around the wrist, yet also flatten out to a large display.
 
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Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
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Easy, just the same as you do now.

With a phone, you hold the phone and lift your hand up to your ear, there is no reason why it could not be worked out for a watch to work in the same manner with a speaker.

Speaking would be fine as you can get sensitive mics anyway.
So, you are telling me I replace my nice, large, retina display that has a much more power and is better in every single use case to the watch with a flip phone and the watch? Really?

**EDIT** Wait. Please tell me you aren't saying I should hold my watch up to my ear.

You can use the aWatch now as a phone (or when released). You just have to have your iPhone within 30' (BT range).

"Phone. Use the built-in speaker and microphone for quick chats, or seamlessly transfer calls to your iPhone for longer conversations. You can also transfer calls from Apple Watch to your car’s speakerphone or your Bluetooth headset. And silence incoming calls by covering Apple Watch with your hand."
The OP said replace the iPhone.

You guys need to get a grip on reality. Look, the watch may make an excellent accessory, but not a whole lot more. I think Apple is targeting this as niche. I think it's the next Apple TV, and I bet Apple does as well.
 

JayLenochiniMac

macrumors G5
Nov 7, 2007
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New Sanfrakota
The OP said replace the iPhone.

You guys need to get a grip on reality. Look, the watch may make an excellent accessory, but not a whole lot more. I think Apple is targeting this as niche. I think it's the next Apple TV, and I bet Apple does as well.
No, read the OP again. As it stands right now, the :apple: Watch can't replace the iPhone but is a companion. What the OP is suggesting is the flip side of this, the iPod Touch is a companion for the :apple: Watch and you take it out when you want to carry on a long conversation, reply to an email at length, need a bigger screen than the watch, etc.
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
8,373
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**EDIT** Wait. Please tell me you aren't saying I should hold my watch up to my ear.
You seem shocked at this concept.

Please explain how holding your hand to the side of your head whilst holding a mobile phone and speaking into it, differs in any reasonable way from holding your hand to the side of your head and speaking into the watch.

The only difference being in reality you are having to physically grasp you phone to keep it in your hand, but your watch it attached to you, so no need to hold anything.

Think about it. :D
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,196
876
You seem shocked at this concept.

Please explain how holding your hand to the side of your head whilst holding a mobile phone and speaking into it, differs in any reasonable way from holding your hand to the side of your head and speaking into the watch.

The only difference being in reality you are having to physically grasp you phone to keep it in your hand, but your watch it attached to you, so no need to hold anything.

Think about it. :D
The difference is that what you are talking about would require a speakerphone approach. Try what you're saying. Your wrist faces the wrong way. Unless the speaker is in the bottom of the band, everything else on the watch will be facing out.

And why move the cell radio to the device that has no room for battery? Oh btw, also a GPS radio and WiFi radio. Yeah that'll work.

Again, I think you guys aren't thinking realistically.
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
8,373
2,703
The difference is that what you are talking about would require a speakerphone approach. Try what you're saying. Your wrist faces the wrong way. Unless the speaker is in the bottom of the band, everything else on the watch will be facing out.

And why move the cell radio to the device that has no room for battery? Oh btw, also a GPS radio and WiFi radio. Yeah that'll work.

Again, I think you guys aren't thinking realistically.
I'm not talking about NOW, but a possible future, when the Apple Watch can be a device on it's own, to use on it's own, when you don't wish to carry your phone, and not just an iPhone accessory as it will be when launched next year.

Regards the speaker placement, in reality, and I'm not suggesting of course your watch become your main phone.

At the moment, you hold a phone to your ear, palm facing towards your ear.
Just rotate your palm 90 degrees clockwise with your hand in the same location and you will find a speaker on the top edge of the watch would be directly inline with your ear.

I'm just saying there is no reason why it can't be done in the near future.
I'm not saying they will do it.
 

laudern

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2011
863
551
How could you ever have a discrete phone call without everyone around you hearing what is coming out of the speaker??? Unless there is a speaker on the bottom of the wrist band...But still, very awkward to use....
 

APlotdevice

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2011
3,120
3,790
How could you ever have a discrete phone call without everyone around you hearing what is coming out of the speaker??? Unless there is a speaker on the bottom of the wrist band...But still, very awkward to use....
There was a smart watch them out at CES this year, called the "Hot Watch", which bounces sound off of your cupped hand into your ear. And there's currently research being done into speakers which can only be heard from a specific direction.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
How could you ever have a discrete phone call without everyone around you hearing what is coming out of the speaker??? Unless there is a speaker on the bottom of the wrist band...But still, very awkward to use....
Could use bone conduction like the original Google Glass did. Place your watch against your head.

Or you could get a Bluetooth earpiece.

Or buy a set of "Talk to the Hand" gloves (yes, they're real) with Bluetooth microphone and speaker built into the fingertips :eek:

2013_talk_to_the_hand.jpg

Then there was the Digital Jewelry concept smartwatch that IBM showed off back at the turn of the century. It had a wrist phone and display, with remote earring speakers, microphone necklace and an LED ring that lit up as a message indicator:

2000_ibm_digital_jewelry.png
 
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betabeta

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2013
868
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What if you could focus the sound into the palm while holding your hand cupped over your ear? But yeah a bluetooth earpiece or even earring could work.

The real issue is power for the added wireless chipset, and possible heat on your wrist.
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,196
876
What if you could focus the sound into the palm while holding your hand cupped over your ear? But yeah a bluetooth earpiece or even earring could work.

The real issue is power for the added wireless chipset, and possible heat on your wrist.
Bluetooth earpieces have already failed. I don't think the idea of the watch replacing the phone is the right path to take. It's another example of solving a problem that doesn't exist. Why would I switch to the device that is worse in every category than the one it is replacing?
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
8,373
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Bluetooth earpieces have already failed. I don't think the idea of the watch replacing the phone is the right path to take. It's another example of solving a problem that doesn't exist. Why would I switch to the device that is worse in every category than the one it is replacing?
Well, you could say that about using the Watch for Apps in the 1st place as you have your mobile phone 2 seconds away in your pocket most of the time.

And why some wonder if this is the right path for Apple to take.
Over complicating what could have been a slimmer and more sensible approach.

Just use a watch to tell the time, do body monitoring, send you alerts/notifications, and leave it at that.

If you wanted to do more, then use the phone that you have to carry anyway.

Keep the watch, clean, simple and functional, and Not do what they have done and try and make a mini iPodTouch with a silly screen to use apps, on your wrist.

Perhaps there is no need to make a watch this complicated.

The market could go two ways, both ways might be right, or only one of them.

Honestly I can easily see, many getting the watch, playing with it initially before realizing it's soooo much easier to just use the iPhone they have on them, and just in time ending up using the watch for the very basics as I said, time, monitoring, and alerts.

Time will tell if people want to sit there any navigate and use apps on a tiny screen when they have their phone on them already,
 
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Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,196
876
Well, you could say that about using the Watch for Apps in the 1st place as you have your mobile phone 2 seconds away in your pocket most of the time.

And why some wonder if this is the right path for Apple to take.
Over complicating what could have been a slimmer and more sensible approach.

Just use a watch to tell the time, do body monitoring, send you alerts/notifications, and leave it at that.

If you wanted to do more, then use the phone that you have to carry anyway.

Keep the watch, clean, simple and functional, and Not do what they have done and try and make a mini iPodTouch with a silly screen to use apps, on your wrist.

Perhaps there is no need to make a watch this complicated.

The market could go two ways, both ways might be right, or only one of them.

Honestly I can easily see, many getting the watch, playing with it initially before realizing it's soooo much easier to just use the iPhone they have on them, and just in time ending up using the watch for the very basics as I said, time, monitoring, and alerts.

Time will tell if people want to sit there any navigate and use apps on a tiny screen when they have their phone on them already,
Totally agree with this. What I wanted from the :apple:Watch was something along the lines of what has been introduced by Garmin, Suunto, Polar, etc. All of those watches tell time, track activity/fitness, and have notifications, but with a crap interface. I was hoping Apple could do that stuff with a great interface and then add that feature that no one has thought about like they have with their past successes.
 

lotusindigo

macrumors regular
Mar 22, 2010
198
0
Interesting idea, I like it. A watch is much easier to keep on your person than a phone, and all you have to do is look down at your wrist to make sure you still have it. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple has this idea as a future possibility.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
You can buy a watch phone now, of course.

2014-samsung-gear-s.jpg

ZDNet even noticed that a lot of its specs were similar to, or better, than the original iPhone:

The Samsung Galaxy Gear S is like having an iPhone on your wrist

iPhone Gear S
===== =====
1GHz ... 1GHz
128MB... 512MB
320x ... 360x480 display
2G ... ... 3G
802.11... 802.11n
BT ... ... BT 4.0
1 day ... 2 day battery (moderate usage)
 
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lotusindigo

macrumors regular
Mar 22, 2010
198
0
You can buy a watch phone now, of course.

View attachment 500885

ZDNet even noticed that a lot of its specs were similar to, or better, than the original iPhone:

The Samsung Galaxy Gear S is like having an iPhone on your wrist

iPhone Gear S
===== =====
1GHz ... 1GHz
128MB... 512MB
320x ... 360x480 display
2G ... ... 3G
802.11... 802.11n
BT ... ... BT 4.0
1 day ... 2 day battery (moderate usage)
But... I'm guessing this phone watch is a pretty recent release right? Why is it a selling point that its specs surpass old tech like the original iPhone? I understand that it's in a smaller form factor, but that's like bragging that the iPad has better specs than dinosaur PCs that connected via dialup.
 
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