Making the case for the smart watch
With all apologies to my colleague Joe Wilcox, who bashed the Apple rumor of an "iWatch", I must respectfully disagree. I get his point, don't get me wrong. Most people of the "modern" generation do not even wear watches. In fact, they may not even own them. The cell phone has become the time piece of choice in today's world. I also understand that a watch is not the ideal place to check your email. The screen is simply too small.
However, there are uses for these devices for some of us. Not all of us, but some. I am a runner. Have been since middle school -- more years ago than I care to mention. Those of us who ran cross country and track, and later moved to road races, care about time and smartphones don't cover it. Sure there are apps for that -- Map My Run, Run Keeper, Nike...they all do the job. My colleague Wayne Williams loves Zombies, Run! But, who wants to strap a 4.5-inch screen to their arm and go for a run?
I am not saying the rumored Apple "iWatch" is a good idea. What I am saying is that smart watches in general have a future, although it is certainly a niche one. Sure, if Apple releases a watch then the sheep will form lines around its store waiting to hand over their money, but it will be mostly be for a status symbol.
However, real smart watches, like the recently released Pebble, have a function for some of us. That particular item contains both GPS and Run Keeper, an app that can track your run, preventing the necessity of the old practice of driving a course before running it. Yes, some of us do that -- we are obsessed with distance and time, pace must be calculated. there are watches for that already, but what is wrong with a bit more functionality?
No, I don't need Dick Tracy-type software for a watch. I honestly do not need to know who is calling via my watch, although glancing at wrist, as opposed to fishing Galaxy Nexus from its home in my right front pocket would be handy. My Timex Ironman has worked just fine. But, devices like the Pebble could save me time and gas. I personally think this revolution can work, but it will be a small one. It is a niche product, but one that certainly has a home.