With all the hype about electronic health bands and the iWatch, especially an iWatch with a round interface, you'd think that it's a done deal. But who are you going to believe on this matter? Do you believe a fairly unknown analyst at Rosenblatt Securities shooting darts at the wall or what Apple's CEO stated on the topic of a smartwatch? At last year's D11 conference (between the 19-21 minute marks of the Walt Mossberg interview) Cook grumbled at the idea of a watch of any kind, though later admitted that "other wearables" could be interesting down the road. Does anyone believe that Apple is really going to be just another copycat designer? I guess they do considering the frenzy of reports out there on the topic that now extends the iWatch to having wireless charging coils. Next we'll be seeing reports with fuzzy photos like the Lock Ness monster appearing any day now – yes it's real, look at this crazy photo we found in a back alley in Taiwan. Really: are you buying into the iWatch being real for Q4?
At the moment our other site, Patently Mobile, is working on a new Samsung patent report about a next generation smartwatch. Samsung's patent FIG.1 as noted below illustrates a new form factor for a future Gear smartwatch. While Google's Android Wear and the Moto 360 will sport a round display, Samsung's design moves one gigantic leap forward by incorporating a rotatable ring around the clock's interface. It's a ring that's highly interactive with varying applications. (Update June 1, 2014: you could check out the full Samsung patent report here.)
With Google, Motorola and now Samsung shooting for smartwatches with a round interface, is Apple just going to be another one. After re-watching the video of Tim Cook talking to Mossberg about a watch and his close-to-distain position on such a device, it's so difficult to think that he's caved into public pressure to race one out the door for this fall.
It's not to say that Apple will never bring some form of a smartwatch or computer band to market because they have a patent application on record showing some interest. We also brought to light that Apple filed for the iWatch trademark in Korea. But that's just longer term thinking in case they do have such a product.
To be honest, the hype surrounding the smartwatch sector just isn't translating into really meaningful numbers yet. In April we reported that a survey showed that only 4% of UK consumers are interested in a wearable device like a Samsung Gear smartwatch. A recent report hailed Samsung selling 500,000 Gear watches in Q1 2014. Wow, this is exactly what Apple needs right now: another slow growing "hobby product" to bore analysts with.
Perhaps Adobe bowing out of the FuelBand hardware game has given Apple's CEO enough reason to reverse course. Samsung's Gear fit, however cool looking, got reviewed by the passionate SamMobile website recently. The reviewer stated that it was a really cool looking device but "As a fitness tracker, I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone." The title of the report is "Gear Fit Review: Beautiful design, awful fitness implementation." Ouch.
So perhaps Apple could fill this gap in the fitness world – though that wouldn't really be a smartwatch. In the end, the hype surrounding an Apple iWatch being rushed out for this fall seems to be completely out of step with Tim Cook's thinking on this device in my opinion. Do you believe in the recent rumors about the iWatch or agree with Tim Cook on this one? Which side are you on? Send in your comments below. I'd like to hear your views on this, pro or con.