- 1) Motivation
- Our high-paced society is constantly connected through our iPhones and other smartphones/devices. It is incredibly easy to access information, but the market demands a product that makes it even easier.
The iWatch is a secondary display and remote for the iPhone. It makes users’ information available without even pulling their iPhones out of their pockets.
The market has already demonstrated a strong interest in similar products. TikTok/LunaTiK, a set of watch bands for the previous generation iPod Nano, raised almost $1 million on Kickstarter. Meanwhile, Pebble, a third-party smartwatch for the iPhone, raised over $10 million.
The iWatch is imagined as a product designed by Apple. It operates and feels just like the iPhone, so millions of customers will already know how to use it. However, it is not a standalone device, so it will not need significant memory and other expensive components. It will be very affordable, in the $50-$100 range.
- 2) Hardware
- 2.1) Size/Shape
- The iWatch will be about the size of a typical watch, or the size of the previous generation (small touchscreen) iPod Nano. When on the Home screen, the display will have room for four App icons (same size as iPhone App icons), as well as a small bar at the top with the time. The display will reach the sides and top of the front panel, but the bottom section of the front panel will have a Home button like on the iPhone.
- 2.2) Buttons
- Like on the iPhone, the only button on the front of the iWatch is the Home button. The Home button is fairly stiff, because it should not accidentally be pressed during regular use. The left side has volume buttons and a switch. Unlike the switch on the iPhone, which mutes the device, the switch on the iWatch turns on/off the display’s backlight.
Because the top and bottom of the device are covered by the watch straps, the power button and the lightning port (for charging) are both on the right side of the device. The power button needs to be held down to power on/off the device, but there is no “slide to power off.” It is also worth noting that tapping the power button doesn’t put the display to sleep, as it should always show content.
- 2.3) Display
- Unlike the iPhone, which contains a color LCD, the iWatch will have an touch-screen e-ink display. E-ink consumes far less battery than LCD displays, and there is no glare when being viewed outdoors. There will be a backlight that can be switched on for viewing in the dark.
A major disadvantage of e-ink is that today, the technology is only black and white. However, there should be color e-ink displays in the future, which would be ideal for the iWatch.
- 2.4) Connectivity
- The iWatch will not need cellular radios and other components that drain battery and increase costs. Instead, it will communicate with the iPhone through Bluetooth 4.0.
- 2.5) Power
- As discussed above, the iWatch will consume very little power. iPhone users already need to charge their phones every day, and they don’t want to charge another device frequently. The iWatch will have a battery that is large enough to last over a month on a single charge, yet small enough not to add bulk.
The device will be charged with the lightning port on its side. However, future iterations of the iWatch won’t need to be plugged in at all. Instead, they’ll automatically be charged wirelessly from the iPhone once the technology is available. Users won’t need to worry about charging the iWatch, and the iPhone’s battery won’t be impacted significantly since the iWatch uses such a minimal amount of power. The iWatch will charge while the iPhone is also charging, rather than draining the iPhone during daily use.
- 3) Home Screen
- The iWatch’s Home screen is just like the iPhone’s Home screen, except it only contains icons for four Apps. Clicking on an icon opens an App, and swiping reveals additional home screens with more icons. The top bar shows the time, battery meter, and whether a song is playing on the iPhone. The bottom shows which Home screen the user is on (there can be multiple pages of App icons).
- 4) Apps
- 4.1) Clock
- Most users will probably have the clock app open most of the time on their iWatches. It is fairly minimalist; it simply displays the time and date. The time/date automatically synchronizes with the iPhone, so it is always correct.
- 4.2) Music
- Unlike the Clock App, which only displays data, the Music App is interactive, and it sends information back to the iPhone. In addition to showing what song is playing on the iPhone, it can be used to pause and skip songs, fast forward within songs, and adjust the volume. Again, it uses standard interface elements that iOS users are familiar with, so there should not be much challenge in learning how to use the Music App.
- 4.3) Additional Apps
- Several other simple Apps listed below would be built into the iWatch. Note that first three are actually part of the Clock App on the iPhone, but would be separated into their own Apps on the iWatch. Also, note that Apps aren’t actually running their own processes on the iWatch; they are merely secondary displays with glancable information for Apps on the iPhone.
- 4.4) Third-Party Apps
- In addition, third-party Apps in the App Store could integrate with the iWatch.
- 5) Notifications
- 5.1) New Notifications
- iPhone users frequently need to pull their devices out of their pockets because they feel a vibration. With an iWatch, a user could quickly glance at his or her wrist instead. Whenever the iPhone gets a call or notification, an alert appears on the iWatch. The alert automatically goes away after a few seconds, but the user could dismiss it immediately by pressing the home button.
- 5.2) Notification Center
- Similar to the Notification Center on the iPhone, there is a Notification Center App on the iWatch. The user can scroll through previous notifications. Unlike new notifications, which contain large text that is easy to glance at, the text is a bit smaller in the Notification Center in order to fit multiple notifications.
- 6) Feedback From User Testing
- I did user testing with two of my friends: a government major and a Hotelie. One uses an iPhone, and the other uses an iPod Touch, so they are both potential users. However, they are not in the core target audience; they are not obsessed with being constantly connected. The following is some feedback that I received, along with some thought.
“I whack my watch against things all the time, I’d be afraid that the screen would break.”
This is a good point; the hardware would need to be very durable.
“Would people want to use it if it were only black and white?"
With today’s technology, the two options are a color LCD and a black and white e-ink display. I believe the benefits of e-ink (longer battery life, visible outdoors) outweigh the costs (lack of color), but this is worth investigating further. Hopefully, display technology will improve, so it will be possible to have the advantages of both color LCD and e-ink.
“I don’t know if I would buy one in addition to a phone… [but] I think it’s a good idea.”
“It seems to me that it’s just an extra accessory. The beauty of [the iPhone] is that it’s minimalist and you can do everything on here so easily, and you only have one device.”
Not everyone will want an iWatch, but Pebble, a smartwatch that raised over $10 million on Kickstarter, proved that there’s definitely interest for a similar product on the market.
“I would like to see the time displayed somewhere as a constant on each of these screens, maybe at the top.”
In my initial mockups, I did not include the top bar with the time, as I felt that this was a waste of the limited screen real estate. However, my friend convinced me that it would be worthwhile to include the top bar like on the iPhone.
“I like the Home screen”
Millions of individuals are already very familiar with iOS, so they should be comfortable with the interface of the iWatch.