With Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 6 reveal scheduled for next week, the company is expected to finally unveil its first-ever piece of wearable tech – a smartwatch that media has already dubbed ‘the iWatch’.
There’s a lot of potential in wearables, but so far what’s been released hasn't exactly taken consumers or critics by storm. And while we have had the opportunity to play around with Android-based smartwatches for reviews, it’s somewhat telling that none of the tech enthusiasts in WhistleOut’s editorial team actually own a wearable device.
Despite this, we still have high hopes for the mythic iWatch. But we have a few requirements that we'd like to see met, before we part with our hard-earned dollars.
Be made of tough stuff
First of all, it needs to be durable. Smartwatches in general should be waterproof and dustproof, and the screen better be tough. The potential for bumps and scratches is high for a device that’s worn on your wrist, and you don’t want to have to take it off every time you wash your hands or brave a rainy day.
Even if a device isn't 100% submersible, if it’s going to come with health and fitness tracking tools – another component that many potential buyers would consider a necessity – it’s got to be sweat-resistant. Especially if (as hoped) the iWatch can be used to access iOS 8's Health app to track fitness and health info.
Not look like the Galaxy Gear
Apple, if you’re going to release a smartwatch, make it pretty. So far (with the possible exception of the upcoming Moto 360), smartwatch design hasn’t exactly been fashion forward, with the majority of devices looking bulky and cheap.
A little elegance goes a long way, and giving customers a device that doesn’t look like it came from the dollar store is essential, especially when compared to the simple but classy design of the iPhone. An attractive device that is both comfortable and stylish is currently the Holy Grail of wearables, but we believe in you Apple.
Take me home
If Apple finally brings NFC to the iPhone, the option to use your smartwatch to make payments with a literal flick of the wrist will be a great time saver. Although the public has yet to embrace using their smartphones as a virtual wallet, introducing NFC payments to Apple products at least opens up the possibility to a big consumer base of iUsers.
On the subject of convenient features, the inclusion of navigation powered by your connected smartphone would be awesome – it’s much easier to take a quick peek at your watch than it is to check your phone, when you’re trying to locate an address or negotiate a tricky route while driving.
We'd also like to see the iWatch integrated with iOS 8's new HomeKit house automation system, making your smartwatch a universal remote control. Being able to control your home's lighting, temperature and security with a tap to the screen, or a quick voice command, is the type of useful feature that could set the device apart from competitors.
Keep me updated
Apple has a reputation based on its ability to create products that work together well, and the iWatch should be a seamless addition to the company’s ecosystem. But given the jaw-dropping number of apps available for iPhone and iPad, it would be nice to see Apple eventually release a tailored version of iOS (similar to the Android Wear platform) designed especially for using apps on a wearable device.
What would really give Apple a lock on the market is a smartwatch that integrates with iPhone features, such as Siri, to bring up important information when it anticipates a customer may need it. Traffic updates, weather alerts, stock information and news and event notifications could all be potentially pushed to a wearable device, giving a user the real-time, on-the-go info they’d normally have to pull out their phone to access - similar to the standard call and text message notifications found on other smartwatches.
Ramp up accessibility
A last feature that we’d love to see is increased accessibility for users with disabilities. Smartwatches have tons of potential to make life easier for anyone who is vision, hearing or mobility impaired, so a device that can be adjusted to cater to a wearer’s individual needs – be it through voice and audio activation and notifications, or vibrating alerts – would be an excellent accompaniment to Apple’s current range of products.
Main image credit: Su℮ ❥ at Flickr