When and Why Apple Make a Smartwatch

Written By Mekhels O' Cypher on Friday, February 8, 2013 | 1:12 PM

It isn’t a matter of “if” Apple creates a smartwatch, but rather “when.” And “why.”

Moving into the hot “wearables” market with a smartwatch would allow Apple to compete against upstarts like Pebble and seasoned stalwarts like Sony and capitalize on a trend that is sweeping the industry — as shown by the vast number of “wearable” computing devices seen at CES this year. Companies like Nike, Adidas and Motorola are expected to ship 90 million wearables by 2017, and there’s no way Apple would miss out on a piece of that action. A smartwatch would also help complete Apple’s product lineup since the company abandoned the wrist-wearable, square-shaped iPod nano in favor of a larger-screened version.

“The overall trend is that computing is diversifying, and the body is the next frontier for computing,” said Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps. “It would seem strange for Apple to have no goal in shaping what that next phase of computing looks like.”

There’s been a number of signs suggesting Apple is hard at work on a gadget to revolutionize the smartwatch space. There are reports that Apple may be working with Intel to develop a smartwatch with a 1.5-inch PMOLED display. Apple’s investment in curved display technology also would work beautifully on a wearable product. And don’t forget that countless people wore the iPod Nano as a wristwatch — using third-party bands sold in Apple stores.

A smartwatch-size display certainly would fit nicely into Apple’s product lineup, which features mobile and desktop devices in a wide a variety of form factors. At the small end, you’ve got the display-less iPod shuffle, followed by the rest of Apple’s iPod and iPhone lineup, up to the 4-inch iPhone 5. With a hole in the 5- to 6-inch “phablet” area, the 8-inch iPad mini and full-size iPad models round out Apple’s offerings on the mobile front. Then you’ve got the 11-, 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air and Pro laptops, followed by the largest-screened iMacs and Cinema Display.

Besides the aforementioned phablet space, which would be an evolutionary addition like the iPad mini, Apple could add something a bit more “revolutionary” at either end of the spectrum — something small and wearable, or large, like an Apple television. But there are a number of difficulties associated with debuting the sort of game-changing TV we’d expect from Apple, and given the recent surge of wearable technologies, a wrist-worn computer makes much more sense in the near term. readmore..