Testing some scenarios for the future I used iWatch in a thought experiment and now wonder if continuity is the real hidden secret. On the Apple website we can see the pre-release claims for “Continuity” and “Handoff”. Features coming in iOS 8 and OSX Yosemite. All these wonderful new ways that we can take phone calls, work on one device and then finish on another and more.
If you own multiple devices with FaceTime you also know how painful it is when they are ring at the same time. Also pretty stupid when the child has the iPad in the other room that it is ringing with your call. Lets look at what Apple already says and then consider the implications for the iWatch.
Sometimes when your iPhone rings, it’s not where you are. Maybe it’s charging in another room. Or it’s buried in your backpack. But your Mac or iPad is sitting right there. Now you can make and receive phone calls on those devices as long as your iPhone running iOS 8 is on the same Wi-Fi network. Incoming calls show the caller’s name, number, and profile picture. Just click or swipe the notification to answer, ignore…. via Apple – iOS 8 – Continuity.
Proximity Awareness. With an iWatch or iBand there is no reason to ring all the devices. Whether it is ring your wrist, or send notifications there the only devices that will provide the continuity function (ringing in this case) are in the users immediate proximity (closest device). That provides some new and welcome improvements.
- Security. You left your iPad at home. Should notifications be active? What apps should the kids be able to use? (Parental controls?). OSX like Windows allows multiple accounts although that’s never been true on iOS devices. There’s a real opportunity to create a new “personalization” paradigm. It won’t all come this year. Still it makes sense. Why ring an iMac if I’m not anywhere near it. With this pairing your iDevice with an iWatch may take on new meaning and functionality.
- Location. Why carry your phablet around when it’s uncomfortably big for most pockets. Pick it up when necessary and never be far away. Make it more secure too. If it is moved or picked up. Get a notification. Still there is more to location than this. Even if developers don’t get access to the iBeacon in the next Generation AppleTV the combination of an iWatch, AppleTV, your phone, laptop etc will create an incredibly accurate map of your home, office etc. Extend this same type of capability to HomeKit and devices like lights and iWatch can turn those on or off too. Even if the processing is done on the iPhone or back in the cloud. Yes iWatch will learn its environment over time and the remote in our pocket may already be moving to our body and voice commands.
While there is plenty of speculation out about an iWatch and many of the health metrics it may capture we also may underestimate the value in de-coupling “always-on” from a large device in our pocket. My prediction is iWatch will encourage and accelerate Phablet adoption while making the cloud and a screen anywhere more possible. Potentially paired with any online Apple device it can personalize that experience for me or enable me to “chromecast” / airplay what I want. Imagine an Apple laptop in a Hotel lobby. No-one is using it. You effectively are Guest complements of your iWatch. As soon as you walk a few feet away your session is completely terminated (but you can get it back with “continuity”). In different ways this makes sense at retail too.
This also suggests a world where your device is much more focused on your privacy and control over information. That’s potentially Apple’s strength and Google’s weakness tracing to a difference in business models.
Finally this all identifies one other key feature. Imagine I enter a store. There is an Apple iPad as the cash register. My iWatch could pair as a guest to connect to this as a hotspot. The Apple payment system asks for confirmation. The TouchID feature is just under the sapphire glass. Approved! Makes my iWatch as secure as my phone. Yes the money really is on your wrist.
In this scenario, an iWatch augments any Apple device you own even if you are currently also an Android user. Consider…. combine all these features and also release FaceTime for Android and Windows concurrently although tied to iWatch! Could Music be next? The net result. Anyone that is currently a Mac user that has an Android phone and buys an iWatch gets what continuity could bring them they next time they buy a phone. In the meantime HealthBook works just fine with your Mac. There are many variations. Add in “Hey Siri” as iWatch functionality with an iDevice nearby and voice commands will become even easier.
Let’s hope we aren’t disappointed. The future is almost here.