Apple Watch Foreshadows New “Personal Cloud” Platform

Back in January 2014, when the press and industry observers were all aflutter over “smartwatches,” we posted our analysis that Apple would develop a wrist-based mobile device in which the “watch” function was purely incidental. We labeled our concept as the Apple “iWatch Over You.” (“An Apple iWatch Or ‘iWatch Over You’”? 1/4/14)

When we originated this techno play on words, we were deducing from a series of Apple actions that their intent was: to watch over you – not from the point of surveillance for commercial purposes, but rather with the desire to promote the individual’s welfare.

The announcement of Apple Watch confirms our concept and actually suggests ways that Apple will extend the capabilities of wrist-based mobile devices. The latest Apple event is most notable not for the details as much as the direction of this personal extension, which is the watch, and what is suggested but left unsaid.

Clearly, the watch function (time, date, day of week) is secondary. The emoji display of icons, on the watch face shows the watch symbol as one of 16 icons. Daily date, time, events notification activities are clearly quite plebeian.

The Apple Watch can best be viewed as a hardware platform for “personal cloud” development. It takes advantage of the tactile relationship to the human body and the fact that we are culturally accustomed to wearing a device on the wrist daily, often almost 24 hours. The need for this product to have fashionista credentials is obvious, and we have posted before about Apple’s perceptiveness in building up its fashion-centered expertise. The Apple Watch is not only capable, by this proximal location to the body, to undertake biometric sensory activities but also environmental sensory detection (barometric, EMR (electromagnetic radiation), context awareness, etc).

Hints as to the usefulness and necessity of an Apple Watch abound, but we will have to await more specifics. For example…..

While you must be an iOS 7 or 8 user and have an iPhone 5 or 6, what is the exact relationship between the Apple Watch and the iPhone, re, for example: functionality, complete feature sets, on line off line capability, to name a few?

Then there is the role of Apple Watch and Apple Pay. It seems they will be integrated: but does that mean you need only swipe your ever-ready Apple Watch (with NFC?) and biometrics scan (fingerprints)? Note that we are quite impressed with Apple’s foray into payments, in that it has lined up the three major credit card companies, American Express, MasterCard and Visa, and, according to Bloomberg is going to be getting a cut of transaction fees. (Apple has also lined up retail partners including Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Target, Disney, Staples, Subway, McDonald’s, and more.)

Furthermore we presume there is a Siri capability, which was mentioned at the September 9, 2014 conclave, and an iCloud role for the Apple Watch, but is this full Siri, iCloud synch?

These three areas are just the ones that come immediately to mind and have a significant bearing on the basic value proposition of the Apple Watch. The answers and further developments will determine if the Apple Watch – with its unique human factors interface (a watch where telling time is not important), supporting a personal cloud of apps, with its cache of techno fashion morphology – can develop fully into a personal cloud platform device.

Apple Watch Photo by Justin14 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Treadmill Photo by E’Lisa Campbell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr