iWatch: My Wishlist for Apple’s wearable

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 5 Sep 2014

Apple's iWatch Wishlist

Apple is widely expected to unveil its long-rumored wearable at the media event on September 9th alongside the iPhone 6.

It would be Apple’s first product launch in a new category since the death of its legendary founder Steve Jobs.

Apple seems to have certainly doubled down on secrecy, as we don’t know much about it, let alone what it be called, though “iWatch” seems to be the most popular name so far. Here’s what I hope it will be include. I am no expert on wearables, but I have been using them for quite a while, so some of it is based on my experience, and frustrations with devices in this emerging and extremely promising product category.

Before I start with my wishlist, I want to clarify that I don’t want a watch with “smart” features, though I am referring to it as the “iWatch” due to lack of a better name. I want a wearable for health and fitness tracking, and can also act as a companion device for my iPhone.

Battery life

One of the problems with wearable devices like the smartwatches launched by Samsung has been battery life. I am currently wearing the Fitbit Force, which offers minimal functional, but it offers battery life of 7 to 10 days.

Since I don’t expect Apple’s wearable to be as basic as the Force, I am being realistic with my battery life expectations. I want the battery life to be at least three to five days. But looking at Moto 360’s 12 hour battery life, I might be being too optimistic.

Charging made easy

One of the most inconvenient things about wearing a wearable device or any gadget for the matter, is charging it. With wearables like smartwatches or activity tracking bands, it is even more annoying as you need to take it out, and then charge the device.

So I really hope Apple comes up with a revolutionary solution such as induction charging, which can wirelessly charge the device without having to remove it from my writst. So the device could be charged wirelessly, while I’m in front of the computer, which is where I spend the maximum amount of time.


One of the reasons I stopped wearing watches is because I didn’t like the task of removing it while going for a shower or for a swim. Most wearable devices these days are waterproof, and it would be a deal breaker if Apple’s wearable is not waterproof. Just like contact lenses, if wearables need to be part of my lifestyle then they need to hassle free.


Apple’s wearable will be the new Notification Center for iOS. However, one of the problems with the first generation wearables like Pebble is the limited support available in mobile operating systems like iOS. So the way they manage Notifications isn’t ideal.

Notifications can be a pain, and the last thing I want to torture myself by getting notifications on my wrist, when I get it on my iPhone or iPad or MacBook Pro. Notifications for the wearable need to be a lot smarter, which will probably happen as iOS will become more wearable friendly. So if I am using a Mac or iOS device, and get a notification on it, I shouldn’t get the Notification on the iWatch. I also want to be able to set which app can send notifications to the iWatch, as I don’t want all the Notifications displayed on the Lock screen to be sent to the iWatch. I want to have granular control over which Notifications I get on my iWatch.

I also don’t want my wrist vibrating all the time, so instead of vibrating, it should simply light up the screen to display the notification for a few seconds to highlight a new notification has arrived.


I want the iWatch to come with lot more sensors than my iPhone. Currently, iPhone 5s’s M7 motion coprocessor, can detect when I’m walking, running, driving or even riding the bicycle.

iWatch should be able to do a lot more such as figure out when I am climbing stairs, swimming and also be able to monitor other activities such as sleeping etc. Fitbit Force has a nifty option to activate sleep mode, but you need to enable and disable it manually. I’m quite forgetful, so I always forgot to enable sleep mode, and if I remembered to enable it, I forgot to disable it in the morning. It didn’t take long for me to give up, and stop using the feature.

I am not sure if it is possible using sensors available currently, but it would also be great if the iWatch can monitor activities on popular exercise equipments such as the cross-trainer etc.

I also want to be able to track and record a number of health parameters such as calories burned and heart rate using a built-in optical heart rate monitor so we don’t have to wear those inconvenient heart rate straps. The heart rate should be displayed on the screen whenever it detects I am exercising etc. so it helps me train with the right intensity.

HealthKit in iOS 8 can help make fitness and health apps even more useful by allowing them access to this health data from the iWatch.

Third-Party Apps 

One of the biggest advantages of the iPhone and iPad over competing platforms has been the wide range of apps that have allowed us to use our mobile devices in a way we would have never thought of.

Apple could replicate that success by launching an App Store for the iWatch, so that developers can come up with innovative ways to use it, and popular fitness apps such as Runtastic, MapMyRide etc. can offer companion apps so we don’t have to take out our iPhones to check the progress.

I hope Apple doesn’t cripple the iWatch like Apple TV by not offering an App Store.

Design/Form Factor

The round Moto 360 and the LG G Watch R look great, when you compare them with square smartwatches like Samsung Gear, LG G Watch. But I don’t want a round smartwatch. While they look like real watches, and the round face looks good to display the time, I don’t think it makes sense for the wearable, which will be used for a lot more things than just display the time. For example, you will not only have to scroll a lot more to read a long message or an email, but reading them on a circular display would be quite awkward. I also think a round face will result in design compromises, and could end up reducing the use cases.

As I have mentioned earlier I don’t want Apple’s wearable to look like a traditional watch. I hope Apple thinks out of the box, and comes up with something that looks really cool and classy at the same time just like the way they did with the iPhone in 2007. Designers have made several iWatch concepts, but I’m yet to come across one that blows my mind way or looks like something Apple would make.

The other issue with wearables these days is that they look quite bulky. Watches like the Samsung Gear S look like a mini smartphone on your wrist, which looks very ugly. I hope Apple’s wearable is a lot sleeker. Rumors of a flexible display does sound promising.


Siri could be very useful on the iWatch as the added advantage with it is that you don’t have to take it out of your pocket or handbag to use it. So you can use it to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls (via handoff), and more. The only problem is that since Siri on the iPhone and iPad needs an internet connection, so I expect Siri on iWatch to offer basic functionality.

Health Advisor

I want the iWatch to be my health advisor, reminding me to drink water, to take my medicines, remind me of a meeting if I’m not yet on my way etc. It should also give me a warning if I am exceeding the recommended heart rate while exercising. It could also double up as a personal trainer at some point in the future. While Notifications can be a pain, such health related tips and alerts would be more than welcome.

Things I don’t want

Make phone calls 

I don’t want to use the iWatch as a smartphone, especially since adding a cellular modem can have a major impact on battery life. However, iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite’s Handoff feature seems like a perfect fit for the iWatch. It would be quite cool to use iPhone’s cellular signal to make calls using the iWatch. It also wouldn’t have that big an impact on battery life.


They say the best camera is the one you have with you all the time, which is why the iPhone has become one of the popular camera in the world, since we tend to carry it wherever we go. The iWatch will probably trump the iPhone when it comes to “being with you all the time”, but I can’t see myself taking a photo using an iWatch. If taking a photo with the iPad looks weird, taking a photo with an iWatch seems creepy, and let’s not forget that the quality of the photos would be even worse compared to the iPhone given the camera lens that Apple will be able to fit in it. So the last thing I want Apple spending precious real estate inside the iWatch for a camera.

Wrap up:

These are some of the things I want in the iWatch. If there is anyone who can change the perception about wearables which are mostly bulky and ugly to look at, it is Apple. Apple did it with the iPod, turning the geeky iPod into a fashion accessory everyone wanted to buy, and revolutionalized the way we use mobile devices with the iPhone.

I am very excited about the iWatch or whatever Apple ends up calling it. Let me know what’s on your iWatch wishlist.

[Image Credit: JMicic/Shutterstock]