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iWaste of time By Julien Happich There has ben so much anticipation about an iWatch release, something that would revolutionize wearables the Apple way, only to see the Californian firm launch a smartphone-satellite watch missing the brand’s iconic “i” pre-fix (from a geek’s perspective, without an “i” attached to it, is it an Apple product?). The Apple Watch as they call it requires an iPhone for WiFi connectivity and GPS data, so it is clearly to be sold as a satellite to Apple’s own products, unlike Samsung’s bulkier Galaxy Gear 2 smart watch or many other Androidcompatible connected watches such as the LG G Watch, the Moto 360, or the cheaper and less powerhungry Pebble (with a bistable e-Ink display instead of the light-emitting LCDs or OLEDs). Regardless of its sleek design, at US$349 the watch is not precisely cheap for a peripheral that’ll need charging every night at best for if you wish to rely on the time it indicates (Apple remained elusive on battery life). Considering that all of today’s smartwatches will mostly be useable with a smartphone nearby (with a clock on it), they only act as secondary displays which need to be recharged about a thousand time more often than today’s regular batteryoperated watches or infinitely more than automatic movement watches that are wound by the wearer’s motion. When you spend over USD300 $ in a watch, you would want something not only with good craftsmanship, but that gives you time with precision and elegance, unconditionally, that is without wasting your time charging it or tethering you to yet another power cord (even a wireless charger has to plug somewhere). That is especially true when the smartwatch’s market position flirts with the jewellery side, with a variety of materials to choose from, including a premium 18-karat gold version at an even higher price-tag. So when Apple CEO Tim Cook says such a product will redefine what people expect from a watch, I look at mine, check the time (the only feature it has apart being a fashion statement) and sigh, “what a waste of time”. This is ironic when the whole purpose of a wearing a smartwatch is the alleged productivity gains of not having to reach for your smartphone. Sure you can’t dismiss technology on the first clunky prototypes thrown at you, and the good point about all these competing smartwatch launches is that they tentatively shrink what we already know as smartphones (which themselves are shrunk computers). So far, it is nearly as if these wearables were corded, but if someday such devices can run on energy harvesting, then we’ll get something worth wearing casually. Publisher André Rousselot +32 27400053 andre.rousselot@eetimes.be Editor-in-Chief Julien Happich +33 169819476 julien.happich@eetimes.be EDITORS Christoph Hammerschmidt +49 8944450209 chammerschmidt@gmx.net Peter Clarke +44 776 786 55 93 peter.clarke@eetimes.be Paul Buckley +44 1962866460 paul@activewords.co.uk Jean-Pierre Joosting +44 7800548133 jean-pierre.joosting@eetimes.be Circulation & Finance Luc Desimpel luc.desimpel@eetimes.be Advertising Production & Reprints Lydia Gijsegom lydia.gijsegom@eetimes.be Art Manager Jean-Paul Speliers Accounting Ricardo Pinto Ferreira Regional Advertising Representatives Contact information at: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/en/ about/sales-contacts.html European Business Press SA 7 Avenue Reine Astrid 1310 La Hulpe Tel: +32 (0)2 740 00 50 european Fax: +32 (0)2 740 00 59 business press www.electronics-eetimes.com VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437 RPM: Brussels Company Number: 0461357437 © 2014 E.B.P. SA ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES EUROPE is published 11 times in 2014 by European Business Press SA, 7 Avenue Reine Astrid, 1310 La Hulpe, Belgium Tel: +32-2-740 00 50 Fax: +32-2-740 00 59 email: info@eetimes.be. VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437. RPM: Nivelles. Volume 16, Issue 9 EE Times P 304128 It is is free to qualified engineers and managers involved in engineering decisions – see: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/subscribe Copyright 2014 by European Business Press SA. All rights reserved. P 304128 50 Electronic Engineering Times Europe October 2014 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE OCT 2014
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