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Why Apple can sell a smartwatch

If Apple thinks it is time for an 'iWatch' it will definitely be time for the world to start buying a wearable smart device.

Nandagopal Rajan | February 12, 2013 | Updated 13:25 IST

Nandagopal Rajan
Smartwatches are nothing new. Even in India there are at least three players selling these timepieces that do much more that tell the time.

They are smart because they have operating systems inside that let you run apps like in a smartphone. Actually, they are more like a phone than a watch and some even have slots for SIM cards inside.

But this is one gadget no one really cares about, for despite the novelty, hardly anyone really goes ahead and buys one.

Even Sony sells a smartwatch in India, but I bet you didn't know. That's because the company hasn't really bothered to tell you about the device. So, it is relegated to the far corner shelves in exclusive Sony stores and to never-opened pages of e-tailing websites.

The other two smartwatches sold in India are the Burq Phone Watch and I'm Watch, which are much more expensive. Their makers do not sell any other devices in the country.

This obscurity that the smartwatch finds itself in is more to do with the fact there is no real demand for an extra phone that you can now tie to your wrist.

But are things about to change?

If Apple thinks it is time for an 'iWatch' it will definitely be time for the world to start buying a wearable smart device, which can, among other things, tell you the time.

With Apple, the device comes first, the demand follows. No one wanted an MP3 player before the iPod came along and no one thought that a phone could be fun too before they saw the iPhone. That's Apple for you.

For Apple, an iWatch is quite simple. It is as simple as squeezing the size of an iPod Nano, adding some connectivity and, of course, a strap. It already has a great operating system that can adapt superbly to any screen size. Not to mention the best app ecosystem in the world.

In case Apple decides to bring to the market a smartwatch to the market, as most reports are indicating, it won't take the company long to get developers to make some apps solely for what would be its smallest screen size.

The tough part for Apple would be making the device more than a pint-sized iPhone. But then, it is us who are thinking that Apple's 'iWatch' too will be an extension of the phone. The chances are Apple will rethink the entire device and come up with something we didn't know could be done, something we don't know we want.

Buy the March issue of Gadgets & Gizmos for a detailed story on smartwatches and an exclusive video face-off

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