iWatch difficulties: Apple accepts their limitations & begin hiring 'aggressively'

The smart watch is a difficult concept for any company; if you have Apple's high standards then your problems are doubled

In a move that suggest that Apple have accepted their own limitations the tech company have begun hiring “aggressively” to tackle the challenge of developing the iWatch. Although the device has yet to be confirmed it would constitute a new direction for the company and a departure from the sort of expertise they’ve assembled during the creation of the iPhone and the iPad.

Sources familiar with the company’s plans spoke to the Financial Times, stating that designing such a product involves “hard engineering problems that they’ve not been able to solve”. The fact that Apple are running into problems also mean that it’s likely that device won’t be launched “until the latter part of next year”.

As the FT notes, this is disappointing for investors in the company. Apple’s stock dropped from a high of $700 in September 2012 to less than $400 in April of this year and currently trades at around $430. Financial analysts have speculated whether the company is past its prime with many suggesting that an entirely new product line is needed to halt a perceived decline in creativity.

The smart watch market is certainly set to explode over the next couple of years. What started out as an icon of crowd-funding success - the MetaWatch and Pebble are notable examples - has become an attractive target for virtually any tech company with a hardware arm. Dell have been the latest company to suggest they’ll be joining the boom, but everyone from Microsoft to Sony to Samsung have hinted at a project or already brought a device to market.

The problem for Apple then is to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market and create a product equal to their high standards of design and functionality. Smart watches are popular right now but they’re consistently hamstrung by the limitations of current hardware and the need to operate at such a small scale.

Devices are dogged by inadequate battery life, low-resolution screens and under-developed apps that fail to sync, have difficulties displaying on small screens or just plain don’t work. Consumer tech review site The Wire Cutter summed up the myriad difficulties of the form by declaring that the current crop of devices are just “all kind of crummy”.

Another difficulty to navigate is the social status of the watch. Whether you choose to wear a Patek Philippe or a Casio F-91W will reveal something about your character (and your income) – be it aspirational or apathetic. The caché carried by a phone is similar in kind, but not in degree: smartphones have all trended towards the black-slice-of-glass aesthetic and remain hidden in your pocket anyway – a watch is on display all the time.  

Apple’s recent hire of former Yves Saint Laurent boss Paul Deneve suggests that they’re sensitive to this issue. The 53 year-old Belgian even worked in Apple’s sales and marketing division back in the 1990s before moving to high-end fashion. Although his role in the company has yet to be confirmed (CEO Tim Cook says Deneve will be reporting directly to him to work on “special projects”), his expertise in selling image and brand seems a canny play from Apple.

It’s to the consumer’s benefit and to Apple’s credit that the company is content to mull over their products, and ti seems that the iWatch will be no different. Whilst Cook’s only comments on the topic have been that the area is “ripe for exploration” this most likely means exploration, Apple style: let other companies rush off into the undergrowth – you just hang back, keeping note of your competitors' cries for help as they flag up potential pitfalls by conveniently falling into them.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: IT Manager

    £45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific