Last Thursday, Mark Gurman reported on potential features for the next Apple Watch. Here’s the story at 9to5Mac. He has excellent sources and an excellent record in reporting upcoming Apple devices or features.
For this particular rumor, however, I suspect the source likely isn’t from Apple, and that the information may mostly reflect development exploration. For these reasons, I don’t think this specific story is that meaningful. (That’s not a knock against Mark.)
On the Source
1. It’s probably not an Apple employee. From my eight years at Motorola, I can tell you that the product managers, engineers, and supply chain staff working on new products are some of the hardest working people you’ll ever meet. Products are the lifeblood of the company, and they’re the livelihood of its people. Everyone with a stake in the company’s success knows this. So, the odds that someone at Apple leaked this information, right when Apple Watch is reaching Apple Stores (i.e., the “big launch”), are low.
2. It’s probably someone helping Apple with consumer research. I’m saying that because the leaked information concerns:
- “Considerations” (as far from a shipping product as a PowerPoint slide)
- Visible features, but no granular attributes (spec-level knowledge or software features)
- Price point variants
- Granular information from consumer research
Let’s combine these: a likely-external person, discussing feature “considerations”, without spec or software detail, about price point variants, and quoting granular information from consumer research. Based on that, I think it’s probably a low level employee (or attention-seeker) from a research firm that Apple trusted. The “considerations” may be features that appeared in a research aid.
And yes, I do realize that, generally, Apple does less product-design-related consumer research than most companies.
On the Content
- FaceTime Video Camera: I’m surprised it was mentioned. I don’t mean in terms of any sort of personal preference, but in terms of the odds that Apple Watch consumers would value its utility. But, that’s one reason companies do consumer research – because one’s own sense of something may be completely incorrect. It’s almost like this feature was part of the “considerations” appearing on a survey or simulation. It might have even scored high. That can happen to both good and bad features.
- iPhone Independence: Sure. Okay. This is something someone could just guess at. What’s confusing is:
Any other features that could normally function solely under a Wi-Fi connection do not function completely, including text messaging, emailing, and receiving updated weather data.
Isn’t this on watchOS 2, due in the fall? Confusing.
- Battery Life: Sounds right. Battery life appears to be okay for most people. Including me. Note: If you look at the smartphone market as (only one) source of input, you’ll see that battery life has roughly stayed at around one day (some exceptions, Droid Maxx, Nexus 6, iPhone 6 Plus). Basically, that’s because the more capacity we get, the more we tune our use to i) take advantage of that extra power and ii) still have a little left at the end of the day.
- Interesting that this source didn’t discuss less visible components or software in any sort of detail. Things like GPS, processors, or software features at a specific level… I think that supports my guess about the source.