Last week, Europe-based news website letemsvetemapplem.eu reported that Apple is preparing “Smart Bands” to add additional health tracking sensors to the current-generation Apple Watch. The article went on to say that Apple would release the bands starting next year instead of refreshing the Apple Watch’s core hardware, with speculation that Apple does not believe people will upgrade their Watches annually like iPhones. […]
The Apple Watch and its diagnostic port were actually designed with the possibility of bands with sensors launching in the future. These potential sensor bands could also integrate with the Apple Watch over Bluetooth, and Bluetooth-based health accessory connectivity is already an option in the Apple Watch’s Settings application […]. […]
We are told that the potential presence of “Smart Bands” will not deter Apple from annually upgrading the Apple Watch’s hardware.
First, it’s fascinating to imagine Apple considering a range of peripheral devices, essentially, connecting to Apple Watch. Including some that it might make. And if the Apple Watch gains cellular connectivity someday, the combination of the two (connected watch + peripherals) is interesting.
But back to this article: If we think of Apple Watch as a tool, adding additional modules or extensions of sorts is a plausible development of the product. On a smartphone or tablet, it’s somewhat easier to absorb new hardware into the “base”, but smartwatches offer less flexibility in that regard. It’s reasonable to assume they would have to still be aesthetically appealing, otherwise that defeats the purpose. Those who really the value additional health sensors may care less about aesthetics, but the device still has to appear reasonably pleasing to observers.
At this early point, I’d guess (the obvious, which is) that only some will opt for such smart bands, for reasons of need, fashion, and price. And smart bands, as Mark reports, won’t reduce the need for an annual update to the Apple Watch. Why? As a hybrid fashion/utility device, its industrial design needs to stay current, whatever that actually entails. And new designs increase the odds that first-time customers buy the watch. So, as Mark indicates, any “smart bands” aren’t likely to change the annual launch cadence.