iWatch might make Dick Tracy’s 2-way wrist radio a reality

dicktracy

The iWatch is coming. No one really know what it will do yet, but Steven Milunovich, UBS’ top Apple analyst, claims that if Apple has its way, you’ll use the iWatch mostly to send voice messages back and forth with your friends, like Dick Tracy’s 2-Way Wrist Radio.

Because voice messaging is so huge among smartphone users in China, Milunovich says sending voice messages will be one of iWatch’s biggest features along with fitness. And even though it sounds a little silly that voice messages would be the main draws for iWatch, he just met with Tim Cook who couldn’t stop talking about it.

“When we visited with Tim Cook, he said that walking down streets in China one sees people speaking into their phones sending voice rather than text messages. Porting this capability to the watch makes sense as it is easier to send a voice message from a device already on the wrist than pulling out a phone. It also could aid penetration of China, which Cook said has a ways to go.”

Apple added a new voice messaging feature to iOS 8 that let users quickly send voice notes with a simple tap to record, followed by a second gesture to either send or delete the recording. Other rumors suggest Apple has assembled a team of voice recognition experts to build a new version of Siri that actually understands what you’re saying.

Armed with an improved voice-to-text engine and speedier voice messaging, Apple could be poised to jump ahead of Android Wear’s communication options, but it seems unlikely that fitness and voice messaging will be iWatch’s only major plays.

In his note to investors, Milunovich says Cook admitted that penetration in China still has a ways to go though. Could an iWatch with voice messages help Apple deepen its roots in tech’s biggest market?

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  • rickneworleansla

    An answering machine for your wrist? No thanks.

  • Chuck McGinley

    Ya because talking onto your wrist is so convenient. Especially the listening part. Good grief. The only thing missing from this post is the Analyst Ming Chi whatever who dribbles weekly nonsense.

    • Guest

      ya because no one has invented blue tooth headsets that may pair with a wrist device. Good grief.

      • Chuck McGinley

        Thanks for proving my point.

        And to literally answer your statement, I would pair my bluetooth headset to a wrist device that is paired to my phone? I say again. Good Grief.

  • Whocares

    Samsung will have it in Gear 3 released in 2 months lol. Rumors like this drive Samsung nut…lol

  • http://myallo.com/ lepton

    I guess you could send a voice message, but how would you receive one? I very much doubt the watch will have a speaker. More likely you will send a text by telling Siri, and receive text through the display.

    • http://www.MagicDonkey.co.uk/ Jonas Hamill

      Why do you ‘very much doubt the watch will have a speaker’? You’re saying it like it’s completely extraordinary for them to add a tiny little speaker.

  • Brandon Franklin

    Fuck it! I’ll try it!

  • Brandon Franklin

    I think the biggest hurtle to a good smart watch experience will be untethering it from the phone. Android has shown that the utility aspect is pretty underwhelming and just wait til they leave their phone/desk or gymbag in the locker room and realize now they just have an expensive “dumb” watch. health kit may help but “fitness nut” is still kind of nitche. I hope apple treats it more as an iPod replacement than an iPhone extension I think it needs functionality beyond that. Simply put the smartphone is already unto itself the simplest device for our ways of communicating.

    • lucascott

      I disagree. I don’t think that a smart watch has to be anything more than an accessory to your phone.

  • mahadragon

    Maybe the reason the Chinese are sending voice messages because Siri isn’t picking up the Chinese? Not necessarily because Chinese people just love to receive their messages by voice. Did the Cookster ever think of this?

    • http://www.MagicDonkey.co.uk/ Jonas Hamill

      I think the point was, they prefer to send messages by talking at the their phone as opposed to typing it. Whether that’s dictation or voice messaging is somewhat irrelevant.

  • lucascott

    people keep saying that Apple is making a real TV for the past 3-4 years and it hasn’t happened. So who knows if this watch is real or not. maybe it is and maybe Apple is just moving to better support other folks wrist things.
    If we assume that that it is at least a prototype in research that might happen in the next few months to couple of years, it’s unlike to be the iPhone on the wrist that some folks say. More like something in the form of the square iPod nano (with similar UI) that acts as a health band, pebble style notifications and yes perhaps a mike one can use to run siri etc without having to take your phone out of your pocket in a crowd. Or even answer a call, change a tune etc if you are using a bluetooth or headphones.

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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