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

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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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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Social Media Editor. Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, but now spending his days in Phoenix, Arizona, he wastes most of his time eating burritos and reading Spanish romance novels. Twitter: @bst3r.

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