Woz thinks wearables like the iWatch could be ‘a hard sell’

Gadget-loving Steve Wozniak sounds like he won't be queuing for the iWatch on its day of release.

Gadget-loving Steve Wozniak sounds like he won’t be queuing for the iWatch on its day of release.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has called the wearables product category — of which Apple’s eagerly-anticipated iWatch will be one — “a hard sell.”

In an email exchange with CNet on Wednesday, the routinely outspoken Woz (who recently turned 64) noted that smart watches are “go-betweens for your smartphone, but are an extra piece and need special advantages that the smartphone doesn’t have, in my opinion. If they are just a Bluetooth go-between then it could wind up in the category of Bluetooth headsets: Fun to wear and show off for a day.”

While Woz says that he is “holding [his] breath” to see what Apple will come up with next, he points out the problem that exists with certain smart watches which have already come to market, such as the dud Samsung Galaxy Gear, which arrived to pitiful sales and miserable reviews.

“I personally want a larger screen that can do more of what my iPhone does,” Woz wrote. “The small 1.5-inch by 1.5-inch screens don’t hack it for me. If it serves as a speakerphone, the speaker had better be good. My Martian watch is usable for phone calls but not my Galaxy Gear, for this reason.”

Woz also touched on the potential health-tracking applications of the iWatch, which Apple apparently views as a “moral obligation.”

Woz, for his part, says that “I would be turned off slightly, but I’m sure millions would be astounded, if [Apple] become another to build in an EKG display” — noting the rumors that heart-reading technology could be on the menu for mainstream wearables.

“I would not be surprised to find some personal health aids built in, Fitbit style,” Woz concluded.

Certainly big things are expected for the iWatch, which will be the first major new product category for Apple since the iPad arrived in 2010. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty has previously suggested that the iWatch could achieve sales in the region of 30-60 million units in its first year on the market, thanks to the “halo effect” of brand loyalty to Apple that will drive sales of the as-yet-unannounced product.

The iWatch — will will reportedly come in a range of sizes and feature a curved sapphire display, numerous sensors galore, and will pair with the iPhone — could well arrive in less than a month, at the same September 9 event Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6. Other reports have stated that it will come later, maybe even in 2015.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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