I think Motorola just announced my perfect “iWatch”…

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Apple’s been rumored to be entering the wearable technology market for the past couple of years. And nothing’s happened. But “hey, it’s 2014, the year of wearables, Apple’s gonna do something big!” How many times have we heard that before? In fact, just take out the year and swap it for every one for the past 5-6 and that’s been my life. Whether it’s the Apple TV set in 2012, iWatch in 2013 or “phablet” in 2014, they have one thing in common: None of them came to pass.

Now, I have to say, this year’s reports from the usually reliable and well-connected, Mark Gurman have given me a little faith as to the reality of the iWatch. But with all the features including mostly sensors for tracking health and fitness, I’m not entirely sure it’s my idea of what an iWatch should be.

To me, the perfect smartwatch is one that delivers relevant and important content and notifications in a way that’s easy to ready, and actionable without needing to do grab my phone, or type on a tiny on-screen keyboard. It also has to be built in to a classic timepiece design. It’s why I absolutely loved the concept that showed up a couple of weeks ago.

I didn’t for once think this kind of device was anything like close to being an actual product. It’s a concept. Concepts don’t turn in to reality that often. And then Motorola announced this:

Alongside Google’s new Android Wear developer initiative, both Motorola and LG announced they would be releasing devices. But the square and bleh LG watch was quickly overshadowed by the beautiful moto 360. It has a round, metal chassis, and an authentic leather strap. But hardware is only one of the elements to consider. A great smart device of any kind needs great software. And the Moto 360 has that too.

Android Wear software is essentially a watered-down version of Android that’s fully optimized for a smartwatch. But don’t go thinking widgets, battery draining multi-window multitasking or anything that ridiculous. This take’s Google’s best product of the past 10 years, Google Now, and translates that information on to the wearable’s screen. Check out the preview below:

The combination of this actionable and relevant information in an easy-to-read and beautiful user interface and the classic hardware is really pulling me away from the idea of an Apple-branded iWatch boasting high-tec body sensors for telling me how unfit and unhealthy I am.

And looking at Motorola’s recent history of smartphones, it may come as something of a surprise that the company’s releasing something so refined and minimal. This is about as far from the DROID RAZR’s horrible angular frames as you can get. But cast your minds back to 2008 and the Motorola Aura. That remains one of the most beautiful and intricately designed phones ever made. It was made almost entirely of expertly crafted metal, and swiveled using a mechanism designed to mimic classic watches. And then there was the gorgeous circular display. Too bad it cost so much, otherwise more would have certainly purchased one.

Motorola Aura via GSMArena

Motorola Aura via GSMArena

The reality is, we don’t know what Apple has up its sleeve (pardon the pun). For all we know, Jony Ive could be hard at work crafting an incredible piece of beauty, hewn from a single piece of unicorn horn and with a colored display powered by actual rainbows, and running entirely on happy thoughts. Or, Apple might not be planning to release anything.

From what we’ve heard so far about the device, what it might feature, I’m more intrigued by Motorola’s Moto 360. Unless Jony’s working on a design inspired by classic Tissot timepieces, then I might change my mind.

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  • Abhijeet Mishra

    “….battery draining multi-window multitasking.” just to point out, multi-window at least offers you the option to drain battery life yourself by using it (and it’s a great feature for phablets), it’s the background processes that drain Android of its battery life. :/

    Coming back to topic, the Moto 360 does look amazing, though hopefully the final product will actually match the concepts in some way, haha.

    • Cam Bunton

      That it does, and my negative slant regarding multi-window multi-tasking was strictly in the context of a smartwatch. On a screen that small, with a battery that small, it’d be stupid.

  • http://kevozworld.tumblr.com/ kevozworld

    This looks kind of awesome!

    • Adam Oram

      Agreed.

  • roopull

    Again… this is why I, a non-Apple-phanboi, follow TiP. It’s not just about loving the iPhone, it’s about loving gadgets in general. Well written & put together, Cam.

    I have been poo-pooing the whole smartwatch thing until now. They just look dorky. In the history of watches, a square or rectangle watch was a watch for nerds, geeks and socially awkward people more comfortable with calculus than people. Round watches were for people more interested in style than functionality (broad generalizations there, of course.)

    This thing, however, looks to bridge the gap. It looks gorgeous, looks like a watch, yet does what you’d actually want a smartwatch to do. I can’t imagine there are enough fitness geeks out there looking for yet another activity tracking device to make this part of the industry worth the all the effort.

    Still, I won’t be buying one. I’m too much of a clutz. I’d scratch that thing beyond recognition in a month! LOL!