Possible Future of the Connected Watch

On Tuesday of this week, Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3 with the ability to connect to the LTE data network, allowing the watch to stay connected to the Internet without an accompanying iPhone. This greatly enhances its functionality and removes its original handicap and its requirement to always be tethered to the phone. You can now get notifications and listen to the plethora of songs on Apple Music while on the go without your phone. The future is here.

Ever since the Apple Watch was released in the spring of 2015, it has been thought of as a companion device to the phone. However, I always thought it should be the other way around. The phone and tablet should be the companion devices to the watch!

The watch should be the only device that has the mobile networking radios and should operate in an always on manner, while sharing a personal hotspot via its WiFi radios. The phone and tablets can then function as displays with WiFi connectivity to your watch. This will also simplify your cellular data plans. I just see this as a more convenient setup, and hopefully a cheaper way to go with your mobile carrier.

As memory capacity increases with the watch, personal identity, application data, and other confidential information can be stored on the watch akin to the secure enclave on the iPhone today. This way display centric devices slaved to the watch can restore your last working state from the watch. Imagine a world where display slates are near commodity devices sans your personal information. You can be working with a shared slate in the office. All the while, your data is being centralized and stored securely on the watch. When you travel offsite at the airport or in the hotel, you pickup another shared slate, and you continue to work where you left off.

It is also more difficult to lose your watch than your phone. When you do misplace your phone and cannot find it, then just pickup another, because your personal data is stored on your watch.

Power consumption is probably going to be a major challenge for the watch in this scenario. But if the power challenge can be solved, then imagine having only WiFi display slates of any size of your choosing, and your watch has the only mobile data radio you will need. Instead of the phone being your most personalized information device, it will be your watch. I hope Apple has this vision in mind. Do you believe this to be a better future?

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