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Apple Watch 2 to be launched this year end, could replace iPhone

With a cellular radio and a paired Bluetooth headset, the iWatch can work quite well as a cell phone – as long as your conversations are brief – given the small battery
iWatch

According to Apple Insider reports earlier this month quoting tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple plans to launch a second-generation Apple Watch later this year with GPS and barometer. Kuo mentioned that he expects LTE support to arrive in a 2017 revision of the Apple Watch.

Then the question arises that, if the iWatch go like this way, would it be an adequate replacement for iPhone?

It depends on your definition of “phone”.

The iPhone was a Trojan horse for so many uses outside conventional voice calls that many of us use it in that mode quite rarely. Texting, Snapchatting, Slacking, tweeting, Facebook messaging have all impinged upon voice calls, for lots of reasons, including no longer having to finding a quiet place, coordinating a time, or worrying about being overheard or disruptive.

Using the Apple Watch to place voice calls through its tiny mic and speaker is doable today, although a bit awkward.

With a cellular radio and a paired Bluetooth headset, it can work quite well – as long as your conversations are brief – given the small battery. (I regularly work with emerging wireless tech including cellular radios small enough to embed in wearables.)

So yeah, it could work as a “phone” in a limited fashion.

By linking to a bluetooth  headset the Apple Watch would be a fine phone. You can use Siri to pull up phone numbers to easily dial. The screen is fine to see who an inbound call is from.

You would be able to use your activity trackers and other apps requiring a GPS like the golfing app I use which would be a positive.

But…

The difficulties of the iWatch to attain a superlative position would be

  1. Power – The Apple Watch has a 205 mAh battery, which is about 1/12 – 1/15 the capacity of a typical modern smartphone.  The long range and/or high bandwidth RF subsystems of wireless devices (usually GPS, cellular, and Wi-Fi) account for a substantial portion of the device’s total power draw if they are receiving and transmitting a lot, and even more so if they have to remain connected (or connect frequently) between transmissions.  Since many users have lots of use cases that require this, they would be looking at unacceptably low battery life, even with some clever engineering to optimize it.  Also, the small form factor will limit antenna size and placement options, so signal to noise ratio and absolute signal strength are both going to suffer.
  2. Interface – the screen is too small for standalone use for most of the killer apps smartphones offer: text-based messaging (including mobile email), maps and location finding, web browsing, mobile gaming or video (which would also kill your battery in a hurry). Indeed, the fact that you’d have to light the screen so much more to use all these apps is likely to be an even bigger battery hog than the RF systems. Limited by the small screen, and without any input options other than touch and voice, the user experience would completely suck, though at least it would be short since your battery would die.

 

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