While the Pebble Smart Watch seems almost ready for sale, with millions of eager buyers, its’ reign may be short-lived. Industry analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says Apple is likely to jump into the “wearable tech” market with an Apple branded smart watch in the next year or so.
The Pebble was the big “crowd sourcing” hit of 2012, earning more than $10 million in funding/advance orders through Kickstarter. Pebble recently won design approval by the Federal Communications Commission. Its’maker is taking advance orders at $150.
The concept here is a watch that connects to a nearby iPhone or Android smartphone using Bluetooth, to alert you with a silent vibration to incoming calls, emails and messages. The Pebble’s display can also show the messages from Android devices, though not from iProducts – a shortcoming Apple would surely fix in its’ variant. Pebble will be loadable with special apps, some linked to the phone’s GPS, to help navigate your bike trip, track exercise or gauge the distance to the golfing green. Of course, the appearance of the watch face and its “audibles” will be infinitely customizable. Might also be able to change the channels on a Bluetooth-enabled TV.
Smart watches have been around for a while. Casio was first in the game, Sony Ericcson introduced one just a year ago that works strictly with Android mobile devices. The big drawback to date – and one the Pebble won’t really fix – is that these things are kinda clunky, not all that attractive unless you have a big wrist and like the “rugged oversized” watch look. That’s one area where Apple and its’ parts partners (Intel is reportedly involved) could eat the competitors' lunch, just as the company did with the iPad. Not the first tablet computer on the market, but the first slim, light and intuitive pad that people were panting to use.