Apple has an uncanny knack of introducing a technology to the mainstream, from the iPod to the iPad. It is rarely the first on the scene, but a potent combination of marketing, aesthetics and customer loyalty culminate in a product going from niche to necessary.
You can understand, then, why the world is waiting to see an Apple interpretation of the smartwatch, a wearable gadget that puts the power of a smartphone on your wrist. A spot of Apple design flair and the popularity of iOS could really put wearable tech on the map.
Of the estimated two million smartwatch sales in 2013, the Samsung Galaxy Gear stood tall above the superior Pebble Steel and Sony SmartWatch. Consumer hunger is, therefore, present. But what would the Apple iWatch need to succeed?
Let’s take a look at the features we’d love to see feature in the inevitable iWatch.
Compliment all Apple devices
The iWatch could be a central player in the Apple team. Control your Sonos system from your wrist? Some sort of gaming peripheral for the latest mobile games? Alert your Mac to your presence so it loads up your email without touching the keyboard? The possibilities are endless when it comes to a device you always have on your wrist and we hope Apple takes the potential a step further than the current competition.
It makes sense to use GPS and accelerometer technologies for the benefit of health. Existing smartwatches already offer the ability to track how far you ran and how many calories you burned. An Apple smartwatch would need to do the same, connecting with an iPhone or the various health apps on the market including its own HealthKit so you can leave your bulky phone at home. Rumours suggest 10 different sensors in the iWatch will help it achieve this task.
Run Apple apps
Smartwatches have proven they can run watered down versions of smartphone apps. Navigation and fitness are the most obvious examples, but a wrist-based translator (visual or aural) or Dictaphone would lend themselves to the convenience of a watch.
Watches take a bit of a beating. You sometimes wear them into the sea or when showering. It would, therefore, be great to have a smartwatch that can survive more than a typical digital device. Something you wear and forget until you need it â that is where Apple could really differentiate the iWatch.
Look damn stylish
Patents filed by Apple suggest the iWatch will could feature a curved display, pointing towards a digital screen sized somewhere between 1.5 and 1.8-inches that fits snugly around your wrist like a fitness wristband. Apple needs to appeal to the iPhone and iPad-loving masses who may have an iMac at home. An elegant, classy and comfortable design with Apple's trademark white would really hit home. An overly geeky Casio watch wannabe, not so much.
Navigation on your wrist
The one annoying thing about navigation with a phone is the need to hold it in front of you like a compass. With a smartwatch you can casually glance at your wrist, with a handy arrow pointing in the direction you need to be heading. The use of, say, Garmin's navigation app will ensure you don't end up the sea. We're looking at you, Apple Maps.
Pay for stuff
Near-field communication (Not For Consumers, as it is mockingly called) lets you pay for a McDonalds or top up your oyster with just a swipe of your phone. Even though it is yet to catch on, the convenience of tapping your iWatch to pay for shopping, catch a bus or collect your Nectar points would be extremely convenient.
Act as a hands-free device for the car
The Pebble Steel already plays nice with a car, using a variety of different vibration patterns to alert you to a particular notification. It would be incredibly handy for the iWatch to do the same, while doubling up as a microphone so you can ditch the separate hands-free kit. A combination of the Siri voice assistant and the iWatch could make life safer at the wheel if you do need to send a quick text.
Use the vibration of your wrist to recharge
Smartwatches require batteries to run. Conventional watches can make use of vibration, sunlight and self-winding to run and run and run. Apple, being the design-focussed company it is, could bring in some of the classic elements of a real watch and combine it with digital. Less time spent plugging a device in is fine by us, especially when fossil fuels are running out.
Make your life more efficient
One area where wearable tech is lagging is making your life better. Gadgets about your person know your habits, location, social connections and even your preferred restaurant. What if the iWatch could analyse your day and try to improve it? It could suggest a new route to work, a cheaper alternative to your favourite coffee shop or simply free up more time to do what you want.
For more iWatch fun, check out our Apple iWatch: Price, rumours, release date and leaks round-up