One of the hottest new wearable gadgets is the smart watch, a small computerized wristwatch with the ability to connect, via bluetooth, to a smartphone. While previous iterations of the smart watch were very basic devices that offered, aside from regular timekeeping functions, a few basic games, a calculator or language translation software, todays smart watches often include cameras, touch screen GPS navigation and access to a connected smartphone’s functions, including social media and email notifications. At the moment there are two companies vying to be the premier smart watch manufacturer.
The first, Pebble Technology, began gathering funds via crowd-funding giant Kickstarter in April 2012, and after raising over $10 million in initial funding, plans to release the Pebble Watch in 2013 to those who contributed to the project. The Pebble watch features a 1.26-inch backlit LCD screen, and is able to communicate with either an iOS or Android device via a Bluetooth 2.1 connection (at this time Bluetooth 4.0 support is missing from the device).Â The Pebble ships with a handful of apps pre-installed, including GPS and a rangefinder app for golfers that includes information about more than 25,000 golf courses. More apps, of course, will be downloadable.
Not to be outdone, Apple Inc. has jumped into the fray with the announcement of the iWatch, a device eerily similar to the Pebble. In fact, if rumor is to be believed, Pebble Technology originally offered the idea to Apple not once, but twice. Both times, apparently, Apple rejected the pitch. Ironically enough, Apple soon announced the iWatch, a similar wristwatch that will, of course, run on Apple’s own iOS software and will undoubtedly require iTunes to function properly, as is the case with most Apple devices.
Pebble vs. iWatch
Unfortunately little is currently known about Apple’s proposed smart watch, but considering the large number of features packed into devices like the iPod Touch and iPhone, we can expect the iWatch to be the same. Apple is, however, remaining silent on the device, although many have begun to speculate.
Some of the most common speculations is that the iWatch will include popular iPhone features like Siri and iMessage. It is also rumored that Apple Maps will make an appearance, although after Apple’s previous map fiasco, we shouldn’t hold our breath. Whatever Apple decides to do with the iWatch, though, we can assume that it will be a great device worthy of the Apple brand.
In terms of pricing, the Pebble promises a great set of features at a very affordable cost: $150. Again, Apple has not released any information about possible pricing, features or launch dates, but if their previous devices are any indication, we can expect the iWatch price to start at $199 for the basic model.
Whether Apple will win the battle of the smart watches against newcomer Pebble Technology is unknown at this point, but lines are being clearly drawn in the sand, with over 68,000 people having already thrown in with them, either by pre-ordering the device or contributing to the initial Kickstarter fundraising project. Apple fans, on the other hand, are numerous, so the battle between the two manufacturers is likely to be both intense and long-lasting.