Baseless speculation: The new iPod Nano will be a wristwatch for the iPhone 5

apple iwatch ipod nano iphone 5 announcement september 12 Full Coverage From Apple's 9/12 iPhone 5 Launch Event

Update: Apple has unveiled the new iPod Nano. Check out the details of the redesigned iPod Nano and iPod Touch

The new iPhone will have a bigger screen. It will be faster. It will have a new, smaller dock connector.

We know all of this already, and it all sucks. Nothing about any of those changes even approaches the type of revolutionary change we have all come to expect from Apple, and if that’s really all there is, Apple should be ashamed. But I don’t think that’s the case.

True Apple fans still have their fingers crossed for that magical “one more thing,” and after a dream-like revelation yesterday morning, I’m convinced I know what it will be: The new iPod Nano will act like a wristwatch that interacts with the iPhone 5.

The world on your wrist

The new Nano will serve as an auxiliary screen, communicating wirelessly with your phone to bring the most important updates from your phone right to your wrist: texts, emails, push notifications from Facebook that your best friend has a new profile picture. Whatever you want.

More importantly, you’ll be able to interact with your phone without ever taking it out of your pocket by using Siri. Ask your watch what the weather is and it will seamlessly relay the request to the iPhone 5, which digs up the forecast and displays it on your wrist two seconds later. Ask for directions to the bank and it will not only show you a map, you’ll be able to swipe through the turn-by-turn directions as you make them, right on the watch. Ask about your stocks and you’ll have the full day’s trading on a graph, along with the closing price. With a tiny camera and enough bandwidth between watch and phone, you could even FaceTime on your watch.

Besides these intriguing possibilities right out of the box, the things that third-party developers could do with this tech make the mind reel. With a couple internal accelerometers, it could easily replace sleep monitors, step counters (the last-gen Nano already went there), and even the Nike FuelBand.

Yes, we’ve already seen similar devices like the Meta Watch and Pebble. Sony even dabbled in something similar with its SmartWatch and Motorola with the Motoactv. But as Apple has shown time and time again, originality isn’t key, it’s doing it right. And the new iPod Nano will do it right.

iphone 5 watch ipod nano apple announcementDozens of Kickstarter projects have already turned the existing Nano into a watch, so the wearability of something this size has been established. I would, however, expect Apple to spruce the new Nano up with a slimmer design, and maybe even curve it a bit for the sake of comfort. Screen size will remain the same, though it will sport a high-res Retina display to make the most of the tiny space. Of course, since it’s an Apple product interacting with another Apple product, the Nano will sync up painlessly right out of the box using Bluetooth.

Most likely, Apple will continue to sell the Nano as a standalone MP3 player, with a wristband accessory that makes it more of a complement to the iPhone 5. This interchangeable aspect gives users a fun chance to customize their gear, and also opens up a nice new opportunity for third-party manufacturers. I anticipate factories in Taiwan spooling up to pump up bling-encrusted wristbands by the time I’m done writing this sentence.

Why now?

Apple could have made the iPod an auxiliary screen for the iPhone a long time ago, but it didn’t make sense until the birth of Siri. Interacting with your smartphone using a touchscreen a fraction of the size would have been awful, but speaking into your watch to request a quick bite of info on the go is totally practical. Last year Apple opened the door, this year it walks through it.

Launching the iPhone 4S first gave Apple a chance to find the flaws in Siri, since it was more a sideshow than an essential part of the phone’s functionality; people who chafed at Siri’s rough edges could abandon it without feeling burned by their iPhone 4S purchase. That luxury doesn’t exist with a wristwatch that uses it as the primary input, so the iPhone 4S gave Apple a convenient test bed. Now, a year later, Apple is ready to deploy a refined Siri on its next big platform: the wristwatch. Next year, the TV?

Why this will never come true

I can already hear skeptics grumbling and scrolling to the comments section, so let me acknowledge a couple holes here.

First, wearing a giant silver slab on your wrist and talking to it is just plain dorky. It seems to grind against the grain of the effortlessly cool image Apple has spent the last decade honing. While talking to Siri on an iPhone only seems a shade less awkward, we’re just not sure if the world is ready to embrace wearable gadgets on such a massive scale.

ipod nano watch on wrist iphone 5 announcement Second, battery life may present a technical barrier for a small device expected to do so much. Sure, the existing Nano provides 24 hours of music playback, but that type of usage excludes two major battery sinks: lighting up a screen and communicating wirelessly. An iPod Nano used as a companion to the iPhone 5 would have to do both of these things all the time. Even if it could muster the juice to pull this off, you can definitely forget about the screen staying constantly lit to tell the time at a glance. Watches like the Pebble use a low-power E-Ink screen to skirt this problem, but you would need to press a button on the iPod Nano to see the time.

Why this is absolutely true

I have absolutely no basis for this speculation except for one single damning fact: It makes too much sense for Apple to pass up.

Seamless integration with a Nano wristwatch gives Apple the “magical” element that its fans live for. It pushes the iPhone miles away from a crowd of Android competitors, and suddenly makes it look unique and class-leading again. The technical barriers aren’t insurmountable – the Nano merely acts as a dumb “screen” for the iPhone 5, so it doesn’t really need to be any more powerful, it just needs wireless abilities.

More telling than any of these reasons, it allows Apple to sell more hardware. The market for MP3 players have been crumbling since the adoption of the smartphone, because one essentially replaces the other. Linking the iPod Nano to the iPhone 5 not only breathes new life into the MP3 player, it compels consumers to buy both devices. If that’s not an Apple move, and a brilliant one, I don’t know what is.

The latest rumors that Apple plans on announcing a new iPod Shuffle and Nano at tomorrow’s event only adds more credence to this theory.

We’ll see in one more day whether Apple really has concocted something magical for the iPhone 5, or whether we’re destined for another year of “meh.” I’m betting on, and hoping for, the former.

[Photo credits: ADR Studios]


You forgot all about these 5 phones of 2018. Prepare to forget them again

The best phones of the year are memorable, exciting, and ones we all want to buy. But what about the others? We're not talking about bad phones, we're talking about forgettable phones -- ones that aren't even bad enough to be remembered.

Save up to $750 with the best smartphone deals for December 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $750.

The $200 TicWatch C2 smartwatch is now being sold in the U.S. and U.K.

Digital well-being and disconnecting from your phone is one of 2018's big trends. Mobvoi wants you to think about its TicWatch C2 smartwatch as a great way to help you use your phone less.

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

Microsoft Outlook for iOS gets big redesign, with Dark Mode coming soon

Microsoft has deployed a huge redesign for its Outlook for iOS app, which includes new blue branding and some quality-of-life improvements. Dark Mode isn't included, but it's coming soon.

The best iPad deals for December 2018

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.

Apple Music may sign up more exclusive artists with purchase of Platoon

Apple purchased London-based Platoon, which is a startup that helps independent musicians get discovered by major labels. The acquisition may help Apple Music sign up more exclusive artists.

The best Apple Watch deals for December 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

The best iPhone deals for December 2018

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for December 2018.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 now available on the Apple Store

The Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 is now available on the Apple Store for $150. The sensor strip, which is only 2 millimeters thin, automatically tracks a wide array of sleep data when placed under the user's sheets.

5 reasons your Macbook keeps restarting and how to fix the issue

It can be frustrating when your Apple MacBook keeps restarting, but this serious problem can be fixed! We'll go over the common causes for this issue, what you can do to fix them, and why it's okay to take your Mac to a pro!

Pick up a pair of Apple AirPods alternatives for less than $50

Apple AirPods are some of the most sought-after wireless earbuds, but they certainly aren't cheap. Luckily, Walmart and Amazon both have some great Apple AirPod alternatives for sale, and you can still get them before Christmas.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.