Rainy day in March

One Tuesday in March I was finishing up a meeting with a client just outside of Adelaide. It was pouring and what would usually be a 20 minute walk back to my office in the city turned into 30 minutes in the rain with a promise broken. I had booked a ride with a local taxi company using their own iOS App, something I have done a couple of times previously. Their app isn't the best to look at, heavily draped in iOS 6 gradients and with a 3.5" fixed screen size but it worked so it didn't bother me too much.

I booked ahead and I told the app where I was on the map - the exact address - and created the booking knowing it would take a few minutes for a taxi to be assigned. About 10 minutes later a driver was assigned and was on their way. I could see they were not far away and what their taxi number was. Once they were down the street I left the premises and stood out in the rain. Here's where it all goes wrong. The assigned taxi went past with a fare onboard, not even a glance from the driver. "Thats ok, probably dropping them off around the corner" I said to myself thinking the driver was just being efficient and knowing they could pick me up after their current fare.

10 or so minutes went by with the map showing the driver getting further and further away. At this point I was suspecting that something was a miss. I called the company but predictably because of the weather the line was busy, on hold for what felt like an eternity with the predictable hold music and reassuring messages before I gave up. I check the app to see what is up with the booking and where the driver was. "No Pickup". My taxi had ditched me.

One of my clients noticed I was still outside and offered to drive me back into the city. 

During the ride I call the company with the determination to find out what went wrong — not out of anger but rather curiosity. The operator was apologetic but really couldn't tell me anything more than what I could see. Just that my driver had indicated "No Pickup" and that was it. Would I like another reservation?

A complete failure of customer service and experience. A failure by the driver cancelling my reservation and a failure to provide a service in need.


This was not indicative of the incumbent taxi industry as a whole but it is not a unique tale. With new competition in town its can be seen as a canary in the coal mine that is just about to fall off its perch.

Whats interesting is that instead of understanding the shift in fares from traditional taxi's to services like Uber the industry is crying foul trying to put the new kids in the regulation penalty box. They don't understand that most of the reason customers are switching to Uber et al. isn't because of price or if the driver has been labeled 'not a serial killer' by some bureaucracy. It's because taxis suck.

Customers don't want to put up with beat up Commodores and Falcons with broken suspension, soiled seats and off putting odours whilst sitting in an advertisers billboard. For the longest time its been what we have had with nothing else out there to challenge its status quo.


Today we have Uber, Sidecar, Lyft and others radiating from the US, reaching our shores, and starting to challenge the local guys. With over a years worth of warning the local industry has done little to posture themselves as a proper competitor to these new businesses. Nothing more than puffing up their chests with references to regulations and rules.

They have missed a big opportunity to stay in the game and have a chance at competing with the new services directly. Here's some of the simple concepts that they have missed from whats happened in the US:

  • Customers are choosing quality over cost
  • Customers want to be in control at all stages
  • Customers demand better experiences from the services they use
  • Customers don't care about 'regulations' over getting better options of the above

This has little to do with the drivers. Most people have a story about a chatty 'cabbie' making a mundane trip interesting, entertaining. Cabbies should be outraged that they are being let down by their companies and their upper echelons failing to innovate with new competitors.


The opportunity has been lost on the industry and businesses that are most capable of adapting. Heres a quick overview of what it could look like to keep some skin in the game:

  1. Splinter off some drivers into a new "premium" group (similar to existing "Silver Service" cars). No jalopy cars.
  2. Set them up with a new brand, arms length from the existing.
  3. Build a great customer interface and experience team. Innovative apps, no legacy bullshit.
  4. No car advertising (third-party or own).
  5. Fulfil earlier points: Allow customers control, access to quality and better experiences.
  6. Stop bitching about Uber and actually compete, fight fire with fire.

Wishful thinking.

It will take more than just a pretty app to want to prefer a taxi over an Uber. Its deep down changes that will most likely never happen. However, thats an unsubstantiated view from the outside. I don't know the people running these companies to know if there is determination to start building a better experience. But it's been almost 2 years since Uber hit Australia and there is little to nothing to show by these companies to indicate anything different.

WWDC 2014

This year, in lieu of a golden ticket to San Francisco, I had the opportunity to organise a meetup in Adelaide to watch the Keynote live at 2:30am. Not expecting more than a handful of people to turn up at 2am on a weekday morning, I was surprised to have 12 other Apple enthusiasts in town rock up. So with some comfortable chairs set up, enough sugar and Red Bull to keep us awake for at least 24 hours straight we watched the live stream over the Apple TV.

Watching the Keynote at Hub Adelaide at an hour only for the somewhat diehard

Watching the Keynote at Hub Adelaide at an hour only for the somewhat diehard

With little preamble of sales and "customer sat" charts it was clear that they had a lot to get through. Two hours almost wasn't enough to present all of the new features and tools revealed in this Keynote.

OS X continues to show that its maturing at a steady pace and, in my opinion, with just the right amount of progress to be new but not jarring — avoiding Windows 8 like shock. This year has brought some key features that have connected OS X and iOS deeper than what has been thought of.

What was the most interesting feature in my mind was apart of a set of "Continuity" features. Handoff utilises proximity to begin to contextualise the physical relationships between a persons devices. This allows one to begin drafting an email on a portable device and by proximity awareness continue editing the draft on OS X through a convenience shortcut. This is in no doubt because of frameworks and technologies like Multipeer Connectivity, AirDrop and Bluetooth Smart — have yet to dig into it.

As the presentation of Handoff continued I couldn't help but think that it sounded a little bit familiar. In late 2012 I put together a post about my thoughts on a simple annoyance that happened daily. The idea that via Bluetooth Smart, or other means, the devices I use can understand their context and relationship between themselves and me. The annoyance was centred around Push Notification alerts arriving on all devices (iPhone, iPad, MacBook) and all wanting my attention.

What Apple has done with Handoff was something even more ambitious than just silencing multiple notification alerts. Coming from an understanding that once one know the proximity relationship between devices they can work together to better serve their users needs and means of getting something done. But this could only be the beginning for proximity based enhancements between these two platforms.

Another feature that sparked my interest was the arrival of a Touch ID interface. As expected, not the means to directly work with the biometric device but rather to request its usage to verify the user. Internally known as the Local Authorisation framework; it provides a very modest feature set which primarily only allows the request of a prompt to touch authenticate to proceed with an action.

This will mean that applications using sensitive information, including mobile banking apps, can move to a Touch ID authorisation method rather than a pin code if the biometric device is available. This is something that I have been looking forward to seeing how it would be implemented, guessing it could be integrated to the Keychain. This implementation is simpler and more flexible for the application to interface with. Plus, it doesn't mean they had to drag the Keychain API from its C API purgatory into a modern interface.

Another new interesting core feature for iOS 8 is App Extensions. This allows iOS to embed third-party content and interactivity across core areas of iOS like Notification Centre and even the keyboard. What has been long said as a far-off but inevitable feature for iOS has now materialised. What we see here is just the beginning. It will be interesting to see where and how the developer community takes this new ability.

HealthKit, HomeKit and CloudKit hit near the end of the Keynote and by their brief preview looks like they have massive potential. HomeKit can potentially solve the problems with currently fragmented home automation appliances. HealthKit can really help improve peoples lives — not the 'improves peoples lives by providing asynchronous, cloud based, aggregated compression algorithms for enterprise and consumers' malarkey but something really, actually beneficial. CloudKit sounded like an awesome solution to get developers off and running with an application by taking care of the backend. Yet to be seen how and where this can be used and how things like migration off of CloudKit or restrictions will play out.

With all of the other new features and API's available to developers it is clear that this is a company that is focussing on the future, a realistic future, and beginning to optimise and improve the relationship between portable devices and traditional computing. All of the frameworks and features that have been rattling around in iOS and Mac OS are beginning to bear fruit. An interesting way to help theorise about what Apple will do next is look at the vast array of useful technologies, frameworks they have at their fingertips today waiting for another need to fulfil.


I'd like to thank the people that attended the meetup on Tuesday. I never thought that more than a handful, at best, would even be remotely interested or willing to head in to the city at 2am. And, sincerely, to Red Bull for getting in touch out of the blue to offer some refreshments to get us through the night. Thank you.

Misfit Shine. The campaign and my first 2 weeks

It's no secret that I am a big fan of the Bluetooth Smart technology and new peripherals. When I am in the local Apple Store I always find myself looking at the shelf with the Panasonic Hue lights, fitness trackers and iGrill thermometers. We are heading into an era where everything can talk, even lightbulbs.

When I came across the Misfit Shine project I couldn't resist and backed it almost immediately. At the time, it wasn't Bluetooth powered. That didn't matter. The project pitch was professional, motivated and Misfit sounded passionate.

Now that the Shine has shipped I thought I'd share the story behind the Misfit Shine as seen by a backer and now a 2 week Shine user. 

The Campaign

Back in November, 2012, I found myself introduced to a new, slick looking project on IndieGoGo. Misfit Wearables had a very well executed project idea and the presentation quality to back that up. What first struck me was how much the prototypes looked like something that fell out of Jony Ive's R&D Wonderland. Polished edges, brushed aluminium and laser-drilled LED light indicators. With a design that was not typical of the average fitness trackers at the time — like the Fitbit One — it did away with plastic and went for sexy aluminium.

I was sold, and so were many others. By the time the campaign ended they had raised $846,675. Over 8x the $100,000 they asked for.

One aspect about the project that interested me straight away was that they had chosen to sync with a novel, yet-to-be-described method that was not Bluetooth or WiFi. They demonstrated the device sitting on the screen of an iPhone and syncing with no traditional wireless technology at the helm. At the time there were many theories from capacitive touch "morse code" from the Shine and including an idea of using high-pitched sound received by the devices microphone.

Over the months the Misfit team delivered regular and informative updates to the backers. This included photos of the manufacturing process, one of which was how they chose the perfect shade of grey for the Shine, to video's demoing how the Shine was going to interface with their owners. This level of interaction and detailed updates to backers is key to a successful campaign.

After funding the hardware did change slightly. The face of the Shine went from 16 LED's to 12 so that it could function as a watch and the LED's changed from red to white. Iterations of which make the Shine a much better and useful product.

Not surprising for new hardware start-ups, and in general for crowd-funded campaigns, the shipment time slipped. Cited to a lengthened hardware development, testing and component procurement time along with some diverse public holidays spanning over Misfits many international locations. It's fascinating to see, over time, how new hardware start-ups get to manufacturing with all the troubles that it brings. Slowly these issues are getting easier and faster to overcome.

On top of the shipment delay from June to mid-July the project had also announced that they wouldn't have Android support at launch. Android support was pegged at "early next year".

To answer the burning question of when we’re going to support Android, I can only say “early next year.” There are a lot of different devices and screen sizes to support on Android and we want to get the user experience right. Although Shine can work on its own out of the box, the experience is obviously not the same without connectivity.
— http://blog.misfitwearables.com/?p=183

With that was offered a 100% refund if desired or a $25 Misfit credit after the Shine was shipped. Another great sign of a business that is putting customers first.

One of the last updates before the Shine was shipped was that they changed the syncing method from what was used in the campaign introduction. A post on the Misfit Wearables blog, titled: "SPOILER ALERT: HOW THE SHINE DATA TRANSFER WORKS", answered the question that was asked often about the Shine, its syncing. The original technology was indeed cool. They were prototyping high frequency audio data transfer coupled with the touch sensitivity on the mobile device. But, alas, it would appear the technology was too cutting edge and didn't offer the end-user quality they expected.

The Shine prototype we showed on our Indiegogo campaign used a proprietary two-way ultrasonic technology we developed that worked in combination with the microphone, speaker, capacitive touch screen, and other sensors on the iPhone to inaudibly sync data without using Bluetooth or wifi. We assumed that either of the latter approaches (BLE/wifi) would’ve been problematic since the Shine is a solid metal shell which acts as a Faraday cage to block most RF signals. While this ultrasonic approach worked, it was pretty slow and we realized that in the long run Shine would be a much better product if we had a faster, more reliable communication method that could enable over-the-air firmware upgrades while still be able to penetrate the metal shell. We experimented with a number of different approaches and ended up finding one that involved BLE that would actually work with the metal shell.
— http://blog.misfitwearables.com/?p=233

In comes my favourite technology, Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE). Whilst the idea that the Shine donned in its aluminium shell would inhibit RF turned out not to the Faraday cage as was feared. With iOS having rather solid support for BLE and Android not too far away it would be a great fit for the Shine to meet its end-user quality expectations and functionality.

Then in early July the Shine started shipment. 7,500 orders to 64 countries. By early August the Shines started arriving in backers mailboxes including mine.

Unboxing

Arriving in a large padded FedEx sleeve was the comparatively small Shine box.

A nice "Thank You" card for being a backer, the Shine box and Sports Band. In the box was the Shine, a "Battery Tool", two CR2032 batteries and a magnetic clasp attachment. The instructions inside show how to install one of the batteries to give the Shine some life — 4 months worth per battery.

After the quick installation of the battery it was time to install the Shine app get get set up. 

The box itself feels a little cheap. It didn't fold together correctly and would appear to be built rather quickly but in this case all it had to do was keep the Shine safe until delivery. It did that job well.

The introductory process of having to install the battery should make sure the end users understand this process which also includes an extra battery with the Shine as a great bonus.

First Impressions

To properly test the Shine I had to get off my arse, away from the desk. I ventured outside and took the Shine for a short walk with my Fitbit One to see how they compared. 

After a 30 minute walk down to the local park I compared the step count of the Shine to the One. Both clipped to my jeans coin pocket. 

With only 12 steps difference it was clear that they both were as accurate as each other — allowing for test environment inaccuracies. 

However, the Shine app doesn't focus on steps but rather activity as 'points'. Not a strict or defined term but it works well in many situations when steps aren't relevant. When swimming or cycling the Shine will use its own methods of determining how vigorous those activities are and for how long. Starting a specific activity is done by the user triple tapping the Shine, confirmed by an LED animation. Once the activity is over then triple tap to stop tracking. The mobile application then knows how to categorise the activity by a preset under the 'My Shine' screen.

Like other fitness wearables, the Shine keeps an eye on sleeping quality. At this time it doesn't show detailed information, like the Fitbit, where it shows awakenings during sleep. However, all the data is there awaiting a simple app and firmware update to deliver that feature. When trying the sleep tracking it felt a bit odd having the Shine on my wrist at night since I am used to wearing a watch during the day and felt like I had left my watch on. But thats just a small initial mind hurdle that I got over almost immediately. Sleep is tracked like an activity, triple tap before dozing off and again when out of bed.

The following week

Over the next few days I continued to test the Shine in different situations. I found that the cycling activity component works better when the Shine is around my ankle. Not surprisingly, the Shine needs to detect the motion of my legs rather than arms to judge how active my cycling is.

All of this activity was to build up to a weekly goal. In the setup process I had a choice of selecting what activity goal level I would like. Not being very active I chose the first and smallest goal of 600 'points' a day. I managed to hit that on some days but I just came short at the end of the week of reaching the weekly goal.

The user interfaces for days and weeks feel lacking initially. Coming from using the Fitbit it felt like I was missing all of the data I was used to. Over time I became used to the separation from arbitrary terms like steps and started to focus on what really matters, being active.

Syncing doesn't require the Shine is placed on the screen. Because its Bluetooth it can be anywhere, it just has to be in range. Tap the circle on the sync page and it will start doing its thing.

I did use the Shine as a watch since it took the place of my wrist watch — I do miss having a 'proper' watch on. It looks like wrists are going to be a prime piece of real estate that will get a bit crowded soon. I'll probably be up to my elbows soon.

Thoughts

The Shine

It's gorgeous. The aesthetic and quality are at the level of a company like Apple, not something produced from a crowdsourced campaign. It feels and looks refined with a lot of thought going into every aspect of its appearance and operation. The story of the Shine reflects that with several hardware alterations made before shipping, even pushing out the shipment date.

The tap interface with the Shine is good but not great. I do have issues at times with having to repeat taps because it did not recognise a pattern. It takes a bit of trial and error to know what the Shine needs to properly detect a tap.

One of its great features is that it is water resistant. The Shine is guaranteed up to 5 atmospheres, with the possibility of an un-guaranteed 10 atmospheres. Meaning, it can be left on when in the shower or going for a swim — never needing to take it off. Compared to the Fitbit One this is a very important difference. My biggest problem with using the Fitbit One was that I forgot it often or had to take it off. So far the Shine has been on me 24/7 since I got it.

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The LED ring display uses one of the techniques used in aluminium Apple devices. The LED's shine through laser-drilled holes of an inconceivable size rendering them invisible to the naked eye but allow the LED's to shine through.

Its light. Weighing in at 9 grams, with the battery in. When wearing it with the sports band one could easily forget it was there.

Sports Band

The sports band itself is nice with some added bling. The 'pin' that holds the band in the desired size is made from the same aluminium as the Shine and has the same treatment, a nice darker grey with a shiny, polished edge.

It holds onto the Shine well being a stretchy material that clasps onto the Shine by its indented edge. There is little chance that the Shine will pop out even with the most vigorous of activity.

Clasp

The Shine also comes with a magnetic clasp. Made from the same stretchy material it can clip on anywhere and when that magnet connects with the Shine it isn't going to go anywhere. Either clipped to the coin pocket on a pair of jeans or on clothing it won't budge.

I preferred to use the Sports band but I did start off using the clip and it worked very well taking the spot where I normally attached my One.

iOS Application

The first step in the application after installation is setting up an account. For me I conveniently used my Facebook account provided by the iOS Account manager. From there is just needs height, weight and gender.

What struck me straight away with the applications primary interface is how much it looks like iOS 7. Either by design or fluke it is definitely ready for whats coming in September.

It is a nice simple interface that almost feels lacking to begin with. The daily goal is shown as a dial which more often than not shows a rather lacking level of daily activity — for me at least. The dials lack of appreciation for my daily activity is a motivator that over the two weeks has me walking down to the park and getting back on the bike.

But this application is no Fitbit or detailed account of every aspect of daily existence. It is a step away from raw data and away from being over obsessed about steps, calories and the like. Wether or not that obfuscation works for most people will have to be seen.

The settings area is basic but quite adequate. It allows one to define what activity they are partaking when triple tapping the Shine. However, that can become a bit impractical as daily I track sleeping but will also need to track cycling. So is the flow then to change it and sync or is it all handled by the iOS application? So far I have not found out.

The applications main focus is to get the user to reach the daily goal. Its main view does that.

Tap Interface

Double tap the face of the Shine to see the daily goal progress and, if chosen in the settings, also see the current time. Triple tap the Shine to start and then again to stop an activity.

A very nice and simple interaction. However, it takes some getting used to. As mentioned earlier, its not going to get it right all the time and I have often had to repeat a tapping gesture to get the Shine to respond. I have confidence that over time the engineers will figure this out and its just one simple firmware update away.

Overall

It is a very, very polished product considering it was crowd funded. The level of fit and finish is at a level that is set by companies like Apple. There is no denying that the Shine takes some of its attributes from Apple's industrial design style. But more than just the material aspects; the product also achieves something more, making its human attachment more active.

Double tapping the Shine to see the daily goal becomes a motivation to do something more to hit the goal for the day. On may occasions I have altered my day's plans over the past couple of weeks to be able to meet the goal. I have run up and down the stairs at home to get that last slice in the activity pie before midnight to achieve the goal. Wether or not that's just temporary or a phase I am going though, I am not sure and time will be the ultimate judge.

It differentiates itself by not focussing on the raw data. By offering a simplified daily points goal it is inclusive of a lot of different activities without focussing on the typical "steps" metric that some activities don't involve. Some activity trackers focus too closely on steps and make entering other activities, like cycling, a chore. I never ended up adding cycling activities to my One which meant that activity was unrecorded.

 

I generally see products in a couple of categories. Oportuisitic products are ones that take advantage of the fashion of the time and give the consumer what they think they want. One could look at Fitbit and see that it gives consumers all the bells and whistles to track almost every aspect of their fitness and lives. It offers some deeper analysis but in the end the product is just giving the consumer raw data and having them deal with it.

Then there are refined products. Refined products don't initially offer all the bells and whistles and from the outside can actually offer something left-of-field from what the consumer thinks they want. No in-depth data for nerds to calculate. Offer something simpler and more meaningful. It comes from thought, refinement and iteration that goes into making a product to achieve something more. To give a product purpose and a goal. This is what I see in the Shine. Something more than just generating data that then the consumer has to interpret. The little device gives the user a goal to aspire to, something that doesn't need to be calculated or thought about.

 

It has affected my overall fitness. Since I am currently freelancing from a home office its quite easy to spend a full day behind a desk. With that comes the shame of a daily goal that is less than half complete. So I started walking down to the park, when I can, and getting on the bike. Things that only take 30 minutes out of the day but slowly and surely will become routine and, hopefully, I can then start to raise that daily goal.

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An accidental article talking about Bluetooth & the iWatch

Listening to the latest episode of the Accidental Tech Podcast today the topic of Apple's speculated "iWatch™" featured when talking about a recent Apple hire. One thing that was mentioned is that it is not clear how this would "work" with an iOS device stating that 'Bluetooth probably has something to do with it'. Bluetooth certainly has something to do with it and theres some interesting hints to go along with that.

Over the past 6 months I have been playing and experimenting with Apple's Core Bluetooth framework. It utilises the new Low Energy Bluetooth medium to be able to talk to external peripherals. This is already used in products by FitBit, Nike, BlueHR and many others which are primarily focussed around health & fitness monitoring.

However, Low Energy Bluetooth can do so much more than that and over the past couple of iOS releases has been hinting at the possibilities that Apple may be exploring in the future.

So here is what I have been thinking about over the past few months with all of the iWatch™ speculation. First, just an overview of what I'm talking about then into the finer details and hints over the past few years.

 

 

What is Low Energy Bluetooth capable of?

Here is Bluetooth's key features for its low energy technology:

  • Ultra-low peak, average and idle mode power consumption
  • Ability to run for years on standard, coin-cell batteries
  • Low cost
  • Multi-vendor interoperability
  • Enhanced range

Its a rather simple concept. Low Energy Bluetooth is designed to be basic in what it can deliver but in turn gain so much in energy efficiency. Primarily designed to send small, structured data and not stream large blobs.

As an example, a device as big as a 50¢ coin could be placed on a shelf and periodically advertise the current ambient room temperature for over a year, on one CR2032 battery. Requiring no "pairing", just scan for temperature sensors and the current temperature can be read automatically by another device.

With that said; it is capable of more than a couple of bytes of data. It is feasible and within its capability to transfer data that represents a contact card or a very small file - requiring some chunking to get it over in manageable pieces.

A lot of the technical detail has been glossed over but that hopefully should give a rough idea of how it is different to Classic Bluetooth and other technologies.

 

Hints over time

October 2011

The beginning of this story starts with the release of the iPhone 4S which shipped as the first mass-produced consumer Bluetooth Smart (4.0) device. At the time there was no Core Bluetooth framework. Moreover, this was not a hint as to Apple's ideas on making a wrist device however it did outline Apple's direction in adopting Bluetooth and its low energy capabilities.

Then in iOS 5 the Core Bluetooth API was revealed allowing developers access to talk to external peripherals in a simple and managed manner without worrying about energy consumption or getting MFi approval. However, the framework was quite basic, with no documentation and had its faults. It did not do much more than allow an application to talk to another device and didn't expose any system notifications.

April 2012

An interesting side story is that during Pebble's Kickstarter campaign there was no way that they could have gotten the notification information they needed for the watch with current API's. At that time they were looking like they would have to join the MFi programme which requires extra technology, Apple's blessing and get access to some very private APIs. Maybe they had inside info that what they needed, MAP support, was not far in the pipeline or just timed it perfectly.

September 2012

iOS 6 added much needed documentation and the MAP support that Pebble needed. This kick started the accessibility of Bluetooth on iOS and peripherals began to pop up. Early adopting fitness and health fanatics started exploring early peripherals focussed on tracking their fitness and sharing it with all of us on Twitter.

June 2013

We arrive at the recent release of the iOS 7 beta which more than ever cements Apple's choice for Bluetooth over technologies like NFC. But it revealed the much needed services for a wrist bound product:

  • Alert Notification Service
  • Apple Notification Service Centre
  • Current Time Service

These new services are available on all iOS 7 devices, with Bluetooth 4.0 (not the iPhone 4), by default and are managed by the OS.

 

 

The new iOS 7 services in detail

Going into individual detail about these services points out what each one achieves and how it can help build a wrist bound device.

Timekeeping

An absolutely obvious requirement for a wrist device is the Current Time Service which allows a "dumb" or Internet-challenged device the ability to sync their clocks with a connected service without themselves being directly connected to the Internet or timekeeping service. No need to manually set the time or even adjust it for DST changes or travel either, your primary timekeeping and connected device will do that for you.

Notifications

Apple chose to create their own notification service as they found the standardised Alert Notification Service lacking in capability and extensibility with iOS' wide spectrum of alert types and information. Although ANS has values "reserved for future use" it is too basic and generic to be able to handle Push Notifications for specific applications and display rich data.

If the idea of a wrist mounted device is to reduce the need to look at a larger format device in a pocket then having accommodating notifications with rich data displayed is key.

The Message Access Profile (MAP) available on Classic Bluetooth doesn't have the low energy benefits that are necessary for a device with limited volume for batteries.

 

 

What does it all mean? 

A smart wrist device needs a couple of things to live up to our basic expectations: timekeeping and notifications.

Both of these basic features are there in iOS 7 ready to be utilised. But its not just Apple that can use these services, any future wrist device made by any company can access these services. Not only is this a starting block for Apple but its a call to anyone that wants to make something to get started.

Even if we don't get the magical, revolutionary and stunning iWatch™ that has been speculated it won't be long before someone else makes it for us.

That's what I love about Low Energy Bluetooth, the GATT profile and its availability in iOS. It no longer requires the co-operation with Apple to be able to talk to third party peripherals and its all done with a technology that is open for any other device to use as well. 


Connect the world.