Apple’s rumored iWatch doesn’t impress Nick Hayek, the CEO of Swatch. Answering questions at a press conference in Grenchen, Switzerland, Hayek told reporters he is a skeptic.
“Personally, I don’t believe it’s the next revolution. Replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist is difficult. You can’t have an immense display.”
If an Apple designed watch really is in the works, it is supposed to complement iPhone, not replace it. We’ve already seen a demand for smart watches that deliver data at a glance from smarter phones through a wireless connection.
Really, this is about whether or not Apple is designing a more compatible smart watch, not if Apple is making a watch with a built-in phone. However, if anyone knows about the difficulty of making a phone watch, it should be Nick Hayek.
In 1998, Nick’s father showed off the Swatch Talk at the CeBIT Technology Fair in Germany. Phone calls were made with the twist of a colorful dial on the watch face. According to the New York Times, Swatch didn’t release Swatch Talk because the prototype was too large and awkward. Before Swatch Talk, the company released a product called Swatch The Beep with a built-in pager (video below).
Hayek is also skeptical about how interested consumers would be in buying an iWatch. He told the press conference that people buy watches as fashion accessories, and they like to change them frequently.
If Apple’s square, watch-like iPod Nano was any indication, Apple designers understand that more than Hayek would like to believe. That Nano was design so it could be attached to any number of fashionable watch-bands.
The Swatch CEO told reporters Swatch and Apple have been in talks for years about technology for powering electronic devices:
“Swatch has had contact with Apple over many years about materials for products and so-called energy harvesting technology that would generate energy from physical movement”
Hayak isn’t the first CEO to dismiss Apple’s entry into a new market. Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, laughed at iPhone because “it doesn’t have a keyboard and would not appeal to business customers.”
Whether or not Apple really is building a smart watch, Hayek confirmed that Swatch Group is working on watches that incorporate interactive features connected via Bluetooth.