Wrist Wars

The promise and pitfalls of the new smart watches

  • Share
  • Read Later

For months, there have been rumors that Apple is hard at work on some sort of smart watch. If true, it's not done yet. Although the company introduced two new phones during its Sept. 10 product launch--the souped-up iPhone 5s and the plastic iPhone 5c--it didn't say a word about newfangled timepieces.

Meanwhile, competitors like Samsung and Sony--both of which debuted smart watches this summer--are eager to establish dominance in what some say is the next frontier in digital gadgetry. Wearable electronics are expected to be a $10 billion industry by 2016, according to Gartner, a research firm.

But although these watches are evolving rapidly (see right), they're not all that smart yet. They're satellites for smartphones as opposed to stand-alone devices, using Bluetooth connections to let you place calls, get alerts and more without removing the handset from your pocket. And they're bulky, with user interfaces that still need refinement. Your move, Apple.