Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee
I don't think this is that far fetched. A lot of watch companies buy their "movements" (the actual internal workings of the watch) from other suppliers and then put the movement into their own case/band.
The iWatch could be nothing more than a movement that Apple makes available which has the processor, circuitry and display (perhaps a couple basic sizes) that watch companies then put into their own custom case/band.
I simply don't think a standard one-size-fits-all iWatch would take off. There's a reason why there are literally thousands of watch styles - people like to have choice. Your watch reflects your style as much as it's used to tell time.
Having an Apple movement would mean that the functionality of every iWatch would be consistent and under Apple control while still allowing watch makers the freedom to continue making a wide variety of styles.
I agree, though I'd take it further: Several things have made me doubt the existence of an "iWatch" at all. The size of the display (too small), the life of the battery (too short) and the style choices (too few) for an expensive item in a style-led market. Will people give up the fashion/lifestyle/wealth statement that these pricey baubles apparently represent? Then there's the added-value over the iPhone that's just a small pull-out-of-pocket away; I can't see who's going to buy it beyond the narrow techno community. But if you consider it as most likely a set of sensors and a very sub-functional (compared to the iPhone's touchscreen) set of controls/alerts...
So suppose it's not a complete iWatch at all, as you said. Suppose it's more like CarPlay, where GM, or Ford, or BMW make the 'carrier' to an appropriate price/style etc point and Apple adds the smarts? The watch, and its bracelet, can include biometric sensors plus basic iPhone controls including a vibrate or similar alert (maybe Siri too though I'm not sure about the Dick Tracey talk-to-the-wrist bit personally); these all use Bluetooth LE occasionally so don't make big demands on the battery. But what if it has no display either (*shock*), the battery life issues mostly disappear, the watch part has traditional physical hands and/or a low power monochrome LCD allowing all the current style choices. So Apple's contribution looks like a high functionality, heavily integrated power-sipping SoC - which they're getting good at. The loss is those functions that are worth doing on a tiny display rather than making the effort of getting your phone out. Are there really lots of those?
This interpretation has the ability to sell to most of the (expensive) watch-buying community, solves the market access and breadth of choice issues and puts Apple in the position of dominating the first-generation of smart wrists.