A Bloomberg article has detailed that the Apple iWatch is targeted for an end of year launch. The full iOS on the iWatch has already caused trouble in the battery life department for the team, as prototypes are falling short of the goal to put 4-5 days between charges. TechCrunch, in their breakdown of the situation, notes that there are plenty of benefits to staying with a uniform iOS, including an instantly familiar system for users and more options for third party developers. But, by the same token, it could also present another software fragmentation — this time, instead of a co-opt of the Nano, the iOS would be a full, different experience on a much smaller platform.
It’s worth noting that Apple originally launched the iPhone’s operating system as being the same as OS X, a somewhat confusing move that they eventually went back on when they began referring to it as iPhone OS, and later iOS. The company could be taking a similar approach to the iWatch at launch, with an OS for the wrist-top computer that ends up diverging considerably from the version on the company’s phones and tablets, once modifications are built-in to account for its different features.
If the reports are accurate, Apple is making the right move in pushing for better battery life. The value of a watch-based computer depends largely on its ability to operate inconspicuously: the reason wearable computing is attractive to begin with is that it promises to be less conspicuous, and easier to integrate into your everyday life than smartphones or tablets. An iWatch that needs to hit the charger every day loses a lot of that value.
The Verge also says that Apple has work to do in terms of building in the proper pathways for transmitting information and notifications between an iPhone and an iWatch. That could prove the single-biggest source of information regarding the device and its development going forward; you can bet devs and Apple watchers will be going through iOS developer builds with a fine-toothed comb for evidence of any changes on that front.