The iWatch. No-one knows much. It’s an Apple product rumoured to be in development, made of curved glass designed to fit around the wrist.
It sounds cool in a Napoleon Dynamite sort of way; chic and geek in equal measure. Central to chatter on the subject is the pervasive question of whether it will actually be made; Apple’s continued silence on the issue of the iWatch has driven various tech-bloggers giddy with the sweet smell of conspiracy.
What's more interesting is its direct link to Science Fiction. Watch out, it gets a bit nerdy from here on out. The device will apparently name and describe objects at which it is pointed. This is a tricorder, not a timepiece.
You could look at the iWatch as part of a slow trickle of technology conceived at the final frontiers of space-y genre lit. Similar examples abound. Another supposed Apple product in the pipeline – the iGlasses – purports to record what you see, edit out the bad stuff, and replay it, see Minority Report and the Matrix for more details. There’s even a nifty working prototype of a hover-car flying about out there.
The fields of fantasy-technology and real-technology seem destined for cross-pollination. This piece takes the position that Science actually uses sci-fi to test out ideas, as a kind of virtual lab. Simpler is the notion that a few kids watch Star Wars and grow up into product developers with a burning desire to make a robot-hand that actually feels things.
Its interesting to think of sci-fi as ‘the manual of the possible’. That the genre has a kind of mapping function – sketching the contours of the land, the limits of what we can think up – which then challenges us fill in the gaps with actual stuff. It’s cool and it lends credibility to a big swathe of nerd culture that is too-easily overlooked.
(Thoughts courtesy of Planning Placement newbie James.)