First, we don’t even know if that’s the name.  It was coined by a tech writer and it has stuck.  What else would they call it?  We don’t have “official” official confirmation from Apple that a computer watch if on the way, but it’s easy to connect the dots.  First, Apple has applied for and received numerous patents on wearable technology, and second, Bloomberg News reported that 100 Apple employees are assigned the task of developing the watch.  So it’s coming; no doubt.

And when the LA Times does a story on the topic (March 17, 2013, Business section, Chris O’Brien) the cat is out of the bag, so to speak.

Why do we care so much?  A number of reasons.  First, wearable technology is cool, second it’s Apple, so we expect great things, and third, because Apple needs this.  Their stock took a real beating in 2012 as their position as the technology leader was threatened by Samsung and Google among others.

Watches will be unique devices when compared to phones and iPads for example.  Yes, those products were designed to look cool, but watches are truly fashion.  The new product must be something someone would want to wear, as well as deliver technology that someone wants to use.

There are two big challenges for Apple up front.  Capabilities and battery life.  Will the watch be a standalone product or will it be an accessory for an iPhone?  I can tell you right now that if it’s an accessory, it’s impact will be minimal and it will not enhance Apple’s standing.  But if it’s a product that you just gotta have, it could be a monster hit for them.  Especially if it’s got great designs (I think there have to be numerous designs – including designers, say Kenneth Cole, Raymond Weil, Cartier, etc)- because this is fashion too.

The second big challenge is battery life.  It’s a watch and I want it to stay on; so don’t make me power down all the time to save battery power.  I want to be able to see what time it is, all the time.  I don’t want to have to turn it on and off.

Apple’s stock has dropped almost $400 a share in the last 15 months.  They may not admit it, but they need another home run.  They will certainly survive another double, but their reputation of a “must-have” company will be damaged further.