Ex-Apple designer explains why it’s just a matter of time for the iWatch

According to one of the original interface designers at Apple(s AAPL) the question of his former company creating an iWatch is “when” not “if.” In a long and detailed post on his personal blog this week, interface designer Bruce Tognazzini laid out his case for it. He’s no longer with Apple, but as an early employee he seems to have a good sense of how Apple designers think, and he sees numerous possibilities for such a device and how it might work with Apple’s current products.

“The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem,” he wrote on his Ask Tog blog. “It will facilitate and coordinate not only the activities of all the other computers and devices we use, but a wide array of devices to come. Like other breakthrough Apple products, its value will be underestimated at launch, then grow to have a profound impact on our lives and Apple’s fortunes.”

There are already smart watches out there for early adopters. But Apple always goes for the mainstream. The case Tognazzini makes is that for all the apparent drawbacks to getting regular people to wear and use a smart watch, Apple already holds the answers. For example:

  • No one wants to recharge a watch: Apple has a patent on a wireless recharging method.
  • Clunkiness can be solved with another patented method Apple has for curved glass displays.
  • And thanks to Siri, there’s no need for excess buttons to scroll through menus on a small screen.

He also has some very interesting ideas regarding how Apple could use its own iWatch: as a way to remove the need for passwords when using other Apple devices, like a Mac or an iPhone; to make mobile payments possible with an NFC chip-equipped iWatch; to improve its maps with altitude and pressure information sensed on the watch; and as a method of crowdsourcing more accurate weather information.

That’s just a taste; there’s much more and you should read his whole post. As Tognazzini points out, he doesn’t have any insider information and has no idea when Apple could be ready with such a device. But his perspective is smart and while many others are waiting with bated breath for a new television to show Apple’s still got some innovation up its sleeve, Tognazzini’s thought very far ahead of how Apple could make the smartwatch one of its most revolutionary devices yet.