The tech world largely seems to have made its mind up that Apple will release its own smartwatch sometime in 2014. Personally, I'm skeptical. After witnessing the face-plant the Samsung Galaxy Gear performed, I'm not sure Apple would even be confident in testing the waters with an iWatch. But assuming that such a device is indeed in the works, let's take a look at what Apple should have learned from Samsung's less-than-spectacular smartwatch debut.
Find my device
One of the simplest features of the Gear is actually one that I'd use most often on an iWatch. Having my watch ding my phone so I can find it buried behind a couch cushion or forgotten in a coat pocket would be pretty slick, and the ability to use your phone to likewise find your smartwatch is an equally useful feature. You may not misplace your phone as often as I do, but for those of us with chronic lost-phone syndrome, it would be a lifesaver.
Gross. Ew. What? The camera is the most head-scratching feature of the Galaxy Gear, mainly because of how poorly it's implemented. A lens embedded in the actual watch band is just about the worst idea in the short history of smartwatches. On top of that, I've not once seen a photo from a Gear that looked even half as good as they do in Samsung's TV ads (shocker), and I doubt I ever will.
If Apple did decide to include a camera -- which I don't think they would to begin with -- you can bet your house that, at the very least, it wouldn't be built into the part of the watch that is highly likely to be resting face-down on a desk or other damaging surface.
The Gear can answer your phone, by which I mean it can stop it from ringing -- which is something Pebble can technically already do, too -- but you can actually take phone calls with it, too, which is pretty convenient if you really don't feel like taking your phone out of your pocket or bag. It's the ultimate first-world problem, but if you're going to make a wearable that works hand in hand with your smartphone, it better be able to take calls.
The unswappable watchband
Had Samsung not gone all-in with the camera, the Gear would probably have interchangeable watchbands. Unfortunately, by building the pricey lens right into the band itself, you won't be swapping it out anytime soon. Apple isn't exactly known for making customizable devices -- removable pieces aren't usually part of the company's design doctrine -- but allowing for different iWatch bands is simply a no-brainer. If I'm going to drop US$200 or more on a watch, I better be able to change the damn bands.
S Voice / Siri
This one is a gimme: Siri is a perfect fit for the iWatch just like S Voice is for the Galaxy Gear. Quick reminders, schedule changes, text message replies and general information queries are just the type of tiny tasks I'd like a smartwatch to take care of, and Siri would make that all possible. I'm still not convinced that smartwatches are even capable of making our lives better, but this would be a fine start.
Compatibility with only two devices at launch