Amid the rumors of an Apple watch, speculation is running rampant about what the device will do. Quite frankly, rather than specifically focusing in on how the device will function, I am more interested in how the watch might change the M2M market and the way we interpret and interact with data.

Ever since Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010, the way consumers and businesses interact with content hasn’t been the same. Simply put, the devices have caused us to use more apps to gather data rather than being tethered to a computer or laptop at home or at work.

Now, let’s look at the smartwatch market, which is evolving very rapidly. What exactly is a smartwatch? Some products are designed simply to sync information between a watch and a smartphone, while other connected watches are targeted to fitness, allowing you to track physical activity and gather analytics about your workout.

Sony’s SmartWatch is an example of the former, enabling you to read text messages, emails, and status updates from the watch. An example of a fitness watch is MOTOACTV from Motorola, which tracks key metrics and data about physical activity such as running, cycling, and more. The latter category is set to grow in the coming year, according to ABI Research. The analyst suggests regardless of the Apple rumors, the GPS fitness watch market will reach $1.07 billion in 2013.

The caveat is the line between the different types of devices is beginning to blur. For example, with Sony’s watch you can download apps to track fitness data. MOTOACTV also has new features that allow you to do more with the device than just monitor exercise data.

The way I see it the smartwatch is being redefined today. Enter Apple. While the talk about the watch is still simply rumors, Apple’s potential entrance into the space could help to shape the watch market. A senior analyst at ABI suggests if an Apple watch does come to fruition this year and features integrated GPS, it would boost shipment forecasts in 2013.

For the time being, much of the discussion about Apple’s watch is merely speculation. (If I were to muse, I would imagine chances are good the watch will be able to do many of the same functions your iPhone or iPad can do.) Functionality aside, the real interesting trend to watch will be how the market will shake out if Apple enters the smartwatch game.

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