By now you've all seen that Apple plans to release a series of wristwatches next year which will be like an even smaller iPhone with a 2-inch screen. Even as the Apple announcement event was happening, people were Tweeting things like, "When will Citrix release a Receiver for Apple Watch. lol."
But now that the announcement fairy dust has settled, we realize it's not actually that crazy of an idea.
Seven or eight years ago, (before the iPhone), the idea of a serious Citrix client for mobile devices was pretty far fetched. Sure, there was that one company who made a third-party ICA client for BlackBerry, but that was more of an "emergency server rebooting tool for BlackBerry" than an full-featured Citrix client that normal users were supposed to use.
But if you fast forward to 2014, you see there's actually quite a few ways that VDI and remote Windows desktops and apps could interact with a wrist-based form factor:
- If you look at app transformation, you can imagine taking Windows desktop applications and aggregating data and remoting certain buttons and fields to a wrist-based form factor.
- Wrist-based remoting clients could capture and send location, motion, and accelerometer data up to the remote Windows hosts, and remote Windows hosts can display the right information on the wrist.
- We all laughed at the ability for mobile devices to be used for "real" work in 2007, but now in 2014 we've found all sorts of legitimate uses. So why wouldn't we expect that to happen on the wrist?
A few years from now, I can't imagine someone accessing a full remote desktop via a 2-inch screen. But in terms of taking notifications, actions, and alerts from legacy Windows desktop applications running in remote Windows environments and sending them to the wrist, why wouldn't we expect that Citrix and VMware will deliver that to us, via some type of extensions to HDX or PCoIP?
Five years from now, we'll all expect that our watch does more than tell time, and we'll expect that we can display whatever data and notifications we want on our wrist. The enterprise IT geeks of the world will be tasked with taking data from Windows desktop applications and refactoring those for the wrist. If HDX or PCoIP can take legacy data and apps can redisplay them for tablets or phones, then they can do it for the wrist.
I'd actually be surprised if it didn't happen.