What real detectives think about the Dick Tracy inspired Apple watch

By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger

“Facebook messenger coming [to] Apple watch. Txt audio, share location. A different take on Dick Tracy,” tweeted The Huffington Post, Senior Tech & Society editor, Alex Howard. He was sharing his impressions of Tim Cooke’s September 10th Apple Event presentation and the reference to the fictitious detective caught our attention. Could Apple’s latest smart device, with its integration of Facebook, text audio and location also be relevant to real life detective work? We began by tracing the fictitious two-way crime fighting wrist radio’s origin:

The Dick Tracy comic premiered October 4, 1931, according to the Dick Tracy museum. It first ran in the Detroit Mirror, then the New York Daily News and then the Chicago Tribune. Creator, Chester Gould, ran the strip until his retirement in 1977.

According to Smithsonian Magazine writer, Erin Blakemore, Dick Tracy was being referenced in tech commercials since shortly after its comic book debut.
It wasn’t until1946, however, the comic detective’s creator, Chester Gould, introduced Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio. To introduce the watch, Gould initially broke the comic strip’s forth wall and entered the his own comic strip to hand the two way wrist radio over to his protagonist to get him out of a jam. The nonplussed editors at Chicago Tribune, however vetoed the Brechtian frames and that strip never ran. According to Michael Daly’s Daily Beast article, “How Dick Tracy Invented the Apple Watch.”

It was replaced by a strip where a young inventor named Brilliant (based on the real life inventor, Al Gross) handed the watch over to Tracy. Brilliant eventually got killed off but the wildly popular watch stuck around and in the early 1960s it captured the imagination of the five-year-old Tim Cook.

Fast forward to March of 2015. A world news clip shows Apple’s exuberant CEO saying, — More—

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