Apple to Make an 'iWatch': Reports
An Apple iPod Nano, strapped into a watch. Several newspapers are now reporting that the company wants to make a 'smart watch' that links to owners' iPhones.
CREDIT: Aaron Muszalski on Flickr
Many iPhone owners find themselves carrying the phone so often, it may as well be strapped on their wrists. Soon it may be: Apple is working on a smart watch, according to a several reports.
Apple won't confirm the reports, but they come from a few likely sources. One is Bruce Tognazzini, a computer interface expert who was one of Apple's first employees but doesn't work there anymore. The New York Times' Bits blog, which published another "Apple watch" report, cited "people familiar with the company's explorations, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they are not allowed to publicly discuss unreleased products."
If Apple does release a smart watch, it could help popularize small, wearable smart devices. It won't be the first smart watch, however (See the end of this post for alternatives, if you're too antsy to wait for a possible Apple watch). Nor are smart watches the only wearable devices on the horizon. Google has publicly announced it is working on glasses that have the same functions that smartphones now do.
- Siri, Apple's voice-recognition assistant
- The ability to unlock its owner's iPhone when it's nearby
- A "Find my phone" app that makes the owner's phone ring and light up
- A music player
- A wireless charger
- A curved glass screen that follows the shape of the wrist
Except for the curved glass, all of those technologies already exist in some form in commercially sold devices. The challenge for Apple will be to put them in a device that's small and light enough for a wristwatch and that has the battery life that people will find convenient.
In addition, Apple already has the technology for a curved glass display. Corning, which makes the glass for iPhone screens, announced last year that it's made a thin, flexible glass for touchscreens.
Not everyone thinks an iWatch is really coming. The Guardian talked with a technology analyst, Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis, who doesn't think Apple would want to develop a smart watch. "It seems like exactly the sort of dilution of focus that Apple have always tried to avoid," he told the Guardian. "It would also be expensive – $100 or more, surely – when the main strategic imperative is to expand price points and distribution."
For those who like sure bets, there several smart watches are already available. TechNewsDaily sister site Laptopmag.com has reviews for the Cookoo, I'm Watch, Martian and Sony SmartWatch. There's also the Pebble smart watch that's so far only available to those who backed the project on Kickstarter.