By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Rumours swirling in the Applesphere point to a surprising new product from Cupertino that will reside on your wrist and integrate alerts and some functionality from your iPhone and iPad and synch with iCloud. Could Apple be seriously considering the wearable technology segment and what does it have to bring to the table?
Reports have it that Apple is working on a smart watch with a curved glass display (allegedly Corning's bendable Willow Glass). The rumours, coming no less from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal say that such a product has been in development since 2011.
"Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass, according to 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. Such a watch would operate Apple’s iOS platform, two people said, and stand apart from competitors based on the company’s understanding of how such glass can curve around the human body," says Nick Bilton of the New York Times.
The Wall Street Journal's report says just as much:
Apple is experimenting with designs for a watch-like device that would perform some functions of a smartphone, according to people briefed on the effort.
The company has discussed such a device with its major manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., one of these people said, as part of explorations of potentially large product categories beyond the smartphone and tablet.
A number of Apple watchers, including myself, were surprised when Apple replaced the design of the iPod Nano from the wearable square touchscreen (which spawned an industry of third party straps to make the music player look like a watch) to a more rectangular shape. Some figured Apple made this move to focus on a real smart watch. Not just a limited Bluetooth remote control, but with deep App integration and superior specs to what the current line of smartwatches are offering. Here's what I think.
The iPod is a fading product line and Apple needs another exciting product category. Say what you want about the iPod, it is still one of the most innovative products out there and at the rate that Apple has been shrinking their devices, a watch with the storage capacity and functionality of an iPod would be easy for Apple to make.
But, Apple being Apple, wouldn't just create a wrist-worn iPod watch. It is likely going to be a product that has its own ecosystem of apps, developer API's and unique features to extend the functionality that's likely missing from the iPhone (like NFC or the ability to beam documents and files back and forth).
At the very least an iWatch that serves as an extension of Siri (using the iPhone or iPad as the main computer) would be interesting.
There's also a huge potential for wearable computers for monitoring health and fitness. The apps are already there for the iPhone and iPod Touch and can certainly be tweaked for a smaller screen, specially one that is flexible. If Apple just finds the right ingredients of features, pricing and ease of use that made the iPod so ubiquitous. Just like how the iPad redefined MP3 players and how the iPhone reinvented the smartphone, an iWatch could seriously spark a lot of interest. Various kickstarter projects have at least proven that the world is ready for such a product.
Source: The Cult of Mac