Recently both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal outed Apple’s experimentation and testing of a new smartwatch with a curved glass design. Can this confirm that the company is going all in to produce an iWatch for the mass public? Here’s top 10 facts you need to know.
1. Apple Started Experimenting With Wearable Computing With The iPod Nano
In 2010, Apple revealed the sixth generation iPod Nano, which demonstrated a very unique design compared to its predecessors. The touch screen device was designed in the form of a square, which was a perfect fit for someone’s wrist. Third-party manufacturers began producing wrist straps for iPod Nanos and consumers flocked to actually purchase a wearable iPod.
The following year, Apple noticed the popularity of wearing iPod Nanos as wristwatches, and actually made electronic watch faces for the device. Consumers had the choice of interesting watch faces, including a Mickey Mouse and Kermit design.
To the public’s surprise, Apple discontinued the square design of the iPod Nano for its seventh generation and most current model. The newest generation iPod Nano moves away from the square design to a more rectangular, taller design with a multitouch display. Many people were speculating whether or not Apple had completely dismissed the idea of wearable technology, or was simply making room for a brand new product.
2. Pebble Piqued The Public’s Interest With Smartwatches
In April 2011, Pebble stirred an internet phenomenon by crowdfunding for their idea of a e-ink smartwatch that would easily integrate with iPhone and Android devices. The idea was so popular that Pebble raised over $10 million during its Kickstarter campaign. In late January 2013, Pebble began shipping the first batches of e-ink smartwatches. Initial reviews were mostly favorable, but stated some limitations. Can Apple help grow the public’s interest in smartwatches with a new iWatch line?
3. Apple Has Been Hiring Experts In Wearable Computing
In a recent tech editorial from the New York Times, wearable computing analyst Sarah Rotman Epps stated that “Apple’s certainly made a lot of hiring in that area,” and that “Apple is already in the wearable space through its ecosystem partners that make accessories that connect to the iPhone.
4. The Watch Is Designed To Use Curved Glass
According to both the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Apple has been experimenting with a curved glass device for their smartwatch. Perhaps triggered by Corning’s announcement of Willow Glass, a new flexible glass used for electronic displays, Apple will be designing its wearable devices to naturally curve around the wrist. In an article by the New York Times, two anonymous sources from Apple stated that the company will differentiate its wearable device from competitors such as Pebble by taking advantage of their understanding of how glass can curve around the human body.
5. The Watch Will Be Powered By iOS
It only makes sense that this new wearable device by Apple will be powered by iOS in order to best integrate with other i-devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPad mini. Unlike the wearable iPod Nano, this new smartwatch will provide a smooth integration with the most popular Apple services. We can mostly expect seamless integration with iCloud as well.
6. An Apple Watch Will Fill A Gap In Apple’s Ecosystem
Last week, Apple alum Bruce Tognazzini posted on his blog an article titled “The Apple iWatch.” Mr. Tognazzini was best known as Apple’s first applications software engineer, and an innovator. In it, he mentions that “The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem.” A new wearable device can present killer apps such as removing a password requirement, easily finding your iPhone and alerting you that you left your phone behind if you’re out of range.
7. The Watch Will Communicate With iPhones Using Bluetooth Low Energy
The wearable device will most likely use Bluetooth Low Energy, which uses a fraction of the battery power compared to traditional Bluetooth devices. It may also make use of Bluetooth’s Message Access Profile, first introduced in iOS 6. Bluetooth MAP allow outside devices to communicate with iPhone’s text message system.
8. The Business Purpose Of Apple Developing A Smartwatch Is To Sell More iPhones
A New York Times article published two years ago suggested the main purpose of producing wearable devices such as Google’s Project Glass and the new iWatch would be to sell more iPhones. This would only make sense since a wearable device would hook consumers deeper into the Apple ecosystem.
9. Apple May Use Siri For Easy Watch Navigation And Controls
There have been many speculations about navigation within the iWatch interface. One of the Pebble’s critical feedback includes a clumsy way to navigate through all of the functionalities and features of the device. By integrating Siri, the user of the watch can easily access key functions and features simply by dictating. No more searching or browsing around would be required.
10. Apple May Not Release The Smartwatch At All
The New York Times article that broke the news about Apple’s new watch used the word “experimenting” rather than “developing.” Its been known that Apple designs and prototypes products all of the time, with many of those products never seeing the light of day. It’s been years since we heard the first rumors of the infamous Apple Television, but we have yet to have a glimpse of this disruptive product.