The Apple iWatch is rumoured to be in some form of production right now – we round up the news and speculation on its specs, features and potential release date
Apple is rumoured to be developing a wrist watch of some description, which would most likely synch up with an iPhone or iPad to give you updates on you’re wrist, allow you to control other devices and pull data from the cloud.
Supposedly a team of ‘about 100 product designers’ are working on the iWatch – including managers, marketers and software and hardware engineers who previously worked on the iPhone and iPad. That’s according to two people ‘familiar with the company’s plans’, which puts them in a remarkably small category.
According to the two in the know, the project is ‘beyond experimentation phase in its development.’
A further two informers claiming to be au fait with Apple’s various super-plans say it is experimenting with a ‘wristwatch-like device made of curved glass’, operating on iOS. The NYT notes Corning has developed bendable glass last year called Willow Glass which could be used to wrap around something wrist, and cites Forrester’s claim that “Apple’s certainly made a lot of hiring in that area”.
There are also claims Apple is in discussions with Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, which makes a large number of iPhone and iPad parts, about producing an iWatch. Foxconn are apparently working to make more power-efficient displays and stripping down chips, aimed at multiple Foxconn customers. This Wall Street Journal report also claims Apple has hired employees with backgrounds in sensors and related tecehnologies.
There is some reason to belive the Apple iWatch might not be just around the corner, however. There are suggestions it could be three years off - Corning says that’s at least as long as it will take companies to start rolling out flexible displays, which the iWatch is supposed to feature.
(Credit: U.S. PTO/Apple)
Corning produces Willow glass, which companies could use to create flexible or curved displays. But according to Bloomberg, president of the firm James Clappin said in an interview: “People are not accustomed to glass you roll up. The ability of people to take it and use it to make a product is limited.”
Cornign has made the glass and is making “a lot of effort” to teach “very big name” customers how to use it – but the firm estimates we’re at least three years off before anyone will produce proper consumer electronics with them. Could one of those big names be Apple? There's no way to be sure, but certainly it doesn't seem too far fetched.
There are reams of speculation on precisely what tech the device would have under the hood, which at this point may seem like a rumour bridge too far – but certainly one thing that would seem obvious is some form of better battery performance, since you wouldn’t want to take a watch off and charge it twice a day like can be required for a smartphone. On this point, some have highlighted a patent Apple owns for wireless charging.
While early possibilities led us to believe an iWatch would be effectively an iPod Nano on a strap, the latest developments are much more intriguing. According to a patent application unearthed by AppleInsider, Cupertino has been investigating the possibility of a wraparound design similar to the slap bracelets of the early 1990s.According to the patent, the iWatch could be made of a flexible screen that wraps entirely around the user's wrist and utilises solar power and kinetic energy to keep the battery topped up.