Samsung, Sony and Pebble are already making waves in the smartwatch space, and soon enough it could be Apple’s turn to release the iWatch. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that the wearable space is an “area of profound interest” for Apple, adding that a device needs to be “so incredible you want to wear it” to guarantee success. With Apple hiring key players from Nike and Yves Saint Laurent, the company certainly seems on the path to releasing a wearable device that fuses fashion with high-tech functionality. From features and design to a possible release date, here’s a comprehensive guide to all of the juiciest iWatch rumors.
Apple may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of flexible displays, but there’s a chance we’ll see this technology appear in the purported iWatch. Korean media outlet Chosun Ilbo reports that Apple is testing bendable displays in three different sizes for its wearable device.
Citing unnamed industry sources, the Korean publication writes that Apple is testing bendable displays in 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5-inch variants. This hasn’t been confirmed, but since manufacturers such as LG are already producing bendable batteries, we wouldn’t be too surprised to see flexible display watches in the near future.
The New York Times reported in February that Apple was experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of glass. The gadget would be powered by iOS.
Apple’s alleged iWatch could stray from the conventional timepiece form factor. While today’s smarwatches, such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear or Pebble closely resemble typical watches, the iWatch may look more like a slap bracelet. Apple’s patent published in early 2013 for a “bi-stable spring with a flexible display” depicts a wrist-worn gadget with a display that wraps around its wearer’s entire wrist. This lines up nicely with Chosun Ilbo’s rumor that Apple is currently testing flexible displays. Apple CEO Tim Cook praised the Nike Fuelband and revealed that he regularly wears one at this year’s D11 conference, so it seems plausible that Apple’s wearable device would sport a similar band-like design.
Apple’s watch is said to run the full version of iOS, according to reports from earlier this year. Sources allegedly told The Verge that the iWatch would run Apple’s full mobile OS rather than the iPod nano’s more limited operating system. The iWatch would presumably be able to download applications directly through the iTunes store, though it’s not clear how many apps Apple would make available at launch.
According to Bloomberg‘s reporting, several features for the iWatch are under consideration, from making calls to checking maps on the go. There could also be a pedometer for counting steps and other sensors for monitoring health data. Many industry watchers believe that Siri will play a large role in the iWatch’s operation. You would be able to send texts, update your social status, find nearby restaurants and more just by using your voice. The iWatch could also be used for mobile payments in combination with a Passbook app, as well as for redeeming coupons and scanning movie or airline tickets.
Current smartwatches are designed to sync with your smartphone, but the iWatch could let you interact with devices throughout your home. At least that’s what one analyst has to say. Cantor Fitzgerald’s Brian White, who frequently makes predictions about Apple product launches, says the iWatch could act as a media controller or home automation device. White cites unnamed sources in Apple’s supply chain, saying that the iWatch could serve as a “multi-purpose gateway in allowing consumers to control their home.” According to the analyst, this means you would be able to turn on your TV, adjust the temperature and more directly from your wrist.
No one knows when Apple plans to launch its iWatch if the long-rumored device turns out to be real. Bloomberg’s sources and Citi analyst Glen Yeung both reportedly believe that Apple may introduce the iWatch in 2013. However, KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo, who is noted for his Apple product roadmap predictions, believes that a 2014 launch is more likely. There’s no telling which source will prove correct, but Apple CEO Tim Cook recently boasted that “amazing hardware and software developments” could come to light in the fall and across 2014 during Apple’s most recent quarterly earnings conference call.
The iWatch is still largely a mystery, but judging by the rumors Apple’s wearable device will be significantly different than the smartwatches we’re seeing today. Apple appears to be leaning toward the wristband approach rather than the conventional wristwatch design. And while the iWatch will likely work with smartphones, it looks like it will be much more than a mere companion.