It looks like Apple may believe it’s time to dive into the wearable computing market. The company is reportedly working on a Bluetooth smart watch, complete with call integration and a 1.5-inch OLED display supposedly manufactured by RiT Display, a Taiwanese manufacturing company. MobileGeeks first reported the news, citing the Chinese Tech.163.com website as a source. MobileGeeks founder Sascha Pallenberg, who is based in Taiwan, told us that he’s been hearing the rumors of an “iWatch” on the streets for a while now.
Intel is also said to be involved with the Apple iWatch in some way, which would be surprising given how relatively power hungry the company’s chips have been to this point.
Though the $10 million Kickstarter funding of the e-ink Pebble Watch shows that there is consumer hunger for a top-notch smart watch, this category is far from the mainstream. At this point, the only major name brand option is Sony’s SmartWatch, which we found intriguing, but half-baked. The Android-powered I’m Watch shows potential, but the Italian company has yet to make big waves in the U.S. There’s also a big unofficial market devoted specifically to transforming iPod nanos into ad-hoc wrist watches.
A lackluster app selection has been one of the bigger negatives associated with smart watches thus far; getting developers to embrace this kind of platform has been a challenge. While we doubt that Apple would be able to get its app selection working on such a tiny screen, the promise of an Apple-made smart watch alone would likely be enough to bring developers on board in droves.
Perhaps most interestingly, WIMM Labs, the makers of the intriguing WIMM One watch, recently announced that it has closed up shop. “During the summer of 2012, WIMM Labs entered into an exclusive, confidential relationship for our technology and ceased sales of the Developer Preview Kit,” the company’s website now reads.
A confidential relationship for its smart watch technology, eh? Coincidence? I guess we’ll see some time next year.