It’s an old rumour, but a persistent one – are Apple ever going to get around to releasing the mythical iWatch?
There have been many reports in the past about Apple’s rumoured foray into wearable computing, but it looks like this may be the first one to bear fruit: according to inside sources, Apple currently has a 100-strong team working on the device, and it’s fast approaching prototype stage. (This is backed up by the Kickstarter Pebble Smartwatch concept: according to the developers, creating the software for the Android version of the Pebble was a ground-up endeavour, but an iOS version of the device was easy, due to Bluetooth software hooks that were already present - suggesting Apple already had plans in this direction.) But while anticipation is running extremely high, people don’t seem to be sure about what the iWatch actually does. What we do know is that it will be capable of connecting via Bluetooth to other Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad, enabling users to perform simple tasks without having to take out their phone or tablet. Simple tasks include such day-to-day interaction as checking texts, posting to Twitter and even controlling music playback on your phone or tablet, making the iWatch essentially a remote control. But the technology is capable of many more exciting things.
The iWatch could, for example, be used as a fitness augmentation. While worn, the watch could perform tasks such as monitoring heart-rate, tracking their running routes and acting as a pedometer, enabling easier and more intuitive workouts. Even more beneficially, the iWatch might have possible health applications, monitoring the status of the wearer in order to notify them when anything untoward changes in their body. Built-in navigation and radio access would make the iWatch the perfect companion for the frequent traveller. Best of all, the Bluetooth link-up to your iPhone would keep the iWatch sleek and svelte, because all of those added extra features that bulk up a Smartphone (such as Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS and cellular capacity) are already included in the iPhone itself – the iWatch would just be piggybacking off them. This would, essentially, turn your phone into a pocket server, opening the doorway for many other exciting emergent technologies in the future.
While we’ll have to wait and see to get a handle on exactly what the iWatch is capable of, only one thing is certain at this juncture – the iWatch is definitely coming. Insider leaks have been thick and fast, but external factors such as Apple hiring an OLED expert away from LG strongly suggest that Apple have a keen interest, if nothing else, in flexible glass displays, such as the one shown off by Samsung at this year’s CES. Flexible glass would be the perfect material to make a Smartwatch from. And the success of the Pebble can’t have gone unnoticed, either – with 85,000 pre-orders and a price-tag between $115 and $125, this indie, crowd-sourced project is currently putting Apple to shame (while handily raising the profile of the Smartwatch at the same time). It’s a brand new marketplace for Apple to make it big, and we have no doubts that they’re going to seize the opportunity with their characteristic showmanship and enthusiasm!