With NYT and WSJ writing about Apple’s iWatch ambitions almost simultaneously, the focus on wearable computing and iWatch has become intense. We hear a lot about Apple’s ambitious project although none of it has any official confirmation. Interestingly though, both the leading publications have quoted unnamed sources from within Apple’s perimeters at Cupertino.
Update [13-Feb-2014]: Latest rumor suggests that, iWatch Is Less of a Smartwatch; It’s A Health-focused Gadget. Read more.
Update [01-Feb-2014]: iWatch Could Launch in 2014 with iOS 8, Focus on Health Sensors and Fitness. Read more.
Update [03-Jan-2014]: Digitimes reports that iWatch and other smartwatches are facing production/manufacturing issues due to surface treatment issues. Read more.
Update [14-Dec-2013]: Latest rumors from C Technology indicate that Apple could launch iWatch along with the upcoming iPhone in October 2014. Click here for more info on this.
Survey results conducted amidst 1700+ North Americans shows that about 19% are interested in pre-ordering the iWatch. Read more about it here.
iWatch release date rumors aren’t something new but what makes it so important right this moment is a lot of things.
(if you are looking for specific rumors and information about iWatch release date and iWatch features, jump to this section).
- Apple needs a new product that’s way out of league from the iPhones and iPads that it has been trying to churn out. Both the ecosystem and the products have gone somewhat stale in terms of innovation.
- Wearable computing is obviously gaining ground. Google’s work on Glasses is taking shape faster than expected. However, although rumors of a Samsung watch are floating around, it looks certain that no one else is doing any credible work on watches.
Apple’s iWatch rumors have cast a web of confusion too. What exactly would iWatch do? How has Apple envisioned the iWatch to be? Can it exist as a distinct entity/gadget or will it require an iOS device to be paired for complete functionality? And most importantly, when will it release? And when it does, what would it cost?
Corning’s Willow Glass
The technology behind an iWatch gadget like the one we see in a lot of concept images is curved glass. Corning, the glass-maker who churned out Gorilla Glasses that have revolutionized the smartphone handsets today, came up with the solution: Willow glass.
A Willow glass is a wafer-thin, paper-like glass which can be bent. This particular technology lets manufacturers create gadgets precisely like iWatch.
Edit: On a side note, Corning has said that it may take up to three years for consumers to begin using the willow glass tech. However, with Apple being granted patents just recently, it wouldn’t be unsafe to assume that Apple could adopt the tech faster.
Don’t forget to refer iWatch features wishlist
There have been ample rumors from Han Hoi (Foxconn) and the lead reports do not hesitate to mention them. Many of the interesting news we’ve recently heard from Foxconn (or the Far Eastern shores) has been in line with technology for wearable computing. Apple has been one of the most active and prominent clients of Foxconn and the company’s plans are in all probability aligned with those of the largest client it has. And all indications presently are completely towards the Apple iWatch.
iWatch Isn’t New
All said and done, the concept of iWatch isn’t exactly new. In fact, wearable computing is quite old. There have been gadgets like Nike’s FuelBand (which, incidentally, is used by Tim Cook) which pair with an iPhone to track and produce some stunning information. Wearable computing has also been a popular science fiction theme since Asimov.
It’s definitely not going to be Apple’s plan to ‘beat’ the market in wearable computing’s release time. Apple came with the iPhone when there were enough smartphones in the market already. The idea would be to storm the market with something that blows away any competition.
Is Johnny Ive plotting this entry? May be. If what Bloomberg said was true (about the 100 designers working on iWatch), you’re most likely going to see that watch coming out in a few months, max.
So what exactly would iWatch feature?
There’s absolutely no piece of information on that. Apple hasn’t denied anything (instead, it chose to “decline” to comment on iWatch). This is an indication that somewhere, industrial designers are crowding over possible iWatch design elements and functionalities.
One of the earliest things we can predict safely is that the iWatch will act as an add-on device that empowers your iPhone.
- You can probably answer calls right from your watch and talk to your wrist – like the Secret Service guys.
- The iWatch might feature Siri (I’d probably strike off “might” and add “will”).
- It would be easy to speculate that the iWatch will feature music controls.
- Apple would probably develop specific apps which are split into an iWatch-component and an iPhone component (think of web apps like Evernote that have two components)
- iWatch will read text messages, allow you to reply – mostly via Siri.
- And as not a far-fetched idea, iWatch may come with sensors that track your pulse and gather a ton of other data.
iWatch Release Date Rumors
As is the case with all these rumors, iWatch release date remains shrouded in mystery. To begin with, we’ve still got Apple’s TV to think of. NYT opines that there may be other devices in line before the iWatch but with the way things are emerging, it also looks more than likely that the iWatch would be out pretty soon. How soon exactly? I doubt if even Apple knows the answer.
By the wildest guesstimates, an iWatch would probably be an early/mid-2014 thing. This is based on the Bloomberg report. However, Apple has the capability to bring out the trick card from under the sleeve all of a sudden so if you see an iWatch by the end of this year, don’t be surprised. Our discussions and the general status, however, makes us think that it’s highly unlikely for Apple to release iWatch this year.
So, in a typical Jobs’s style introduction of pricing, “How much do you think the iWatch is worth?”
It would be too early to talk about pricing. The iWatch price – this one, we’re pretty sure – would be way over the top in typical Apple-style pricing of gadgets. But given the hype and the innovativeness of the product, people will definitely flock to buy their iWatches. After all, it’s a cult thing now.
Sources: NYT, WSJ
You may like to read: iWatch concept design from edgar and Martin Hajek