In this article we are rounding-up all of the rumours, speculation and scuttlebutt around Apple’s iWatch. Expected to be released this year, we’ll cover the latest rumours about the iWatch release date as well as any rumoured features.
We’ll update this story as more iWatch information becomes available, so be sure to check back from time to time.
When will it release?
The better question might be: Will it be released? And the answer is also a maybe.
The heavily rumoured wearable is certainly on Apple’s radar. Whether the company will release a smart watch is still yet to be confirmed but Apple is not a company that avoids lucrative markets. Especially while its competition unveil new products.
If it is in the making, will it arrive with the next iPhone in September? Or could it be unveiled at WWDC?
Either is possible at this stage.
What features will it include?
LG OLED display.
The source is the Korean publication, Digital Daily, which asserts that the rumoured iWatch will have its flexible OLED displays supplied by LG. But you’re going to have to take our word for it.
And MacRumors, which has also linked to the report, because the cached Google translate of theoriginal Korean article is pretty much unintelligible. But check it out anyway. If you’re bored and find lines like “LG Display, Apple’s made by the panel of smart clock kids watch (tentative name) will be mounted” diverting, that is. Everyone else may just like to stop by old MacRumors, which kindly breaks it all down for us. “LG is said to be starting mass production of these flexible panels starting in July 2014 with an initial target volume of 2 million units, and Apple chose these panels because they are thin, light, and provide adequate brightness with minimal power consumption, insiders claim,” says the site.
Sapphire glass, rumoured to appear in the next iPhone, may first appear in the iWatch.
MacRumors says, “Earlier reports suggested the sapphire is likely for the next-generation iPhone, but G 4 Games points to new reports from Asian supply chain sources speaking to MyDrivers [Google Translate] and PCPOP [Google Translate] claiming the iWatch will be the first Apple device to be equipped with the scratch-resistant material.”
Power source is the topic of discussion from The New York Times in February. “The next breakthrough smartphone, or maybe the one after that, might not have a traditional battery as its sole source of power. Instead, it could pull energy from the air or power itself through television, cellular or Wi-Fi signals,” says the Times, careful to slip one of our favourite safety words in there – ‘could’.
Brian X Chen and Nick Bilton’s article goes on to quote Tony Fadell (ex-Apple, founder of Nest, ex-Twitter chum of Phil Schiller), who talks about the race to improve batteries, or invent a whole different technology altogether. “Apple tried for many years to build a smarter battery by adding solar charging to iPhones and iPods. But the method never proved practical, [Fadell] said, because mobile devices often stay inside pockets when people are outdoors, and indoor artificial light generates only a tiny amount of energy.”
But that wouldn’t be the case with a watch and, besides, Apple has some other ideas up its, er, sleeve. “For its wristwatch, Apple has been testing a method to charge the battery wirelessly with magnetic induction, according to a person briefed on the product. A similar technology is already used in some Nokia smartphones — when a phone is placed on a charging plate, an electrical current creates a magnetic field, which creates voltage that powers the phone.”
And: “The watch is expected to have a curved glass screen [see?], and one idea is to add a solar-charging layer to that screen, which would give power to the device in daylight.”
And “Another experiment at Apple has involved charging the battery through movement, a method that is already used in many modern watches. A person’s arm swinging could operate a tiny charging station that generates and pushes power to the device while walking.” We can just picture the black eyes and bloody noses as iWatch wearers everywhere stride down future streets swinging their arms like gibbons on speed, knocking out their fellow citizens right, left and centre.
There are a number of rumours about the apparent health components of the iWatch. MacRumors (via9to5Mac) notes, “Apple is developing a new app expected to be released alongside iOS 8 that collects and organises information and data points related to the user’s health, including fitness statistics from the new M7 processor in the iPhone 5s, and possibly other data collected from a new wearable product… the iWatch will include the ability to measure statistics that the Healthbook app can measure – including glucose levels and heart rate – though nothing concrete is known… sources suggest Apple has been able to combine several different health sensors into one chipset in order to make them all smaller.”
Ars Technica has something to add on the topic, noting that in mid-December there was a meeting between Apple employees and FDA officials about ‘mobile medical applications’, and goes on to muse what Apple’s entry into this sector could mean for current fitness gadgets, such as Nike’s Fuelband, Fitbit’s Flex and the Jawbone Up.
MacRumors has this report about Michael O’Reilly, MD – the former chief medical officer and executive vice president of Medical Affairs at Masimo Corporation, leading analysts to wonder whether his engagement relates to this rumoured health focus of the forthcoming time (but-oh-so-much-more) piece.
Masimo is known (admittedly not by us, but we’re always willing to learn) for developing “several cutting edge pulse oximetry devices, including the iSpO2 Pulse Oximeter that connects to the iPhone and gives readings via an accompanying app. The iSpO2, which takes its readings from a finger, is designed to measure both oxygen saturation in the blood and pulse rate, with technology that allows it to take readings during movement and with low blood flow,” says MacRumors.
So either Apple is pushing ahead with the medical and wellness applications of its purported wearable device, or is just becoming really, really conscientious about WHS regulations.
Not checking glucose
“Many news outlets, as a result, have reported that Apple’s rumoured iWatch may be able to non-invasively measure a user’s glucose levels. Such a device would be a godsend for diabetics who often have to monitor their blood glucose levels multiple times a day, either by drawing blood from their finger or through an implanted sensor paired with an external monitoring device.”
“A deeper examination of the issue, however, strongly suggests otherwise,” Heisler writes. “Non-invasive CGM is an incredibly complex problem that presents a number of challenging medical and technological hurdles. Indeed, medical device companies have been trying to solve this problem for decades, with no real success to speak of.”
History tells us that Apple is not the company that goes first to market; it waits until its products are the best they can possibly be and then launches and dwarfs its opposition who may have hurried out their innovations and not really covered all bases.
What will it look like?
This little doodle comes courtesy of Argentina’s Tomas Moyano, and it’s an eye-catching concept for the iWatch (below). Well, it certainly caught the eye of Technology Tell‘s Krisette Capati, who says, “While it would appear impossible (for now) to pack all the specs in this circular wearable gadget with a convergence of camera, syncing, HD recording, and a battery of biomedical sensors,” she says, adding, “His is by far the best concept I’ve ever seen, including the features I would want in a smartwatch.”
And looking at the shots, it’s hard to disagree. At least this wouldn’t be like wearing a clunky great EFTPOS machine on your wrist, like some concepts (sorry, Brett Jordan) or actual releases, like Samsung’s ultra ugly old SPH-WP10 from 1998 (shivers…).