Citing “people familiar with the company’s explorations”, the NYT report believes the watch would operate on the iOS platform and potentially utilise Corning’s latest ultra-tough Gorilla Glass that can withstand significant bends.
If rumours of an Apple-branded smart watch are true, the device joins an emerging market of wrist-enabled technology for consumers.
For example, ConnectedDevice’s Cookoo watch, on display at CES 2013 in Las Vegas last month and compatible with the iPhone 4S/5, provides call information, Facebook posts and messages, calendar reminders and low-battery alerts to users.
Similarly, the Pebble watch – which began as a Kickstarter campaign – boasts social features including iMessage, Facebook, Twitter, Calendar and weather capabilities. The device began shipping in January after receiving almost US$10 million in donations.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is believed to be a fan of wearable technology – spotted wearing a Nike Fuelband on occasion – as is long-time Apple executive Bob Mansfield, according to the NYT report.
“Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president for technologies, who previously ran hardware engineering, has also been particularly interested in wearables, an Apple employee told NYT.
“Mr. Mansfield is engrossed by devices that connect to the iPhone, through Bluetooth, sharing information back and forth from the human body to the phone, including the Nike FuelBand and Jawbone Up.”
Sony and Motorola also have smart watches on the market, however iOS integration would provide Apple with a significant market for its own device.