iWatch: Apple developing curved-glass smart watch, sources say

“Dick Tracy had one. As did Inspector Gadget and James Bond. A watch that doubled as a computer, two-way radio, mapping device or television,” Nick Bilton reports for The New York Times. “Though such a device has been lost to science fiction comics and spy movies of the era before smartphones, the smart watch might soon become a reality, in the form of a curved glass device made by Apple.”

“In its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass, according to people familiar with the company’s explorations, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they are not allowed to publicly discuss unreleased products,” Bilton reports. “Such a watch would operate on Apple’s iOS platform, two people said, and stand apart from competitors based on the company’s understanding of how such glass can curve around the human body.”

Bilton reports, “the exploration of such a watch leaves open lots of exciting questions: If the company does release such a product, what would it look like? Would it include Siri, the voice assistant? Would it have a version of Apple’s map software, offering real-time directions to people walking down the street? Could it receive text messages? Could it monitor a user’s health or daily activity? How much will it cost? Could Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, be wearing one right now, whispering sweet nothings to his wrist? Such a watch could also be used to make mobile payments, with Apple’s Passbook payment software… Mr. Cook is clearly interested in wearables. In the past he has been seen wearing a Nike FuelBand, which tracks a user’s daily exertion. The FuelBand data is shared wirelessly with an iPhone app.”

“Apple has long been rumored to be working on a television-like experience. And, there is the possibility of an Apple car,” Bilton reports. “In a meeting in his office before he died, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and former chief executive, told John Markoff of The New York Times that if he had more energy, he would have liked to take on Detroit with an Apple car.”

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Tog: The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem – February 7, 2013
Why Apple should hang-up on the iPhone, iWear is next – January 6, 2013
Analyst sees wearable computers from Apple as future replacement for iPhone – January 2, 2013
Apple and Intel secretly building Bluetooth smartwatch that connects to your iOS devices, say sources – December 27, 2012
Apple patent application details display-integrated cellular antennas – May 6, 2012
Apple patent app details next-gen microstrip cellular antenna for future MacBooks, iWatch and beyond – October 25, 2011

28 Comments

  1. This Bilton guy from NYT wrote a good number of hearsay articles, often quite ignorant.

    Apple might be doing watches and maybe many other type of gadget designs for years. And they even had those devices manufactured in few units in test product batches.

    But this does not mean Apple is actually going to release anything like this. The media (including NYT itself) “reported” about “iWatch” for years, and still nothing happened.

    1. “the exploration of such a watch leaves open lots of exciting questions: If the company does release such a product…”

      The article clearly describes this a potential product only.

  2. I wear a very simple watch because I do still like to check the time without getting my phone out. It has a stopwatch and countdown time which I use to keep basic track of pace when out walking. And I occasionally set an alarm as a backup.

    I wouldn’t want some bells and whistles, feature packed, hundreds of dollar device that tries to give me everything on my phone on a tiny screen. What would be nice is being able to link into GPS apps to monitor things like pace, distance travelled, etc when out running/hiking. I want simple things that complement the features of my phone, but that don’t overshadow the fact that it’s a watch first and foremost. I don’t want it to be needlessly expensive for what it does – it should be priced as an accessory not a device in its own right.

    1. But, think about why people don’t wear watches: Because a watch doesn’t offer anything of value that the phone in their pocket doesn’t already, right? What if the watch did do something something special?

      Plus, if people keep getting their way and the phones keep inching toward the size of small tablets, I’m not going to be able to take my phone out of my pocket once I get it in there, so maybe the watch will be become the primary UI.

      1. A century or so ago, a watch was carried in a vest pocket, attached to a chain. The, often well-off, owner would have the time and leisure to take said watch from his pocket, flip its lid open, study the time, close it, then replace it in his vest pocket. During the First World War, troops had neither the time nor luxury to have such a device when knowing the time was crucial for getting ready for an advance.
        It seems that people have gone back to those times by carrying an inappropriate device in their pocket to see the time.
        I have an automatic Seiko, with big, clear markers that glow in the dark for hours, which I can read at a glance of barely a second. Why would I need to use something that has to be orientated correctly, then woken up, after being extracted from a pocket, to do the same, basically simple function.
        It makes no bloody sense to me.

  3. Stopped wearing a daily watch when the strap broke, and found the iPhone quietly filled the gap.

    Keep a smart gold dress-watch for special evening events.

    I don’t knock the iWatch idea as such, but don’t think it’s a big game-changer unless there’s some uber-dramatic functionality to wow us all.

      1. Very smart discussion. The only question that came to mind was “Will we wear it voluntarily, or will it be permanently strapped around our ankles?

        I recently tried an iPhone App (Moves) that works in the background to track your movements, then sends the track to Finland (I think), where it is joined with map data and analysis of your movements, how much walking, etc and the information reported back to the app, with a very nifty representation of your movements during the day.

        I took it off after a couple of days. The GPS was sucking the battery, despite their clever implementation that only had GPS on when you were moving, plus it gave me graphic proof of how dull my days are. The larger question is “Who needs to inform someone in Finland (or anywhere) of their precise location all the time?”

  4. To me a watch is something with a battery that only needs to be replaced every 3 to 4 years, with no recharging. I could only think a smart watch would be something else I’d need to plug into a charger on a regular basis.

    I don’t mind regularly recharging my existing Apple devices but to me a watch is a different story. I do like a nice looking watch but I’m used to just using one for it’s primary purpose. I’m used to just taking it off my wrist before I go to bed and not worrying about charging it’s battery. Having a smart watch that needed to be regularly recharged pretty often would just complicate my life too much. I mean I’ve already got an iPhone in my pocket that does everything I need as it is.

    I could understand it if the smart watch had some sort of health related function that the wearer absolutely needed. But for general use I wouldn’t bother with one. Having said that, if they manage to make a smart watch that doesn’t need recharging for at least 12 months I might reconsider it.

    1. Peter, why do you assume that a watch has to have a battery? My Seiko is automatic, Seiko and others like Citizen make kinetic watches that need no batteries, and have a power reserve of some considerable time. Having regulated it myself, my Seiko is currently accurate to approximately +11 seconds a month, which is accurate enough for anyone.
      It takes ten to twenty times longer to get my phone out of a pocket than it does to turn my wrist to see the time.
      Using a phone instead of a watch has no logic at all.

      1. For telling time that works fine (But not for digital).

        For an Apple device, that does much more, it will not be enough.

        I have the very first kinetic watch Seiko ever made. That and my Rolex are both self-winding, but they’re not making calls, displaying video, etc.

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