Apple on aggressive hiring spree for smartwatch project, sources say

“Apple has embarked on a hiring spree to tackle design problems with its ‘iWatch’ wrist computer, bringing in fresh expertise amid concern that the launch of its first new product since the death of Steve Jobs could be at least a year away,” Tim Bradshaw reports for The Financial Times.

“The company has begun hiring ‘aggressively’ for the project in recent weeks, say people familiar with Apple’s plans for the wearable device, a move that shows it has stepped up development but which raises questions over the ability of its own engineers to develop wearable technology.,” Bradshaw reports. “As Apple moves from iPods, iPhones and iPads into an entirely new category of product, it is looking beyond its existing staff in Cupertino for the talent required to build it – an indication that the endeavour involves ‘hard engineering problems that they’ve not been able to solve,’ according to one source.”

Bradshaw reports, “Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, could still decide not to launch the product, just as past ideas have been scrapped, these people said. However, the iWatch – a brand for which Apple has made several applications to trademark – has now progressed from an exploratory phase to having several dozen employees dedicated to its development… One senior member of the iWatch team, who had been considering leaving the company, decided to stay after being awarded a substantial pay increase, according to one source.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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70 Comments

    1. I object to spend any money for a watch, even a watch designed by Apple. A watch is an irrelevant piece of technology. My iPhone does more than a watch can do and do it better.

        1. A $10 Timex can suffice. No need to spend more than that if the only object is knowing the time of day. Or simply set what is in your hand down for 6 seconds and check the time on your phone. That’ll cost you nothing.

            1. This is the Financial Times still sore after refusing to share revenue with Apple on their app, conjuring yet another weak and baseless FUD piece with the usual “nameless source” suspects… Mr Bradshaw, go outdoors and enjoy your summer weekend.

            2. Yeah? Like what? What would this purported iWatch do except get fanbois hot and bothered? Please be specific about the details, I’m just dying to know.

            3. Yes, you are dying to know details that no one knows and you haven’t either the imagination to make intelligent guesses or the intelligence to read the myriad of speculative articles about the biometric, bluetooth, and other display capabilities such a device could have. Sarcasm from another tech drone; must be a Windows user.

            4. No one knows what the “iWatch” is designed to do but the fanbois are convinced, without a doubt and without any corroborative evidence, that it will do anything and almost everything. What’s next from Apple? Flux capacitors? Replicators?

          1. On that logic why did watches ever become popular? Why didn’t everyone just stick to their pocket watches? I use my watch all day, I don’t want to be constantly taking my phone in and out of my pocket. I use the stop watch and timer when I go out walking because although I use an app to monitor my progress and give me feedback, sometimes I want to check and don’t want to have to stop.

            An iWatch could be great if it doesn’t try to do too much and end up doing it badly, but at the same time it obviously needs to be more than just a watch. The key will be decent integration between it and a more powerful iOS device. Being able to glance at the data from my running/gps app for example and having it tie into the stopwatch functionality I normally have on my watch.

      1. It’s an “irrelevant piece of technology” if the “iWatch” is just a watch. But obviously, Apple is not going to release a watch that only tells time. Or a watch that plays music and tells time. Or even a watch that tells time, plays music, and somehow interacts with an iPhone.

        Any of that is too predictable and pedestrian. If that’s all Apple has for iWatch, it will never be released. And that’s why there are detractors, because their thinking is too limited. They probably also said, “My laptop does than more than an iPad, and do it better.” Well, maybe it can, but that wasn’t really the point of iPad (to be “better” than a laptop) nor why iPad is so successful…

      2. Not me. Love my iPhone, but still want/need wristwatches. My iPhone is often buried too deep in my pocket (yeah, I’m not a BookFace tragic), along with my car keys, and a simple flick of the wrist gets me the time in about half a nanosecond. I also find the iPhone isn’t quite what I need at 60 feet below the surface, or 47 seconds out from a yacht race start, or half way through a 10k foot race. Latest lust is for a Rolex Submariner – a lovely piece of male jewellery that happens to work brilliantly in all the above scenarios as well as with a suit.

  1. There are some nice functions for a iOS powered watch:
    1. Convenient Siri access (press and hold ?)
    2. New email/message/tweet oalert
    3. Maps aid (turn by turn, for instance)
    4. Music player control
    5. Snap your fingers to start a gesture (play/stop/next/previous song?)
    6. Double tap to dictate a message, swap to send it
    7. Circle your finger to get next calendar event
    8. Shake hands with other user to exchange business card (body area network?)
    10. Check local weather (background anim?)
    11. Check stock (price alert?)
    12. Check time? (nah, too obvious)

    1. 1. How will you hear what Siri says? Also, reading output on a tiny screen is terrible. Siri can be accessed via headphones without the need to even touch your phone. Smartphone wins this one.
      2. New Email/message… True, having a quick glance at the wrist may be better in some situations, but how do you respond? Type into a tiny screen on your wrist? Therefore, it fails at texting. Smartphone wins this one.
      3. Maps: tiny screen, terrible at maps. With Siri, she’ll giude you without having to touch your phone. And the screen size is much better for visual maps. Smartphone wins this one.
      4. Music player control? Controlling what? This is ridiculous. Controlling an iPod? Now you need 2 devices to play and control music? Not happening.
      5. And why couldn’t they build in finger snaps to the iPhone or iPod? No need for a second device.
      6. Dictating messages into your wrist? You’re many times going to have to look and physically gesture on the watch. The small screen sucks. Most people would likely rather do this on a much larger screen. Smartphone wins this one.
      7. Absurd.
      8. Man ur a geek.
      9. Weather’s not a bad application.
      10. Check stock. Not seeing people do this very much. The smartphone is better because of the larger screen and ability to follow up with news stories. Smartphone wins this one.
      11. Time… Yep.

      I think the applications that a smart watch is better at than a snartphone are incredibly limited to the point where it won’t appeal to most people. This could end up being a new hobby for Apple but it won’t sell.

      1. It will excel only at the biometrics, and that will be the point. Blood pressure, blood oxygen, pedometer, sleep cycles, and things we can’t even think of now that they are certainly researching (what else can be told about the functioning of the body by a sensor that touches the skin?)

        Yes, it will also tell time.

        1. I’m comparing it to a smartphone because an iWatch would have to be better at a number of things for anyone to bother buying it and using it. For Apple to bother creating a new category of device over what exists now.

          Steve Jobs revealed a lot about himself and Apple when he introduced the first iPad. How he said that it only has a reason to exist if it’s better than a smartphone and a laptop at a number of things. If the answer was no, it wasn’t better at many other things, then it had no reason to live.

          So there needs to be a reason for this to exist or it’s just low tech junk that nobody needs or uses. I also question biometrics. All that sensor and tracking crap can be built into a smartphone. Aside from this, that is a very narrow use case, too narrow.

        1. Pity the poor fanboi. You know, grown ups can disagree about something without casting aspersions. Fanbois; however, cannot tolerate a dissenting point of view. It seems to me that contrary opinions rattle their feeble little minds and send them into fits of depression and insecurity. No wonder you are mocked. You show no intelligence, tenacity, and intellectual honesty.

  2. There are some nice functions for a iOS powered watch:
    1. Convenient Siri access (press and hold ?)
    2. New email/message/tweet oalert
    3. Maps aid (turn by turn, for instance)
    4. Music player control
    5. Snap your fingers to start a gesture (play/stop/next/previous song?)
    6. Double tap to dictate a message, swap to send it
    7. Circle your finger to get next calendar event
    8. Shake hands with other user to exchange business card (body area network?)
    9. Check local weather (background anim?)
    10. Check stock (price alert?)
    11. Check time? (nah, too obvious)

    1. I think few people conceive how the passing of information can be such a Big thing but they will if it ever reaches its potential and all those boring things like searching through pockets and wallets and leaving things at home is eliminated. Only problem is that so much out side of Apple’s grasp will have to change to support it to let it reach that pinnacle. Would have to be a long term aim but with useful functionality at lift off to make it desirable.

    2. None of this would convince me to by one unless the watch comes with wireless earbuds. I hate the wire running from my phone. If the watch had a mic. and earbuds I would snap it up.
      Yes I know with the new cars today this seems silly but for me and my old car this would make me an instant buyer. Cant wait to see what apple has to add to it.

    3. There is already a watch out there that has all these specs and will be released on Kickerstarter on or after 7-23. It’s called the HOT watch or Hands On Talk. Google Hotsmartwatch to find out more. It addresses everything you have been asking for and more…

  3. Damn. I want me an iWatch. I’ll bet the design problems are related to getting all the junk in the trunk without having it look like a vcr strapped to your forearm. This baby will have to be THIN and 20 times more than any other watch has ever been. It could easily be a year away. Maybe more, sadly.

  4. I think the “smart watch” is the biggest waste of time for any major corp. Sadly it also reeks of Apple buckling/pandering to WS nay-sayers.

    And yes, I hope I’m wrong on both accounts.

  5. If I remember correctly Apple always vigorously employs close to a product launch ‘analysts’ said similar when iPad mini was launched but when a product is close to introduction you often need different and additional skills to develop the product further within the market place itself to expand capabilities so to make the presumptions that it signals problems would suggest the source is likely based at Sumsung’s marketing agency as usual.

  6. Battery life will likely be a major problem unless they can make a flexible battery that is designed into the band. The more useful the watch is the faster the battery will run out of juice. Because I don’t actually know what the capabilities of the watch are, I can’t say it will be a success or not. However, I’m fairly certain I don’t want one. My Casio G-Shock already does everything I need from a watch.

  7. Ideal ‘smartwear’ is still at least a couple years away while we wait for flexible LCD screens.

    IMHO this is when Apple hires people interested in the field and goes into overdrive getting on top of the day-to-day technology breakthroughs in the field, a process of self-education and direct innovation involvement.

    Will Apple bring out ‘smartwear’ in the next year? Only if there’s a market for what will amount to being prototypes of what the public really wants. Meanwhile, Apple will be ready to pounce when flexi-smartwear becomes a realistic product. And predictably, only Apple will do it right with the needs and benefits of the customer in mind.

    It’s going to be fun! 😀

  8. I’d assumed the iWatch would be more of a health product aimed at the fitness market, incorporating similar features to the Nike fuel band but with more sensors. I’d probably not buy one but I bet a lot of people would.

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