“Apple Inc.’s new high-end iPhone gives a glimpse of future products that may be in store from the world’s most-valuable company,” Adam Satariano reports for Bloomberg. “A new motion-sensor chip inside the iPhone 5s lays the groundwork for wearable-computing products, while a fingerprint sensor opens more opportunities to make the smartphone a tool for making purchases at stores, according to technology analysts who study Apple.”
“‘These are important first steps that Apple is taking,’ Tim Bajarin, an analyst with research firm Creative Strategies Inc., said in an interview,” Satariano reports. “Even before the new iPhones were unveiled, Apple has taken steps toward wearable devices. The company has been seeking trademarks for the name iWatch in countries including Japan. Apple also has a team of about 100 product designers and engineers working on a wristwatch-like device, two people familiar with the company’s plans have said.”
“At the event introducing the iPhone 5s, Apple highlighted the new M7 chip for health and fitness applications. The chip, which is less battery-hungry than the handset’s other main processors, tracks movement through an accelerometer, gyroscope and compass, said Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller,” Satariano reports. “While the technology is initially intended to improve iPhone fitness applications, the chip will probably be incorporated into a new iWatch-like device from Apple, said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrest Research who has studied trends in wearable computing. It can crunch data being generated by the wearable device, she said. ‘Whether Apple launches an iWatch or another type of wearable device, the new chip will make that device much more powerful and make the experience of using it more seamless,’ she said.”
Satariano reports, “Apple is also allowing developers to build on top of the motion-focused chip. Nike’s Move application uses the technology to measure a person’s daily activity. Other fitness applications will be forthcoming. ‘The challenging thing for doing all-day activity apps on phones is the battery life,’ said Sampo Karjalainen, the maker of Moves, a pedometer iPhone app. The new chip ‘is optimized to listen to data and use as little battery as possible,’ he said.”
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