Monday, February 11, 2013

Curved glass iOS-powered iWatch under development by Apple: Report

Apple is working on a smart watch, said a new report issued on Sunday. The report followed swiftly a blog post by former Apple employee and human interface developer Bruze Tognazzi, which earlier in the week stated that an iWatch was inevitable.

The New York Times report cited anonymous sources familiar with the company's research, and claimed that Apple is working on wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass. The watch carry iOS, two of the sources said.

The technology necessary to make a watch that can curve around a user's wrist already exists. In 2012, Corning, which created the ultra-tough Gorilla Glass that is used in most smartphones, including the iPhone and Android devices, announced Willow Glass, bendable glass that can bend as easily as paper without breaking.

In addition, earlier this year, at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Samsung showed off a smartphone with a bendable screen. The screen was paper-thin and flexible.

Pete Bocko, the chief technology officer for Corning Glass Technologies said:
You can certainly make it wrap around a cylindrical object and that could be someone’s wrist. Right now, if I tried to make something that looked like a watch, that could be done using this flexible glass.
Of course, there are far more questions that need to answered before an iWatch could appear. Will it include Siri (very likely)? Is the device just an accessory for an already existing iPhone or iPad, meaning it doesn't do any of the work itself, but instead displays information from an already existing smart device? Or will it include everything a user needs, including cellular and wi-fi capability?

It would be hard to provide decent battery life in a device that small, if it were to fully duplicate the functionality -- or most of it -- of an iPhone. That is, of course, with today's battery technology, and that could change significantly as time goes on.

While Apple appears to be looking toward wrist-wearable smart devices, its Android rival, Google, is pushing forward with smart glasses, its augmented reality Project Glass.

According to a Google executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the company is already expecting big things from Project Glass. It hopes that it will see as much as three percent of its revenue generated by smart glasses by 2015. Olympus is also working on wearable smart devices.

Google is holding private workshops in San Francisco and New York for developers to start building applications for its glasses. At the event in San Francisco last week, Hosain Rahman, chief executive of Jawbone, the maker of the Up, a wrist device that tracks people’s energy and sleep, said that “a decade from now we won’t be able to imagine life without the wearables that we use to access information, unlock our doors, pay for goods, and most importantly track our health.”

Both of this week's reports have renewed speculation in an Apple smart watch, rumored for years. It was last seen in late December. The December report said that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company was working on a Bluetooth-enabled smart watch that would connect to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, allowing those smart devices to do all the work while displaying relevant information on an end user's wrist.

Notably, a similar form factor has been in place for some time, with its iPod nano, which is easily attached to a wrist band turning it into a fully functioning watch. Apple even sells such a band in its online store (pictured above).

Meanwhile, Google is holding private workshops in San Francisco and New York to help developers begin building apps for Project Glass. At the event in San Francisco last week, Hosain Rahman, CEO of Jawbone, which makes Up, a wrist device that tracks people’s sleep, activity, and eating habits, said:
... a decade from now we won’t be able to imagine life without the wearables that we use to access information, unlock our doors, pay for goods, and most importantly track our health.



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