Tuesday, March 05, 2013

iOS-sporting iWatch to arrive this year: Report

Rumors continue to fly around the as-yet-unannounced Apple wearable computer, the so-called iWatch. More details are filtering in, with the latest one, issued Monday, pointing to "later this year" for the arrival of the an iOS-carrying smartwatch.

The rumor patrol has been ramping up on the iWatch. Earlier reports said Apple had 100 people working on the project. An Apple patent application, recently uncovered, also points to such a wrist-worn device.

Apparently, none other than Apple design chief Jony Ive is a big fan of the idea, as he reportedly ordered "boxes" of Nike sports watches for his team to study a few years ago.

Although the iPod nano would seem like a good place to start -- and indeed, it would not seem that an iWatch would carry the full capability of an iPhone, as battery life would simply not allow for that -- Apple is apparently betting on iOS across product lines, and reworking iOS to work on the device, instead of upgrading the proprietary touch OS of the nano.

Battery if already an issue. Sources say Apple is shooting for 4-5 days of battery life between charges. Current prototypes, though, are only reaching two days max. That still seems optimistic, because actual real-life usage of any battery-powered device never reaches the theoretical and advertised manufacturer maximum.

However, Apple has a good reason to push the iWatch out ASAP. Google's own wearable computing device, Google Glass, recently saw its test group expanded. Google is promising that its smartglasses will be out this year.

Considering that Apple has a history of seemingly creating markets out of thin air -- the iPad, of course, nearly single-handedly made consumers realize they needed a tablet, something that companies like Microsoft had failed at before. Oh, and there's another coincidence: In 2003, Microsoft signed up partners such Citizen Watch and Fossil to build products that would deliver sports scores, traffic information, and weather reports. That effort died by 2008.

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