Apple was today granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via Appleinsider) detailing a wearable device that features augmented strap capabilities and wireless sensors that enable it to communicate with nearby devices, such as an iPhone, iPad or a Mac.
One of the notable features of Apple’s envisioned wrist-worn wearable is the incorporation of custom-made straps that augment the device’s capabilities, an idea previously implemented in the sixth-generation iPod nano.
Apple’s rumoured ‘iWatch’ will come in three sizes, according to a new report by Taiwan’s Economic Daily News (via GforGames).
According to Taiwan’s Economic Daily, Apple will make the iWatch available in three main variants. The first one will pack a 1.6-inch display, while the second and third models will sport a 1.8-inch panel. Reportedly, the main difference between the two 1.8-inch units is that one of them will make use of sapphire glass for its display.
The report also adds that the device will be launched in the third quarter of the year, which seemingly contradicts an earlier claim from well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that production of the smart watch had been delayed to November.
Renewed confidence in Apple has prompted two analysts to raise their price targets for the company’s stock to US$110, according to tech site Appleinsider, which obtained copies of the analysts’ research notes yesterday.
The first analyst is Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley, who cited “strong customer loyalty” for the iPhone as a likely driving factor for sales of an upcoming ‘iWatch’. This ‘halo effect’, Huberty claims, was what drove users of the iPod to switch from Windows to Apple’s Mac platform several years back, and is what will likely drive initial sales of the iWatch.
But looking ahead to the fall and beyond, Huberty has particularly high hopes for the anticipated debut of a wrist-worn “iWatch” from Apple. She said current smart watch sales should not be used as a predictor for how a product from Apple might fare, and instead investors should look to how the company has successfully managed to sell new product categories to existing customers.
In the latest update regarding the ‘iWatch’, renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has published a new research note claiming that the device’s production could be pushed back to November, and will not begin in September as earlier predicted.
In a research note obtained by AppleInsider, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iWatch represents a new level of difficulty for Apple in regard to both hardware and software development. Because of the new challenges, Kuo believes current consensus on Apple’s iWatch production and distribution schedule is incorrect.
Kuo’s findings were published by Appleinsider on Thursday and were based on information from supply chain sources. The well-connected analyst claims that supplies of the iWatch will be constrained and are expected to hit only 3 million units by the end of 2014. Earlier reports had pegged production at 10 million units for the year.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Nike was winding up its wearable hardware division and had, in the process, fired majority of the team behind its FuelBand fitness tracker. CEO Mark Parker subsequently confirmed the company’s exit from the market, and hinted at future collaboration opportunities with Apple on wearables.
On Monday, it was reported that Apple had hired two engineers from the FuelBand team, in a bid to beef up its wearables team which is supposedly working on an upcoming ‘iWatch’.
Apple’s rumored wearables team, widely thought to be working on a so-called “iWatch” device, recently got an infusion of new talent as the company brought on two former engineers from Nike’s stagnant FuelBand program.
Apple has reportedly hired a sales director from Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer ahead of its ‘iWatch’ launch, according to a new CNBC report. The hiring was revealed by Jean-Claude Biver, the head of watch brands at LMVH, which owns Swiss watch makers TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith.
Apple has hired the sales director of luxury Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer to help with the launch of its new iWatch, as the technology group intend on using the prestigious “Swiss made” label to market its new gadget, the head of LVMH’s watch brands Jean-Claude Biver told CNBC.
The sales director, who is unnamed in the report, reportedly left TAG Heuer last week to take up a contract at Apple, presumably to assist with the introduction of the iWatch later in the year.
Italian consultancy company SET Solutions has published a video showing off a concept rendering of the ‘iWatch’ with a 2.5-inch display as predicted earlier by a Reuters report.
The video specifies the dimensions of the iWatch as 6.10cm by 3.50cm by 0.50cm and shows the device running a full version of iOS 8. With these dimensions, the home screen is shown to be able to fit four apps on the main canvas and three side apps on the dock.
Apple is reportedly looking to port iOS 8’s voice messaging feature to the ‘iWatch’, according to a new research note from UBS analyst Steven Milunovich (via Fortune), who cites a recent meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook.
“When we visited with Tim Cook, he said that walking down streets in China one sees people speaking into their phones sending voice rather than text messages. Porting this capability to the watch makes sense as it is easier to send a voice message from a device already on the wrist than pulling out a phone. It also could aid penetration of China, which Cook said has a ways to go.”
Apple introduced voice messaging with iOS 8 last month at its annual developers conference. The feature allows users to record voice messages using a single tap-and-hold gesture, then send it by means of a simple swipe.
Most recently, Apple hired Alex Hsieh away from Atlas Wearables. According to LinkedIn, Hsieh was hired as a firmware developer at Apple in June 2014. While it’s currently unclear what Hsieh’s job responsibilities at Apple are, Hsieh previously spent 8 months as the lead software engineer at Atlas Wearables, a fitness tracker akin to other wearable devices, albeit on steroids.
According to his LinkedIn page, Alex Hsieh, a lead software engineer at Atlas, was swooped up by Apple some time this month and is now working as a firmware developer for the company. Hsieh had previously worked on Atlas’ line of fitness trackers, sparking speculation that he had been recruited to assist with Apple’s upcoming ‘iWatch’ project.
A new survey conducted by investment bank Piper Jaffray found that 14% of U.S. consumers were willing to buy an ‘iWatch’ priced at US$350, as reported by Appleinsider. The survey was actually a general one covering all types of watches and wearables, with the iWatch making up a small portion in a bid to gauge consumer interest.
The first-ever “Piper Jaffray Watch & Wearables survey” polled nearly 100 individuals with an average age of 32 years old and household income of $130,000. The survey skewed mostly female, at 61 percent, while almost all respondents were from North America. While the poll was mostly about fashion and jewelry, it did touch on rumors of an Apple “iWatch” in an attempt to gauge consumer interest. The poll found that 14 percent of consumers would buy an “iWatch” priced at $350.
As noted by Appleinsider, majority of consumers who had expressed disinterest at the US$350 price point had stated that they would be “far more interested” in a price below US$200. However, a whopping 41% had flat out rejected the idea of purchasing an ‘iWatch’ “regardless of the price”.
Another interesting point to note is that among the consumers surveyed, 18% had indicated that they currently owned a fitness band, with another 13% stating that they were intending to purchase one within the next year. The iWatch is heavily rumoured to be a health and fitness tracker, with a recent report from The Wall Street Journal hinting that the device would come with “more than 10″ different sensors.
The iWatch is rumoured to feature a 2.5″ display that is “slightly rectangular”, along with possible wireless charging capabilities. Tech site PocketNow had claimed in a recent report that the device could possibly come in two models – Sports and Designer, both of which are being tested by professional athletes currently working together with Apple.