Is Apple Developing a Smart Watch? (UPDATE)

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Apple has come to be a leader in various technological fields over the years, from laptops to MP3 players to smartphones to tablets, but a big part of what makes the Cupertino company so interesting to fans and detractors alike is the fact that no one ever knows what new tech it’ll be working on next. And with many shareholders ditching Apple due to its perceived lack of innovation, the time may be right for the iPhone maker to unveil just what the next “iDevice” will be.
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Well, according to both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, that new device could be an Apple smart watch. Citing “people familiar with the company’s explorations,” the NYT reports that Apple is “experimenting with” a wristwatch-style device that could run iOS and would be made of curved glass that wraps easily around the human wrist. The WSJ concurred with the report, and also said that Apple has entered into talks with longtime manufacturing partner Foxconn about potential wearable devices.

Apple’s smart watch, if it does exist, is likely in a very early stage of development, since neither report could give many details about the device beyond that. But early speculation about the so-called “iWatch” suggests that its curved glass could come from Corning, the same company that makes the Gorilla Glass displays on iPhones and various other mobile devices. Corning recently debuted a new bendable type of glass called Willow Glass, which one would think is perfect for this kind of wearable machine. Naturally, Apple declined to comment on the matter.

Rumors of an Apple smart watch are far from new, but with tech-savvy watches like the Sony SmartWatch and the Pebble making waves as of late, Apple may end up tapping into a market on the verge of really taking off. In general, wearable computing is expected to become much more prevalent within the next few years, most notably with the introduction of Google’s “Project Glass” glasses and other such devices. That\’s not to mention the fact that various companies already sell wristbands for the Apple iPod Nano, turning it into a makeshift wearable in its own right.

So while it’s not exactly the Apple TV everyone has been expecting, a move into the wearable space would seem to go along with current tech trends. As always, however, take reports like these with an iPad-sized grain of salt, since nothing has been officially confirmed just yet.

Update: Bloomberg has now joined the rumor party as the third source to report on Apple\’s \”iWatch\” intentions. Bloomberg says that Apple has a team of \”about 100 product designers\” working on the device, a group partially made up of people who had previously helped design the iPhone and iPad. Bloomberg\’s sources suggest that the device may be \”beyond the experimentation phase\” as a result.

Despite coming from anonymous sources, the report specifically notes that James Foster, Apple\’s senior director of engineering, and Achim Pantfoerder, one of Apple\’s managers, as contributing to the effort, so perhaps Apple\’s smart watch is closer than most of us think. One of Bloomberg\’s sources also said that Apple has previously worked on fitness tracking wearable devices but decided not to bring them to market.

Source: New York Times, Wall Street Journal

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