June 22, 2014
Apple iWatch Reportedly Due Out This Fall, Will Come In Multiple Versions
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Apple’s long-anticipated iWatch line of smartwatches will be officially unveiled this fall, and there will be multiple versions with various screen sizes and designs, sources familiar with the company’s plans told the Wall Street Journal on Friday.According to the newspaper’s Daisuke Wakabayashi, Eva Dou and Lorraine Luk, the sources report that the devices will include at least 10 sensors that will record various health and fitness-related data for the person wearing it. They added that production of the devices should begin within the next eight to 12 weeks.
Both the Wall Street Journal and Reuters cite sources as stating that the devices will be manufactured by Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Quanta. The latter’s sources also said that the smartwatches should be ready to hit store shelves in October, and that Apple currently anticipates shipping 50 million units of the device within the first year.
Furthermore, Reuters writer Michael Gold reported in an article published by the Huffington Post that the so-called “iWatch” (the official name of the device has not yet been revealed) will feature a somewhat rectangular display, a slightly-protruding watch face and creates an arched shape, a touchscreen interface and wireless charging capabilities.
Another source told the news organization that the exclusive supplier of the screens for the initial production run will be LG Display, and that the device will include a sensor that will monitor the user’s pulse. Heptagon, a Singapore-based maker of sensors and imaging technology, will reportedly handle that feature. Apple, Quanta, LG and Heptagon all declined Gold’s request for comment.
“The presence of health-monitoring sensors in the iWatch could suggest integration with Apple’s Health, a new app designed to collate a user’s health and fitness data in one place announced as part of new operating system iOS 8,” explained Rhiannon Williams of the Telegraph.
“The company also recently opened several sapphire glass plants in partnership with GT Advanced Technologies; a synthetically grown crystal currently used in the iPhone 5s’ home button and camera lens cover,” she added. “Such heavy investment in the material, which is second only to diamond in its hardness, has fueled speculation they’re planning to use the material in larger quantities for a new product.”
However, as the Associated Press (AP) explains, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant is entering a crowded market. Samsung, Sony and Qualcomm are among the Apple competitors that have already released smartwatches, although those gadgets typically serve as companions to smartphones by offering emails, clock functions and other features. However, the Samsung Gear 2 products released earlier this year include a heart-rate sensor and fitness apps.
“Building wearables so far has proven a challenge, at least in terms of making something that sells with the kind of volume that makes them worthwhile for a company like Apple,” explained Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch. He suggests that the iPhone and iPad manufacturer could turn to sports marketing, celebrity endorsements and the marketing prowess of their recently-acquired Beats headphones division for help in moving this new product.
“There is no evidence that a smartwatch will pack people into stores, Apple-made or not. But there’s plenty of evidence to suggest an Apple-built sports and fitness/fashion accessory will sell and sell well,” he added. “Apple wouldn’t be the only company trying to use fashion as a selling point for wearables, but it might be the one with the best angle yet.”
WEARABLE TECH IS COMING. LEARN ABOUT IT HERE: Your Essential Guide To Wearables 2.0: Discover The Buzz And Intrigue Of Smart Glasses, Watches, Health & Fitness Devices, Clothes And Jewellery!