The iWatch Fever -
Apple has secretly revealed that they will be announcing a new iWatch smartwatch at WWDC 2013. Cleverly hidden within their recently released WWDC banner are components that look interestingly similar to several competitor smartwatch watch faces. Couple that with Tim Cook’s tease of “exciting new product categories” and suggestion that the new products will be announced in the 4th quarter, and the writing is clearly on the wall … and it spells iWatch. This new “squeeze-metal” technology would be perfect for turning the iWatch housing and/or band into a user interface, particularly since useable surface area will be limited on the diminutive iWatch.
The US Patent and Trademark Office published a new Apple Patent Application for what appears to be an Apple iWatch resembling a smartwatch slap bracelet. Apple has filed trademark applications for use of the term iWatch in Jamaica and Russia, receiving a priority registration date of December 3, 2012.
Whether or not Apple is successful in trademarking the term iWatch, it appears as if Apple is poised to release a smartwatch into the wild before long. Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has reportedly received an order to produce 1,000 iWatch trial units for beta-testing. If this is true, and Apple is entering the smartwatch beta testing phase, an iWatch would likely be released within the next 12 months. In addition, several Apple technology sites have begun to see iWatch apparitions in the WWDC 2013 banner. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has already discussed the iWatch with manufacturing partner Foxconn, and is making preparations for a limited production run. If true, this indicates that, at a minimum, a preliminary design has been developed and approved and is ready for testing.
Described as a “wearable video device”, the band contains a flexible display, an integrated circuit for driving the flexible display, a processor, RAM, ROM, a wireless communications antenna, a speaker, a battery, and a data and power connector. When considered in concert with rumors of Apple’s 1.5″ square OLED display tests, the described flexible display band may be implemented concurrently with a larger traditional display. Alternatively, Apple may be considering a Smartwatch line with multiple entry points, such as is employed with its iPod offerings.
Apple is reportedly testing a 1.5″ OLED display for the iWatch according to the Economic Daily Times. A 1.8″ OLED display from RiTdisplay was initially being tested, but was ultimately rejected as Apple thought the screen was too large. Apple’s iOS 7 adds enhanced Bluetooth Smart Ready support tailored specifically for wearable computing devices. Accordingly, it is likely that the Apple iWatch will incorporate a Bluetooth 4.O Low Energy radio. No information has been discovered, as of yet, with regard to potential iWatch specifications. However, Apple’s “slap bracelet” patent describes a processor, RAM, ROM, a wireless communications antenna, and a speaker, but without specificity. Rumblings on the street set the iWatch estimated price at $399 for a basic model. However, these are simply educated industry guesses based upon very little gathered information. We have not seen it yet, but it is coming and the first revolutionary wearable computing product will likely be the iWatch.