Apple will reportedly release a new wearable computing device this year.
It will be Apple’s first major new product in an entirely new product category since it released the iPad in 2010. In the four years since the iPad launched, a lot has changed for Apple.
With Steve Jobs dead, this new gadget will be Apple’s first opportunity to show that it can flourish without its visionary founder. As former Apple ad man Ken Segal put it, the release of this product will be new CEO Tim Cook’s chance to etch his name in history.
Of course, the flip side of that is that if this product is a flop, then Apple sceptics will be out in force, saying the company is toast without Jobs.
A lot of companies have tried to introduce smart watches recently — Samsung, Motorola, LG — and yet none have really gained any traction.
Will Apple be different? Or will this be the first major flop from Apple since Jobs returned to the company in the late nineties?
Ahead of Apple’s announcement, here’s everything we know — or think we know — about what Apple is planning.
What will it be called? Everyone is saying 'iWatch' which sounds likely. Apple has trademarked 'iWatch' in five countries. There's also talk that it could be called the 'iBand,' which also makes sense if it's just a wearable fitness device.
So far, there is no definitive answer about what the iWatch's screen will look like.
Reuters reported, 'Apple will introduce a smartwatch with a display that likely measures 2.5 inches diagonally and is slightly rectangular.'
But Brian Blair of Rosenblatt Securities was in Asia and said it will have a round face.
Who to believe? In general, we would side with Reuters, which has a track record of being right. But a 2.5-inch screen would be big and bulky. A round face makes sense since Apple has started making more round icons in iOS, its mobile operating system.
For now, this is a toss up! We lean rectangle since it makes more sense.
Apple is reportedly planning multiple models of the iWatch, presumably for men and women. Current smart watches are one size fits all, and they tend to look silly on slender wrists.
What exactly will it do? The iWatch will supposedly be very fitness oriented. It will track steps taken, hydration levels, sweat, and heart rate. It will probably also tie with the iPhone to deliver notifications and updates.
A recent report also says it will be able to do mobile payments, so you might be able to buy stuff with a wave of your hand.
It's going to be loaded with sensors to track your movement. The WSJ said the iWatch 'will include more than 10 sensors including ones to track health and fitness.'
Apple has been poaching all sorts of fashion and luxury brand people for the iWatch, so it should be stylish.
Here's a quick run down:
A quick look at the medical experts, via Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac:
Roy J.E.M. Raymann, an expert in sleep research. His LinkedIn bio doesn't list him as an Apple employee, but it does say this: 'Main topic of research is states of performance and how to optimise rest and activity. Why are some people able to perform at peak level for weeks in a row? What is the difference to be able to perform and willing to perform. What is the role of sleep, motivation, physiology. How can we optimise sleep?'
Ueyn Block, who came from C8 MediSensors. It seems like C8 Medisensors shut down. It was developing a continuous, non-invasive glucose measuring system. C8 was working on a product that you wore and it gave a read out every 8-10 minutes. Block was an engineer at the company.
Todd Whitehurst, hardware director at Senseonics. Senseonics is also working on a wearable glucose monitoring system. It works with a smartphone to provide data for a user.
Dr. Michael O'Reilly, formerly chief medical officer at a company called Masimo. Masimo developed hardware that worked with the iPhone to measure your pulse. The company says of itself, '(Masimo) develops and manufactures innovative noninvasive patient monitoring technologies, including medical devices and a wide array of sensors.'
Nancy Dougherty, of Sano Intelligence. Gurman says of Dougherty, her past work 'included a health metric-reading wearable patch and ingestible, Bluetooth-connected smart pills for monitoring dosages and scheduling.' At Sano, Gurman says she was developing a wearable sensor system.
Ravi Narasimhan, formerly in R&D for Vital Connect. Vital Connect makes monitors you stick on your skin to track your health. Gurman says Narasimhan focused on 'measuring respiration and activity levels and wearable medical devices.'
Marcelo Lamego, formerly CTO of Ceracor. According to NetworkWorld, Lamego has 70 patents, developed a hemoglobin monitor for Ceracor