According to a report in The New York Times, Apple’s working on a curved glass smartwatch, based on technology developed by Corning, the company that currently supplies the Gorilla Glass used in iOS devices.
From NYT’s report:
In its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass, according to people familiar with the company’s explorations.
Such a watch would operate Apple’s iOS platform, two people said, and stand apart from competitors based on the company’s understanding of how such glass can curve around the human body.
A smartwatch obviously has a lot of potential for integration with Apple’s pretty strong iOS and Mac ecosystem. Siri, Passbook, Bluetooth 4.0, iMessage, Notification Center, all are possible avenues for making the Apple ecosystem even stronger. This is even more obvious as third-party smartwatches like Pebble appear in the market, showing how even with Apple’s restrictions, a watch could pull in notifications, messages, calls from the iPhone.
Apple’s in fact already ventured into the wearable computing space, albeit unintentionally, through the iPod nano, which spawned a new category of accessories that transformed the device into a wristwatch.
Apple’s execs are also deeply fascinated by connected wearable devices, the report adds:
Mr. Cook is clearly interested in wearables. In the past he has been seen sporting a Nike FuelBand, which tracks a user’s daily exertion. The FuelBand data is shared wirelessly with an iPhone app.
Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president for technologies, who previously ran hardware engineering, has also been particularly interested in wearables, an Apple employee said. Mr. Mansfield is engrossed by devices that connect to the iPhone, through Bluetooth, sharing information back-and-forth from the human body to the phone, including the Nike FuelBand and Jawbone Up.
Perhaps the best tidbit from the whole story, though, is this:
In a meeting in his office before he died, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and former chief executive, told John Markoff of The New York Times that if he had more energy, he would have liked to take on Detroit with an Apple car.
Wall Street Journal also reports that Apple is testing watch-like device:
Apple is experimenting with designs for a watch-like device that would perform some functions of a smartphone, according to people briefed on the effort.
The company has discussed such a device with its major manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., one of these people said, as part of explorations of potentially large product categories beyond the smartphone and tablet. [..]
Foxconn, as Hon Hai is also known, has been working on a spate of technologies that could be used in wearable devices, one of these people said. In particular, the Taiwan-based company has been working to address the challenges of making displays more power-efficient and working with chip manufacturers to strip down their products. The technologies are aimed at multiple Foxconn customers, this person said.
Current iOS users would find a lot of value in a device that’s strapped around the wrist and grabs notifications and other information that you’d normally have to pull out your iPhone. But how much would you be willing to pay for it?