iWatch will reportedly run a full version of iOS rather than reusing iPod nano’s proprietary touch operating system, that already had some smartwatch functionality built-in. This of course makes sense because many of the rumored iWatch features like HealthKit, HomeKit and Siri are already built into iOS.
- Siri would naturally be a critical part of the iWatch interface, and Apple is working on making it intelligent-enough to automatically decide what appears on the iWatch’s small screen based on the current scenario.
- Given the importance of health, it’s a good guess that HealthKit would be tightly integrated with the iWatch, so that all your health and fitness data obtained from iWatch sensors can be collected in the iOS 8 Health app.
- The iWatch could also support Apple’s new HomeKit framework for home automation.
- Reports have said that the iWatch could be used to make calls, see caller ID with the help of an iPhone. Apple will reportedly add an NFC chip to pair the iWatch with the iPhone 6, and features like phone calls etc. can then be taken care of by iOS 8’s new Handoff technology.
- Google’s Android Wear smart watches primarily serve as a companion accessory to smartphones, that can let you view and take action on notifications. We expect similar functionality to be baked into the iWatch as well.
The iWatch will have a flexible OLED display, and will be available in 1.3-inch and 1.5-inch variants. Reports say the device would have 512MB of RAM and 8GB of storage. While Bluetooth Low Energy is expected to be the way the iWatch will communicate with other iOS devices, reports also say that the device might feature an NFC chip.
Battery & Charging
One key concern Apple is said to have is the iWatch’s battery life. The company wants the device to run 4-5 days on a single charge, but early prototypes of the device discharged in just two days.
Reports say the iWatch will come with a 100 mAh battery, and will include a wireless charging capabilities that will allow the device to be charged from up to a meter range. Apple tried solar charging as an option as well, but the experiment failed. Apple employees are setting low expectations for iWatch battery life, given that it houses so many sensors and chips but a relatively small battery.
Since health and fitness is a relatively new area for Apple, the company has been aggressively hiring sleep researchers, fitness, biometric, sensor and fashion experts. Here’s some of Apple’s high profile hires:
- Roy J.E.M Raymann, a sleep researcher who was formerly employed by Philips
- Marcelo Lamego, former CTO of a company specialising in non-invasive patient monitoring technologies
- Bob Masfield, the Apple exec who was brought back to Apple soon after he resigned is leading the iWatch team
- Former Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch will be overlooking iWatch software
- Apple has a team of 100 product designers, led by Jony Ive, working on iWatch hardware
- Paul Deneve, the former CEO of French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent will reportedly help Apple sell wearable devices like the iWatch
- The company was also seeking physiologists for designing and running user studies related to cardiovascular fitness and energy expenditure
- Apple has also tried partnering with, and poaching employees from Swiss watchmakers
Availability & Pricing
It’s next to confirmed that the iWatch will be launched during Apple’s September 9th media event, but it won’t go on sale until early next year. This is one of the reasons why we haven’t seen as many iWatch supply chain leaks as the iPhone 6. The device is reportedly still in the Engineering Verification Test stage.
Recent reports suggest that the high-end iWatch could be priced around the $400 mark. Apple has also explored partnerships with health insurance companies to subsidise the cost of iWatch, just like carriers subsidise iPhone purchases.
We expect Apple to reveal a ton of info about the iWatch during its launch next week, so don’t forget to join our Facebook Fan page, follow us on Twitter, add us to your circles on Google+, subscribe to our RSS feed or our Daily Newsletter for the latest updates.