iWatch Rumor roundup: Everything we know about Apple’s wearable

iPhone 6 inspired iWatch concept - 6
Apple sent out invites for its September 9th press event last week, and multiple reports say that the company will unveil its long-rumored wearable product at the event.

The wearable, being dubbed the “iWatch,” will be Apple’s first new product category to be launched under Tim Cook, who took over after the death of cofounder Steve Jobs. Given all the criticism surrounding Apple’s post-Jobs era, the success or failure of the iWatch will play a critical role in the overall, long term success and narrative of the company.

The iWatch will reportedly be a smartwatch with a focus on health and fitness, thanks to an array of on-board sensors. In this post, we sum up all the iWatch rumors that we’ve heard over the past few months.

Sensors & Health

healthkit-ios8

It’s easy to see Apple’s recent focus to gather more health related data through its public launches. The iPhone 5s came with the M7 motion coprocessor that could count steps and derive other motion related data without consuming a lot of power. And a few months back, Apple also released HealthKit, and a Health app as a part of iOS 8 that will aggregate health related data from various apps and services.

Apple will continue to focus on health with the iWatch, which will come with an array of sensors, that will in turn feed data to the Health app. The sensors would measure heart rate, footsteps, blood glucose levels, sleep patterns and a lot of other parameters. Some reports even say that the device would have a UV Light sensor to measure UV sun exposure and blood oximetry.

Apple has also met the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), possibly to talk about regulatory pathways with medical devices and apps, and if the set of features planned will be outside FDA’s oversight.

Form Factor & Size

According to reports, the iWatch will come in two variants, one with a 1.3-inch display while the other with a 1.5-inch display. The device will have a curved, flexible OLED display protected by Sapphire glass to make it tough.

Apple’s putting in a lot of effort to ensure that the internals like the sensors and chips take minimal space. iWatch internals will reportedly be “about the size of a postage stamp.”

Software

iwatch messages

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.

Hardware

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

ipad air battery feature

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.

iWatch Team

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:

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 pagefollow us on Twitteradd us to your circles on Google+, subscribe to our RSS feed or our Daily Newsletter for the latest updates.