Apple is rumored to be working on smartphones and peripheral devices that you can wear, just like the iPod Nano watch. These devices would let you view data, send data back to your phone, and prevent you having to stare at your phone’s screen constantly.
Wearable technology isn’t exactly new – there were devices even before the iPod Nano watch – but it is much more useful than it used to be. People have theorized and even developed wearable bracelets and watches that vibrate and display your incoming call, or send your heart rate to your smartphone for logging. The two problems that cropped up are range of communication, which the ubiquity of smartphones has helped to solve, and battery life. With Apple using Bluetooth 4.0, there are quite a few possibilities now that battery life isn’t completely compromised.
The New York Times’ Bits blog has made the claim that Apple has been working hard at making functional technology wearable.
Apple has also experimented with prototype products that could relay information back to the iPhone. These conceptual products could also display information on other Apple devices, like an iPod, which Apple is already encouraging us to wear on our wrists by selling Nanos with watch faces.
A person with knowledge of the company’s plans told me that a “very small group of Apple employees” had been conceptualizing and even prototyping some wearable devices.
Bits goes on to describe a curved-glass iPod that could be worn on the wrist like a watch and could be interacted with using Siri. MacRumors points out that Apple hired Richard DeVaul last year. DeVaul is an expert on wearable computing, but after only 18 months, he moved on to Google, possibly working on a similar project. Google has apparently also been hard at work.
In Google’s secret Google X labs, researchers are working on peripherals that — when attached to your clothing or body — would communicate information back to an Android smartphone.
People familiar with the work in the lab say Google has hired electronic engineers from Nokia Labs, Apple and engineering universities who specialize in tiny wearable computers.
We may finally see some long-theorized ideas hit the market. Would you wear a peripheral that communicated with your smartphone? What if your phone was your watch?