WSJ: Apple testing iWatch designs with Foxconn

By , Feb 10, 2013

iPhone Wrist (Yrving Torrealba 001)

The New York Times tech columnist Nick Bilton has recycled his December 2011 story of a curved-glass iPod, now claiming in a new piece published this morning that a wearable computer by Apple is actually in the works. An iWatch apparently runs iOS, the story has it, and will stand apart from competition based on Apple’s “understanding of how such glass can curve around the human body”.

Not to be outdone by its chief competitor, the credulous Wall Street Journal just issued its own iWatch report corroborating Bilton’s article and adding a few tidbits of its own…

Jessica E. Lessin, reporting for the Journal:

Apple Inc. 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.

The article goes on to note that Foxconn’s been working on a spate of technologies that could be used in wearable devices.

In particular, the Taiwan-based company has been working to address the challenges of making displays more battery-efficient and working with chip manufacturers to strip down their products. The technologies are aimed at multiple Foxconn customers, this person said.

Conveniently enough, DigiTimes reported in May 2011 that Apple bought expensive glass-cutting machines.

Last August, NetworkWorld reported Apple had been experimenting with a curved-glass iPhone but ditched the idea because it cost a lot to cut shaped glass.

The technology at the time had a lot to do with it. The qualities of the glass at the time had a lot to do with it. These are models – I’m trying to remember a time frame – that were before gorilla glass and before a lot of the other factors.

The technology in shaping the glass, the cost relative to shaping the glass at the time, and some of the design features of this specific shape were not liked.

Hopefully the iWatch won’t look anything like this crazypants concept by CiccareseDesign.

Curved glass iPod (Federico Ciccarese 003)

The prospect of a wearable iOS device that you’d strap around your wrist sounds almost too good to be true.

TechCrunch columnist MG Siegler wonders on his blog what this rumored device might mean for Apple CEO Tim Cook’s position on Nike’s board of directors.

Tim Cook wearing Nike FuelBand
Apple’s boss wearing a Nike Fuelband.
Cook also has a seat on Nike’s board of directors.

Siegler speculates how Cook might find himself in an uneasy situation similar to Google’s then CEO Eric Schmidt who used to have a seat on Apple’s board and had to preclude himself from any meeting where the iPhone project was being discussed.

At first, Schmidt would recuse himself from the parts of meetings where the iPhone was being discussed (once Google’s Android plans were revealed).

Then the conflict became too great. And this eventually led to him stepping down (or being pushed) from the board. Maybe Nike doesn’t view the FuelBand as a massive business to be protected right now, but down the road…

Last December, a sketchy report claimed Apple was collaborating with Intel on a Bluetooth smartwatch with a 1.5-inch display that would debut sometime in 2013.

Until Apple makes its move, we’ll have to do with multitouch watch kits for the previous-generation iPod nano.

Check out this TikTok+LunaTik accessory.

As I opined in my article titled “Why an Apple smart watch is a smart idea”, if done right, an iWatch would represent the realization of a Star Trek Communicator-like wearable computer.

In fact, both iWatch and iTV increasingly look to be Apple’s next disruptive products.

So if both a standalone badass television set and a wristwatch from Apple are coming, you have to ask yourself who the new tiny and huge form factor fit in the existing iDevice ecosystem.

Thoughts?

Image top of post via Yrving Torrealba.

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  • Frenom

    Take my money .. I want one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcin-Milewski/100000479093750 Marcin Milewski

    I will definitely buy one! If the price will be right. I mean 300 USD would be ok.

    • JamesR624

      A watch? Try $150, MAX.

      • BrawlBro1

        More like $99. I wouldn’t waste $150 or higher for a watch.

        @Marcin Milewski – Why pay $300 when you could buy an iPod touch (which is far superior to a watch)? You must be rich or spoiled.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jamess0000 Jaime Alan Mendez Castro

        i think 99 woul be a great price i dont think they would make it more expensive than an apple tv… also it doesnt need flash memory or anthing like that could make it expensive

      • Jimothy

        It would really just depend on it’s device status. If it were a stand alone device, yes, it would probably be around $300. However, as and accessory, it could be from $50-$100.

      • http://twitter.com/brooksbrooks104 brooks whiffen seale

        I’d pay 150 if I could use siri and it had a speaker phone and could display text messages and connect to my phone.

      • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.m.simon Stephen Michael Simon

        Just paid $150 for my Pebble!

      • chimp

        $50 lolz

  • a smit

    lol looks absoluetly retarded – maybe some rabid tech-freak teenager with nothing better to do would wear something like this – but you wouldn’t catch me wearing anything like that … (especially that hand thing … LOLWTF!)

  • Zorvage

    Just imagine wrapping your iPhone around your wrist in stead of putting it in your pocket :O that would be SOO innovative :P

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see… Apple do have the uncanny ability to bring product that we think we don’t need, but can’t live without after we used it..

  • http://twitter.com/llzzzzll1833 店长喵γ

    Cool, but the battery life cannot support the screen always on.

    • Jimothy

      It’ll probably either dim or auto lock like the current iDevices do.

  • http://twitter.com/DoctorSharath Sharath Rajagopalan

    So I imagine its going to be solar powered or something? And syncs Wirelessly to iTunes? I just cannot imagine a Lightning Connector emerging from the watch.

    • Jimothy

      Apple currently holds legal rights to wireless charging. It would probably use that, along with either just syncing to the phone or over wireless with iTunes.

  • Jimothy

    I’ll take twenty!

  • JamesR624

    So now the truth comes out. Google didn’t “steal” ANYTHING with android, all that BS about Google’s Chairman “stealing secrets from the iPhone project” we’re made up, Steve was just being an anti-competive ass, and that famous quote from him about android being a stolen project was all lies.

    I already knew this, but now I can confirm I was right and have a point of reference whenever I encounter another Apple Fanboy. (Not to be confused with regular decent Apple fans that just enjoy their products and let people have their preferences.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/yuvraj.wadhwani Yuvraj Wadhwani

    if the iWatch is real, then it would be an awesome remote for the iTV.

  • Hyr3m

    Fugly, obstrusive and retarded… If you want a good watch, buy an automatic Swiss watch. If you want a smart one, get a pebble. Until apple beats pebble (that’s not gonna happen) they will fail at the wrist-worn device.

  • phatmanjr.

    Highest, I’ll pay is $200-$250.

  • pattaboy

    Shut up and take my money.. no I think apple will call it the iclock or something like that.. and I hope they will use the bendable amoled screens since they are super green and use less power…

  • FlamingOzone

    I wonder if you can jailbreak…..

    • Dr.cheesieman

      Pod2g or planetbeing would hack it in days!

  • Dr.cheesieman

    Hhhmmm. Cydia packages on a wristwatch. Get ready evaders, you’ve got work ahead of you!!

  • Z3r0ViP

    please… not the current iOS..

  • riad haydar

    Can’t wait for this , i will pay 150$ max

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=518629390 Rachel Rotz

    Apple rarely disappoints! I’d be surprised to see this fail. As personal computing becomes smaller, people may not want to carry a hand phone anymore. If you wear a watch, why bother with a phone? Actually, I see watches becoming increasingly smaller as well. Why not wear one on your lapel or clip it on a hand bag? The options are limitless. Personal computers are so abundant these days. When one needs more computing power, printing, or a larger screen, he or she has access to laptops, home workstations, and office computers. Apple will workout a good design that surprises and delights!