iWatch rumors: UV light exposure sensor, August-September release

iWatch concept (Heart rate and Messages, Gabor Balogh 001)

Apple’s rumored wearable device, dubbed by the press the iWatch, is said to include a plethora of sensors to help measure not only a user’s vital signs and blood oximetry levels but also stuff like the amount of harmful ultraviolet light you’ve been exposed to – presumably in order to ping you when you’ve had enough – according to a new research note from Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis.

This should help both folks with elevated risk of sunburn and those who are simply concerned about excessive sun exposure. And if you ask Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, Apple has been lining up suppliers for months now and is targeting a third-quarter launch, around the August-September timeframe…

AppleInsider relays the analyst note mentioning the UV light exposure sensor:

These chips measure UV exposure to aid those with elevated risk of sunburn or just a general concern about excessive sun exposure, and we believe they may be of appealing [sic] to OEMs looking to differentiate in a crowded market.

The sensors should be supplied by Austin, Texas-based Silicon Labs.

Conveniently enough, the firm in February unveiled a remarkably small UV light exposure sensor, the industry’s first single-chip digital UV index sensors. Silicon Labs says the sensor is “ideal for activity-tracking wrist and arm bands, smart watches and smartphone handsets.”

Not only can the chip/sensor track your UV sun exposure, it will also take measurements of a user’s heart/pulse rates and blood oximetry. But that’s not all, the solution includes ambient light and infrared proximity sensing capabilities for health and fitness applications and provides proximity/gesture control for wearable products.

According to Silicon Labs:

Conventional UV sensors combine UV-sensitive photodiodes with an external microcontroller (MCU), analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and signal processing firmware. Silicon Labs is the first to combine all of this functionality into a single-chip solution offered in an exceptionally small 2 mm x 2 mm package that helps reduce the design’s footprint and bill of material cost.

Sounds like a fit for the iWatch, don’t you think?

And if you believe the rumor-mill and have been following Apple’s aggressive hirings in the medical field, the iWatch should also measure your sleep activity, perspiration levels and skin temperature, among other things.

iWatch concept (teaser 001)

As for the expected launch timeframe, DigiTimes passes along a report by Taiwan’s Economic Daily News [Google Translation] which cites supply chain sources as claiming that the iWatch will launch in the third quarter of this year.

Apple is rumored to unveil its wearable device iWatch in the third quarter and will target 65 million units in shipments for 2014.

Apple’s contract manufacturer Quanta Computer will assemble the product (as previously reported), TPK will provide the device’s sapphire touch panel and Richtek Technology (a new Apple supplier) will provide some chips.

Predictably, Apple is said to design the iWatch’s processor in-house, with the actual chip production outsourced to Samsung.

If the firm is really gearing up to launch the iWatch in a few month’s time, expect an announcement at WWDC 2014 which kicks off with a keynote on June 2, 2014.

Moreover, the developer-only event should give us a preview of iOS 8 and its rumored Healthbook application, the next major iteration to Apple’s desktop operating system and other goodies.

iWatch concept image by 3D artist Gábor Balogh.