By Jim Karpen on Mon, 06/09/2014
The blogosphere was buzzing with rumors about the so-called iWatch on Friday, with a news report on Nikkei Asian Review saying Apple was planning to come out with a wearable device and a report on Re/Code saying Apple's tentative launch date for the device will be October. In addition, the Nikkei report, citing industry sources, also said that Apple is confident in the market for the device and is planning to manufacture 3–5 million units per month. The design is currently being finalized and it will likely have a curved LED display. Plus, it's expected to have a focus on health, and will be able to track things such as calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood glucose, and blood oxygen levels.
The article says the Apple device is expected to communicate with one's iPhone, such that, for example, incoming alerts and text messages will appear on the display, much like other smart wearables such as the Pebble watch.
Given Apple's launch of HealthKit and the Health app, the arrival of an iWatch or other wearable isn't too surprising, especially given Apple's partnership with Nike, and Nike's recent decision to stop developing the popular Nike FuelBand.The Nikkei article doesn't actually use the term "iWatch", which was created by the rumor mill, and it will be interesting to see how Apple positions the device. CEO Tim Cook has pointed out that young people don't wear watches, yet he's also explicitly said that Apple is interested in wearables. Plus, he's known to be a fan (and user) of the FuelBand.
What would the device look like? I'm betting it will look more like a band than a watch, such as the rendering accompanying this post that comes from AppleInsider. My sense is that a band would be more stylish. And if the face is long and narrow, then it would almost necessitate its being curved, as the rumor suggests.
The Nikkei article points out that health-monitoring devices and services have been around for a while but haven't really taken off. This could be yet another instance in which Apple jumps into a market that already exists and transforms it by making a device that is more intuitive and that people love. There were many brands of MP3 players before the iPod, but once Apple jumped in, the market exploded. And most of the other brands disappeared in Apple's wake.