By Jim Karpen updated on 02/13/2013
Forget the image that jumps into your mind of a standard wristwatch with a glass face connected to a band. Instead, imagine this: flexible, paper-like glass wrapping around your wrist, with a display encompassing the entire band. According to an article in The New York Times Sunday, Apple is working on just such a device: a wristwatch-like iOS device made of curved glass called iWatch.
The “smartwatch” is now possible thanks to the invention of Willow Glass by Corning. When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, its most remarkable innovation was using the entire face as the display. Why not do same thing with a watch? Apple’s use of iOS and curved glass should make the iWatch stand out among competitors.
The article doesn't say what such a device might do. I suspect it could have similar functionality to a smartphone, including Siri, maps, messaging, mobile payments, and more. It seems inevitable Apple will eventually come out with a wearable computer, and a wrist-based device would make sense. The NY Times article notes Apple CEO Tim Cook’s affinity for wearable devices, and also cites past reports that Apple has been working on an iWatch.
Adding fuel to the rumor, AppleInsider reports on a piece in Sunday's Wall Street Journal saying Apple's major manufacturing partner in China, Foxconn, is currently working on technologies that could be used in an iWatch. And Cook has said Apple has some exciting new products in the pipeline. A wearable computer might be one of them.
In addition to iWatch rumors, speculation continues regarding an iPhone 5S, with reports saying Apple could begin preliminary builds of the device as early as next month. The consensus is that such a device will likely appear in June. Purported photos of production of the device were posted on a Chinese technology site last week and have been reposted by AppleInsider. If they're authentic, and there's some doubt, the main thing they suggest is that Apple will be using a different vibration motor in the iPhone 5S, following complaints that the vibrator in the iPhone 5 is noisy.
Also, there continue to be rumors of a low-cost iPhone coming in June, probably intended for countries such as Brazil, Russia, China, and India. The source is Topeka Capital, an investment research firm that claims to have uncovered evidence of various-sized, lighter iPhones with a plastic case. In addition to the plastic lowering the cost, there would also be savings via the use of more affordable components for the display, memory, wireless technology, camera, and processor.