Rumors

iWatch/iBand

  • Smart watch

  • Flexible display? Curved glass?

  • Could use iOS

Very little is known about Apple’s rumored smart watch, sometimes referred to as the iWatch. While it’s not out of the question that iWatch could be the name of the product, we wouldn’t be surprised to see something closer to iBand — something that acknowledges there’s far more to the product than merely telling time — if the “i” prefix is involved at all. That being said, Apple has filed for an iWatch trademark in a number of countries.

What the iWatch/iBand will do is purely speculation at this point. One report referred to it as a “wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad.” It’s reasonable to expect that such a device would be able to perform the same functions as other smart watches — text and call alerts, controls for music or other devices, and some kind of fitness monitor, among many other possibilities.

The look of the device is another mystery. Many observers expect some kind of curved glass or flexible display, though Apple glass supplier Corning said its flexible Willow glass probably won’t be usable in such displays for about three years. A patent application published in February illustrates a watch-like device with a flexible display that can lock into two positions. If Willow glass is not practical for the first-generation version, we’d guess that Apple will use a different curved glass in the initial iteration.

Other rumors:

Apple is aiming for a battery life of four to five days between charges, but has apparently run into trouble getting the battery to last for more than a full day. Our editors are seriously concerned about the product’s battery life, and see it as an issue that will likely undermine the value of the product. Apple has filed a patent application for a flexible battery pack that could possibly be used in a watch.

The device will use iOS. While we believe that this is entirely plausible, the power consumption of iOS-ready processors strikes us as one of the most serious design challenges facing the iWatch.

Some reports suggest that this is Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive’s pet project. Another report stated that former Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch could be working on the device with a team of former iPod engineers. Conceivably, both could be true.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the device won’t be seen until late 2014, as Apple isn’t ready to develop the iOS platform into a watch, and the necessary components for mass production will be scarce. Other reports have also alluded to a late-2014 release date.

The Korea Herald reported the iWatch could come in two sizes — with a 1.7-inch OLED screen for men, and a 1.3-inch OLED screen for women. Though it seems strange that Apple would separate the devices into gender, the idea of two sizes for the device is certainly feasible.

A report from China’s C Technology claims the device will support wireless charging.

  • iWatch/iBand

    An Apple patent application revealed a "wearable accessory device" with a flexible display that could snap into two positions, much like a slap band.

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