While the year 2012 did not see the release of Google’s futuristic glasses-based augmented reality product, interest in the field of ‘wearable technology‘ is undoubtedly still at the level it was 12 months ago, as rumours surrounding Apple claim that 2013 will be the year that the American giants create a ‘connected watch’ to add to their collection of products.
The wristwear would hopefully have the main function that it is supposed to, though rumours are suggesting that the ‘iWatch’ will also have the selling points of a ‘one-and-a-half-inch touchscreen’, a new form of ‘low-power Bluetooth technology’, Siri voice control integration, and Intel chips, amongst other developments, though rumoured ‘features’ for the phone are currently unknown’.
The industry of ‘smartwatches’ has had a turbulent past so far, with Microsoft launching a product to little acclaim and Pebble’s Kickstarter-funded effort that raised $10m to create a watch using an Apple interface, though it seems as if Apple are looking to make an impact on the relatively untouched market
Venturebeat were one of the sites to give prominent comment on the matter, as John Koetsier wrote of the rumours (started by Chinese blog TGBUS): “It needs to be much more than a watch, and much more than a way to communicate with the device that is already just a few inches away in your pocket. Would the company that reinvented the computer, the phone, and the way we consume media be aiming so low?”
iMore writer Rene Ritchie gave more positive notes on the iWatch plans: “Given the popularity of the nano-as-watch, and of other connected watch-style devices, like the television, it’s hard to imagine that Apple doesn’t have a project or prototype or several in the labs. Also like the television, that’s a far cry from going to market with an final, polished product.”
It is unclear how an official Apple product would affect start-up company Pebble’s chances of breaking into the market, though the money they have raised suggests that there is plenty of support on the funding website for the project described as: “…The first watch built for the 21st century. It’s infinitely customizable, with beautiful downloadable watchfaces and useful internet-connected apps. Cyclists can use Pebble as a bike computer, accessing the GPS on your smartphone to display speed, distance and pace data. Runners get a similar set of data displayed on their wrist. Use the music control app to play, pause or skip tracks on your phone with the touch of a button.”
While there would be strong likelihood of an Apple-branded glorified digital watch being as shockingly priced as some of the upmarket ‘bling’ analogue timekeepers, there will undoubtedly be a good list of connected features to promote the device, but would it be just another small modification and downsizing of to an item (Apple ‘handheld device’) seen plenty of times before from the company? But if it does go ahead, after their iOS-related controversy last year, what are the chances that Apple avoid the route of using any esteemed Swiss timekeeping methods in their planned new product?