Rumors of an impending Apple TV have long reached a boiling point. From analysts claiming that Apple has no choice but to release such a product, to supposed product leaks from manufacturers and potential OEMs.
In the last week, however, those rumors have taken a backseat to the idea that Apple is developing a wearable computer. Wearable computing may well be the Next Big Thing, with various companies already jumping in. Notably, Pebble – the popular Kickstarter-funded smartwatch – recently began shipping out to backers, and received favorable reviews. In addition, Google has already announced an ambitious new project, currently going by the “Google Glasses” moniker. There have been previous rumors that Microsoft is also interested in the space.
With that background, it seems almost impossible that Apple wouldn’t at least be looking at a wearable computing device. According to some fairly prestigious news outlets, it seems that Apple’s interest in such devices revolves around the wrist (how’s that for a pun?). The rumored iWatch is far from official, but The New York Times has thrown its rather formidable weight behind it. Nick Bilton writes:
In its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass, according to people familiar with the company’s explorations, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they are not allowed to publicly discuss unreleased products. Such a watch would operate on Apple’s iOS platform, two people said, and stand apart from competitors based on the company’s understanding of how such glass can curve around the human body.
Apple experiments with a lot of different technologies – any company does. However, if devices like Nike’s Fuel band and the Pebble smartwatch are any indication, wearable computing may be picking up some serious steam. Apple’s positioning in the smartphone and computing markets may place it in a position that makes this game their own to lose. Certain features, such as using the device as a type of physical passcode, would only be possible for someone with control of both software and hardware.
It is unclear how far along in its development a device such as this would be; rumors are rarely an indicator of an announcement or launch timeframe. However, it does seem as if this “iWatch” has the marking of a real Apple product.