Battery life is critical to widespread consumer adoption of the Apple Watch
As an early adopter of all types of technology, I will be among the first to get my hands on an Apple Watch when it launches early next year. There is a lot that Apple looks to have nailed with it, including the typically elegant industrial design, advanced materials and system architecture combined with what looks to be the most evolved smartwatch OS by some margin. The multiple collections and easily swappable bands also make it highly customizable, greatly enhancing its overall appeal. However, the biggest question mark over it at this point is its battery life, which is a potential issue that could be addressed by Apple if it adopts a slightly different tact before launch.
Apple Watch might not be perfect, but neither was the iPhone when it launched
With Apple finally taking the wraps off the long anticipated Apple Watch people have already started to ask whether it is a hit or a miss. While we will reserve our final judgement on the Apple Watch until we are able to put it through some extensive testing, Apple gave the device comprehensive coverage during its September 9 event coupled with lots of information about the Apple Watch on its redesigned website. There is probably enough evidence out there in the cold light of day to start formulating some early thoughts on the device.
Wide range of applications, inventive new user interface
Apple on Tuesday introduced the long-awaited "iWatch," now known as Apple Watch. The device features a scratchproof sapphire screen in its regular edition, with a new "crown" dial on the side that allows users to scroll, zoom and doubles as a "home" button. The user interface is both new and familiar, with iOS overtones but arranged in a more organic way. The device has built-in storage, six different watch bands that are interchangeable, and a new "taptic" engine that offers vibration along with sound alerts.
Major announcements anticipated
Apple is today hosting a special event at the Frank Center in Cupertino. Tune into our live blog to follow along -- the event starts at 10AM Pacific time, or 1PM Eastern. The company is expected to announce new iPhones, the iWatch, and possibly surprises such as a mobile payment system.
Network appears to have been granted insider access, keeping mum for now
Apple plans on making a "groundbreaking" announcement tomorrow, alongside its introduction of new iPhones and a possible "iWatch," according to ABC News. The network plans to run a post-announcement special segment at 6:30PM in most time zones hosted by its lead anchor David Muir -- who has apparently been given special insider access to the event and what Apple has planned. The teaser trailer infers that Muir will be interviewing Apple executives, possibly including CEO Tim Cook.
Battery will allegedly last 'over a day'
A poster on Reddit is claiming to have obtained both CAD schematics and some specific details about the forthcoming iWatch. The schematics include elements like a rectangular shell, a speaker assembly, and a round PCB. As features go, the person says the watch will have a flexible multitouch screen that will "add a new dimension to the UI," and that it will support Siri input via a built-in microphone. The device will allegedly forego physical ports in favor of wireless sync, contributing in part to its being waterproof to a depth of 20 meters (66 feet).
Apple Stores, other locations already equipped for NFC
Apple's NFC-based mobile payments system will use tokenization, sources claim. The technology involves substituting debit and credit card numbers with complex, one-time codes. In theory, this ensures that even if transaction data is intercepted, it can't be used again. Tokens also have potential beyond payments, extending to areas like transit passes or physical security.
Shift in reporter demographic may further herald wearable reveal
Apple's Tuesday launch event is going to be filled not only with tech industry attendees, but fashion columnists as well. According to an assortment of reports, several fashion media publications have, for the first time, received invitations to the Apple event -- which is likely to showcase a new wearable from the Cupertino manufacturer.
Report cautions company could be 'sandbagging'
Sources within Apple have "set low expectations" for the battery life of the iWatch, according to The Information. The unnamed people haven't mentioned any specific details, but it's cautioned that Apple could be "sandbagging" claims in order to make the shipping device seem more impressive. The Information backs recent reports suggesting the watch will be revealed next Tuesday, but only ship in 2015.
Company allegedly assuming some fraud risk
In preparation for its mobile payment technology, Apple has successfully negotiated deals with five major financial institutions -- American Express, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Capital One, and Bank of America -- to lower transaction fees, sources say. One linchpin was convincing them that mobile payments constitute "card present" transactions, which have a lower discount rate than their opposite, owing to lower fraud risk. That card-present rate has been dropped another 15 to 25 basis points however, meaning that Apple should get a roughly 10 percent discount on processing rates.
iWatch to charge wirelessly
The New York Times is corroborating other reports on the iWatch and iPhone 6, and adding some extra details. The iWatch is once again expected to come in two sizes, and offer a mix of health/fitness tracking and smartphone-like functions. Significantly, the paper adds that the watch's display is flexible and protected with sapphire, and that its circuitboard is about the same size as a postage stamp.
Page promises 'a whole lot more' as well
Apple has posted a webpage announcing a live stream of its September 9 press event, and counting down to the hour. "Live video from our special event will be right here. And so will a whole lot more," the page reads. Visitors can quickly add the event to their calendar on platforms that support ICS files.
Apple planning 'tap-to-pay' for mobile devices
The Apple iWatch will come in two sizes, and use a curved OLED display, say sources for the Wall Street Journal. The people add that it will also include a variety of health and fitness sensors, and an NFC chip, like the iPhone 6. "NFC wireless is central to Apple's plans to incorporate so-called tap-to-pay into its mobile devices, allowing users to pay for goods and services using credit cards stored with iTunes," the Journal claims.
Designer claims device means Swiss watch industry is in trouble
(Corrected for proper focus) Apple designer Jonathan Ive is -- privately -- talking up the iWatch, according to a new report. "According to a designer who works at Apple, Jonathan Ive, Apple's design chief, is bragging about how cool he thought the iWatch was shaping up to be, gleefully said Switzerland is in trouble -- though he chose a much bolder term for 'trouble' to express how he thought the watchmaking nation might be in a tough predicament when Apple's watch comes out," writes the New York Times. Apple has yet to formally reveal the iWatch, and typically refuses to confirm or deny unannounced products beyond saying that a particular category might be of interest.
May support accessory not shipping until 2015
Even though some components are beginning to enter production, the iWatch is still in an engineering verification testing (EVT) stage, and has yet to undergo production verification testing (PVT), supply chain sources claim. The latter is needed before going into mass production, and the sources point out that Apple could theoretically change the design of the iWatch beforehand. In any case, it's argued that this supports the idea that the iWatch may not ship until 2015.
Delay said to be analogous to launch of first-gen iPhone
While Apple may show off the iWatch at its September 9 event, the product won't ship for several months, sources tell Re/code's John Paczkowski. He suggests that the product could ship as late as early 2015, missing the critical holiday season. The delay is likened to the first iPhone, which was announced in January 2007 but didn't ship until that summer, although Paczkowski comments that the delay won't necessarily be that long.
Purpose so far unknown
A "massive structure" is being constructed on the campus of the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, the site of Apple's September 9 press event, witnesses say. The structure is encased in a white barricade, and appears to be about three stories tall. "Scads" of security staff are reportedly protecting it, and administrators will only say that they "are not at liberty to discuss that [structure] due to client wishes."
Expected to feature iPhone 6, iWatch
(Updated with Bloomberg claims of iWatch debut) As anticipated, Apple has formally announced a September 9 press event. Unlike past fall events, however, this one will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, rather than the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. It will begin at 10AM Pacific time, or 1PM Eastern.
Device said to exploit HealthKit, HomeKit
Apple is planning to announce the long-speculated iWatch health and fitness wearable at its September 9 iPhone event, rather than in October as was originally anticipated, says Re/code's John Paczkowski. It's not clear whether Apple accelerated its schedule, or if October was just a speculative rumor. In any case, the iWatch is expected to exploit not just HealthKit -- Apple's health and fitness tracking platform -- but HomeKit, designed to unify home automation technology.
Costs are up 18.5 percent year-over-year, signaling additional products
An analyst with RBC Capital Markets has told investors that a strong increase in Apple's manufacturing costs means that the company is gearing up for more than just refreshes of existing products. Amit Daryanani has noted that Apple's component and manufacturing costs are up 18.5 percent despite generally-falling component prices, suggesting both Apple's raised expectations about the success of the iPhone 6 (which may or may not comprised two new models) and the alleged "iWatch."
iWatch may have 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage
The second-generation iPad Air should see a switch from 1GB to 2GB of RAM, according to a Taiwanese site, TechNews. The third-gen iPad mini, however, will allegedly retain 1GB, according to the publication. That would be a reversal of last year, when the Mini was made equivalent to full-sized iPads in everything but size.
The iWatch will deliver unmatched levels of sophistication and integration
This is part two of an earlier article assessing why the Apple iWatch will succeed where others have failed. The first part of the article set out the backdrop against which the iWatch will be launched and argues that given the current competition, the iWatch stands an excellent chance of being successful. The current crop of smartwatches haven't managed to get the right mix of functionality, usability and desireability. Even Google's new Android Wear smartwatch platform makes a far from convincing case as to the benefits of owning a smartwatch. Only Apple has the ambition and product execution to make a compelling smartwatch and the signs are there that this is what we will get when it eventually launches before the end of the year.
Only Apple is capable of delivering the first compelling smartwatch
Apple has been long been rumored to be working on a smartwatch widely referred to as the iWatch thanks to some Apple trademark applications surfacing. However, even though the product hasn't yet been revealed some naysayers like the notorious Apple sceptic John C. Dvorak have already started to write off the device before it has even been released. Similar conclusions were also drawn about Apple's iPhone and iPad by Dvorak and others before each was released; but both as we know have been phenomenally successful. While it seems less likely that an iWatch will have the same widespread appeal as either the iPhone or iPad, there are several signs that suggest that Apple will once again succeed in a market where others have thus far failed to inspire.
Apple Stores gearing up toward selling fashion/wearable goods
Apple has hired on another person from fashion giant Yves Saint Laurent, Catherine Monier, sources say. While with YSL, Monier was the company's European president and worldwide wholesale director. She's said to have left the company earlier this week, and should make the switch to Apple within the next few days.
Priority likely already secured through Trinidad
Apple has filed to trademark the term "HealthKit" in the US and the European Union, documents show. The US application covers "computer software used in developing other software applications," and "application development software." In the EU however, Apple's trademark may achieve a wider scope, covering not just computers and peripherals but health, fitness, and medical sensors and services, along with timekeeping devices.
Supply chain numbers may only support limited run of sapphire models
Supply chain orders so far don't support the idea of the iPhone 6 using sapphire for its display, except perhaps in limited numbers, according to analysts with Trendforce. "Analysis of the iPhone 6 supply chain indicates related component suppliers need to ship products to OEMs for assembly in June 2014 to meet the September launch date. Yet, the research institute did not discover demands for smartphone cover glass," the firm writes. "The sapphire glass version new iPhone will be issued in limited volumes this year, mostly because sapphire ingot manufacturers yield rates were lower than forecasts and [because of] issues involved in sapphire glass processing."
Effect on launch schedules uncertain
Changes in profit forecasts at TPK may signal delays in iWatch production, reports suggest. Taiwanese publication UDN notes that TPK -- thought to be making touch modules for the iWatch -- has pushed back a predicted third-quarter profit surge into the next quarter. Since suppliers often experience such surges in association with Apple orders, it could mean that iWatch production has suffered setbacks. TPK also provides touch components for devices like the iPhone and iPad, however.
Says it only supplies some components to mobile phone makers
Swatch has quickly denied a report that it's working with Apple on iWatch-related projects, according to Reuters. A spokeswoman for the company claims that the report is unfounded, and that the only involvement Swatch has with phone makers is supplying various components, such as integrated circuits. Apple's iWatch is expected to ship in the fall.
Collaboration, if true, could bring diversity of styles and models
Though Swatch is perhaps best-known these days for pooh-poohing the idea that Apple's forthcoming "iWatch" health device would "be a revolution," a new rumor from anonymous sources claims that the Swiss watchmaker may be among other watch firms working with Apple to bring the "iWatch" technologies to a wide range of co-branded devices for different markets. While such collaborations would be unusual for Apple normally, the company has been opening itself up to more partnerships lately.
Says meeting involved company's product creation process
In a new TV interview, LA Lakers player Kobe Bryant confirms that he did recently meet with Apple design head Jonathan Ive. Talking with Bloomberg, though, Bryant makes no mention of the iWatch or other future Apple products. Instead he says that he has been talking to leaders across industries to learn more about the product creation process, since he is moving into business as he comes to the end of his basketball career.
Suggests basic and rejected iWatch capabilities
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a comprehensive patent titled Wrist-worn electronic device and methods therefor, which describes a number of the ideas the company has since integrated into its upcoming iWatch. The concept watch -- in diagrams referred to as the "iTime" -- would, for instance, be able to connect to devices like iPhones, iPads, and desktops. An unusual suggestion though is that it might be dependent on a special wristband, equipped with technologies such as accelerometers, GPS, haptic feedback, biometric sensors, and/or wireless receivers.
Says sapphire will be reserved for most expensive model
There are three different versions of the iWatch planned for launch this fall, claims Taiwanese publication the Economic Daily News. The main distinction is said to be between models with 1.6- and 1.8-inch displays. The latter, though, is expected to come in two forms, one with sapphire coating and the other without.
Luxury brand hire brings another executive into the Apple fold for the iWatch
Last week, Swiss luxury-watch marker TAG Heuer reportedly lost a key person in its sales division to Apple. In an interview with CNBC, LVMH's head of watch brands Jean-Claude Biver confirmed that the company recently lost an executive to the iPhone manufacturer. Sources confirmed that the executive was Vice President of Global Sales and Retail Patrick Pruniaux.
Fuels speculation of voice messaging on iWatch
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently advocated voice messaging in a private talk, according to a new memo by UBS analyst Steven Milunovich. "When we visited with Tim Cook, he said that walking down streets in China one sees people speaking into their phones sending voice rather than text messages," the note reads . "Porting this capability to the [i]watch makes sense as it is easier to send a voice message from a device already on the wrist than pulling out a phone. It also could aid penetration of China, which Cook said has a ways to go."
Kobe Bryant, Dustin Brown among celebrity testers
Apple is using professional athletes to help test the iWatch's fitness functions under intense training conditions, a source says. The person claims that Apple has invited NHL, NBA, and MLB players to its Cupertino campus on multiple occasions during the past several weeks. While there the people have been briefed on the iWatch, and given a chance to participate in testing.
Apple allegedly aiming for FDA approval
Apple is working on several different models of the iWatch, which will have 10 or more different health-related sensors, claims the Wall Street Journal. The paper has little more information, but does say that the device could arrive as soon as October, and that Apple is trying to distinguish the product from other smartwatches by making it significantly different from a smartphone. The Journal backs up a Thursday report that Quanta will be the main manufacturer, but says that production will only begin "in two to three months," instead of July.
Third report pointing to October timeframe
Taiwanese firm Quanta has started on trial production of the Apple iWatch, and will enter mass production in July in advance of an October release date, sources tell Reuters. One person says that the watch will "likely" have a 2.5-inch rectangular display, protruding slightly from the wristband in an arched shape. The device is also expected to have a touch interface, and be one of Apple's first products with wireless charging.
Feature may come to iWatch, new iPads as well
The iPhone 6, iWatch, and/or new iPads will likely have a barometer for tracking altitude and local weather, code in the iOS 8 and Xcode 6 betas suggests. Updated CoreMotion APIs make explicit reference to an altitude-tracking framework, and check if a device supports it. The iPhone 5s fails this test, even though a number of existing iOS apps attempt altitude measurements using GPS and Apple's M7 motion co-processor.
GT Advanced facility up to over 2,500 furnaces
Apple should have enough sapphire to cover the displays of both the iWatch and its 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhones, claims Seeking Alpha's Matt Margolis. Based on supply chain checks, he suggests that GT Advanced's Mesa, Arizona sapphire plant -- which is dedicated to Apple -- will have "ample supply" for all three devices this year. "Additionally, the maximum sapphire screen capacity of the Mesa facility is likely to exceed 200m annual units," he writes.
Could theoretically integrate with iWatch, Health app
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent on a weightlifting tracking technology, says AppleInsider. The patent is actually titled Shoe wear-out sensor, body-bar sensing system, unitless activity assessment and associated methods, and was first filed in 2006, but since then Apple has removed claims related to the shoe sensor and unitless measurement concepts. The company appears to have made the most drastic changes after a version of its patent application was published in early 2013.
Announcement planned for that month, not September, sources say
The iWatch is indeed on track to ship in October, as suggested by Nikkei, sources tell Re/code. The people say that while things could change, Apple is currently planning to showcase the device during a special event that month. Unmentioned by Re/code is whether the watch will actually ship in the same timeframe.
Apple allegedly planning 3-5 million units per month
The iWatch will ship in October with a curved OLED touchscreen and a modified version of iOS 8, sources tell Japanese business publication Nikkei. The people say that Apple is finalizing the device's specifications, and back claims that the watch will use an array of biometric sensors to track factors like sleep, calorie consumption, and even blood oxygen and glucose levels. One parts manufacturer says that Apple is planning to manufacture somewhere between 3 and 5 million iWatches per month, which could make it the most prolific watch in the world.
'Sharp acceleration' happening towards fall
Production of some iWatch components will start later this month, says Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White. The claim originates from a meeting with a technology supply chain firm. White adds that there are "plans for a sharp acceleration" of manufacturing going into the fall.
Could simplify iWatch power issues
A Shenzhen-based Apple supplier, Luxshare, has sent wireless charging coils to Apple for certification, reports out of China say. If Apple approves them the coils will allegedly be used in the iWatch, which is expected to ship sometime in the second half of 2014, depending on how production progresses. The claims may back a report from December that said Apple wants to build wireless charging into the iWatch. That same rumor hinted that people might be able to keep a charging station as far as a meter away.
Apple follows in steps of Moto 360
The Apple iWatch will use a round face design instead of a rectangular one, says Rosenblatt Securities analyst Brian Blair. Blair recently returned from a trip to Taiwan, where he says he picked up the iWatch information from supply chain sources. The design is said to be similar to that of the Moto 360, but with a "slimmer profile."
Could allow solar charging to be built into iPhone, other devices
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a modified version of an existing patent on integrating solar panels into mobile devices. Under the updated patent, solar cells could be inserted into multitouch or even flexible displays, simply included as another layer in the the display's surface. Apple's design might require the cells to be facing back into the device however, meaning that they would need fiber optics or parabolic mirrors to channel light to them.
Bryant reportedly met with Jonathan Ive's design team
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was spotted with his wife Vanessa yesterday at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, a photo from an anonymous source reveals. The source of the photo also claims that the couple met with Apple's lead designer, Jonathan Ive; rumors hint that the topic was about upcoming products. Either assertion is difficult to verify, but it's relatively rare for celebrities to be seen at Apple's campus, suggesting that Bryant wasn't there on a casual visit.
Would be based on App Store, allow medical apps tied to iWatch
Apple is considering developing a health and fitness services platform modeled on the App Store, an anonymous executive with a mobile health company tells Reuters. The person says he learned the information when he recently met with an Apple executive from the iWatch team. While it's unclear exactly what the platform would entail, in theory it might allow third-party companies to develop mobile medical apps specifically geared toward the iWatch and/or iOS 8.
Blocks attempted against other past iWatches
A representative for Swatch says that the company will attempt to block Apple attempts to trademark the "iWatch" name, according to Watson. The Swiss watchmaker has an "iSwatch" line of watches, and claims that Apple calling its product the iWatch could cause confusion. US filings indicate that Swatch has blocked attempts by other entities to trademark "iWatch" in the past.
OS X 10.10, iOS 8 to be core focus
Apple will not show the iWatch at June's WWDC, nor will it premiere a fourth-generation Apple TV there, sources allege. The company is even expected to skip previewing an anticipated Apple TV software update. Instead Apple will reportedly concentrate on OS X 10.10 and iOS 8, much like it did Mavericks and iOS 7 last year.