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Apple taking flexible board samples for iWatch ahead of Sept. launch

04/09, 10:42am

Apple's main FCPB supplier plans $100 million in upgrades

Three flexible PCB suppliers have reportedly been delivering validation samples to Apple in preparation for iWatch production, sources tell Digitimes. The people are scarce on other details, but do say they expect Apple to announce the iWatch in September. A company called Zhen Ding is said to be Apple's largest FPCB supplier, and planning to spend $100 million to upgrade its capacity not just for the iWatch, but for greater demand of iPhone and iPad parts.

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Rumors claim in-house iPhone baseband, Q3 iWatch launch

04/08, 10:01am

Apple allegedly aiming at 65 million iWatches by end of year

The Apple iWatch will ship in the third quarter of the year and be manufactured by Quanta Computer, claims Taiwan's Economic Daily News, as quoted by Digitimes. Two other companies, Richtek and TPK, will reportedly be supplying chips and sapphire touch panels. The watch's processor is expected to be developed by Apple, but manufactured by Samsung, which currently handles all iOS processor production. Apple is said to be aiming at having 65 million iWatches assembled by the end of 2014.

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Apple, Samsung, Google trying to court Swiss watchmakers

03/28, 12:16pm

Swatch turning away partnership deals

Apple, Google, and Samsung are among the wearable tech developers trying to court help from Swiss watchmakers, says the Financial Times. One of the core targets has been Swatch, the world's biggest watchmaker. "We have been in discussions – not ever initiated by us – with practically all players in smart wearables up until today," says Swatch CEO Nick Hayek. "However, we see no reason why we should enter into any partnership agreement."

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Siri to integrate with third-party apps for iWatch, report says

03/05, 12:46pm

May solve smartwatch interface problems

Apple is working to expand Siri's third-party app integration with the iWatch in mind, a new report says. Siri already interacts with some third-party apps, like OpenTable or Wolfram Alpha, but in every case so far the companies have had to forge deals with Apple. The new scheme would allow third-party integration without an expressly signed agreement.

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GT Advanced says sapphire pact with Apple is 'progressing well'

02/25, 12:46pm

Financial forecast hints at sapphire coming to iWatch or new iPhones

GT Advanced's partnership with Apple on sapphire production is "progressing well," according to a statement in the company's latest quarterly earnings report. CEO Tom Gutierrez notes that build-out of the Apple-oriented sapphire plant in Arizona began last quarter, and that hiring started around the same time. Although he doesn't reveal when mass production will start, he says that GT should return to profitability in the second half of 2014.

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TPK rumored as supplying touch panels for Apple iWatch

02/19, 10:22am

Display expected to use silver nanowire touchscreen tech

Apple may be using TPK as its touch panel supplier for the iWatch, according to rumors surfaced by the China Times. The watch is expected to use silver nanowire touchscreen technology developed by TPK in partnership with Nissha Printing. TPK is slated to start producing its first silver nanowire panels in April, but those for the iWatch aren't expected to enter mass production until much later, in the second half of the year.

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Apple wins patent on headphones with biometrics, gesture controls

02/18, 10:04am

Tech could even theoretically monitor mental states

Apple has won rights to a US patent on a biometric headphone system. The technology would track factors like temperature, heart rate, and/or perspiration, using embedded sensors. The sensors could be embedded into the rim of a speaker, or broken out into other components, such as ear clips or inline remotes. Apple also suggests integrating one or more accelerometers for tracking movement, in the latter case recording multiple axes.

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Apple considered buying Tesla in 2013, report hints

02/17, 10:41am

Newspaper also suggests iWatch might be able to predict heart attacks

Apple was at one point considering buying electric auto maker Tesla, a report from the San Francisco Chronicle suggests. The paper cites a source who says that in April of 2013, Tesla CEO Elon Musk met with Apple's head of acquisitions -- Adrian Perica -- at the company's Cupertino headquarters. It's speculated that he might also have met with Apple CEO Tim Cook, a strong possibility given Musk's importance, especially if the two companies were exploring a buyout.

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Apple hires former Ceracor CTO Marcelo Lamego for sensor work

02/13, 10:25am

Company continues building iWatch technology team

Apple has hired on former Ceracor CTO Marcelo Malini Lamego as part of a research and development team, according to a LinkedIn profile update discovered by NetworkWorld. Ceracor specializes in non-invasive medical monitoring technologies. Lamego himself is credited with over 70 patents and patent applications, including ones related to sensors and patient monitoring; he has also published over 30 peer-reviewed papers on topics like neural networks and adaptive systems. Apple may, however, be more interested in his work as the lead scientist on Masimo's "Rainbow," a non-invasive monitoring tool that can track several different blood and physiological parameters at once.

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Apple job ad seek hires for 'new platforms as of now unannounced'

02/11, 6:26pm

Versatile candidates sought that can handle current, future hardware and platforms

A job opening at Apple posted earlier this week, seeking an "Instrumentation Design/NPI Engineer" notes not only that the successful candidate will help the company with forthcoming "new products," but also mentions that the engineer will work with "new platforms as yet unannounced" as well as existing platforms. The mention could be a reference to the alleged "iWatch" the company is said to be working on, which might require its own custom OS.

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Sapphire may initially be limited to iWatch instead of iPhone

02/11, 11:44am

Cost of iPhone-sized screens may still be too high

Although Apple and its partners have been prototyping sapphire-covered iPhone screens, the company is still expected to limit use of sapphire to the iWatch at first, according to Taiwanese supply chain sources. The people back the idea that Apple has put significant effort into fitting prototype iPhones with sapphire, but suggest that Apple is likely worried about cost, even though its Arizona plant should soon have more than enough capacity.

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Apple posts openings for physiologists, other iWatch-related jobs

02/06, 11:39am

Candidates, watch may need to meet strict standards

Apple has published new job listings on its website calling for physiologists and engineers to handle tests connected to health and fitness tracking. The physiologist opening asks for someone to "design and run user studies related to cardiovascular fitness & energy expenditure, including calories burned, metabolic rate, aerobic fitness level measurement/tracking and other key physiological measurements." Given Apple's other recent hires, it's believed that the jobs are directly related to the iWatch project.

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iWatch may skip solar, use batteries from Samsung, LG, Tianjin

02/05, 4:21pm

Claims questionable

Despite a New York Times report suggesting Apple is looking into solar power for the iWatch, the company will be sticking with lithium-ion batteries from Samsung SDI, LG Chem, and Tianjin Lishen Battery, sources tell the Korea Herald. "Apple will utilize LG Chem's stepped battery since it offers better longevity than others and can be applied for different shapes," one source says. "Stepped" batteries are layered, more efficient, and maximize space use.

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Apple hires Philips sleep expert Roy Raymann for iWatch development

02/05, 10:35am

Suggests iWatch could be used to improve sleep quality

Apple has hired Roy J.E.M Raymann -- formerly a senior scientist at Philips Research -- in what is likely another attempt to bolster its iWatch team, reports say. While at Philips, Raymann specialized in sleep research, and also had experience in wearable devices/sensors and other means of improving sleep quality. When reached for comment, Philips confirmed that Raymann had left on January 1st, but would neither confirm nor deny the name of his new employer. In December Raymann also departed a role at the Dutch Society for Sleep-Wake Research.

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NYT: Apple testing alternative charging methods for iWatch smart watch

02/03, 7:13am

Inductive charging, screen-mounted solar panel, movement charging touted

Apple is experimenting with alternative charging methods that could be used in the rumored iWatch, claims the New York Times. Rather than charging a smart watch by plugging a wire into a port, Apple is apparently looking into using magnetic induction charging for the device, with a solar-charging layer added to a curved glass screen also touted by report sources.

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Apple awarded patent for ejectable component assembly

02/01, 1:00pm

Thinner tray to house SIMs and other small cards

Earlier this week, Apple was awarded a patent from the United States Patent & Trademark Office based on a filing from September 2012. The filing, for "ejectable component assemblies in electronic devices," marks another win for Apple as it moves into different markets -- including the anticipated iWatch that the company has been bolstering its ranks for as of late. The application builds on provisional patent application 61675328, which was filed in July 2012.

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Apple hires on Masimo CMO Michael O'Reilly for likely iWatch work

01/31, 10:45am

Masimo responsible for oxygen-, pulse-monitoring tech

Apple has hired on Michael O'Reilly -- Masimo's former chief medical officer and EVP of Medical Affairs -- in what is likely an attempt at bolstering its iWatch team, reports say. O'Reilly is said to have actually left for Apple in July, but news only leaked to the public last week. Late Thursday, Masimo said it "could not dispute" the claims, effectively confirming them.

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DisplaySearch predicts larger Retina screen for 'iPhone 6'

01/14, 11:42pm

Also bets on possible AMOLED screen for rumored 'iWatch' device

Computer research firm DisplaySearch has published its 2014 tech forecast, and is predicting that the next-generation iPhone (expected to arrive next fall) will sport a dramatically larger display. The report -- which is not based on any insider knowledge, but has in the past been known to guess correctly on Apple's moves -- calls for as large as a 5.5-inch high-resolution display. The company also believes Apple may use AMOLED display technology for its rumored "iWatch."

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Corning to make Gorilla Glass for curved devices

01/03, 10:53pm

Announcement fuels speculation around Apple's rumored 'iWatch'

Glass manufacturer Corning has announced that it has adapted its popular "Gorilla Glass" strengthened glass variation to work with curved and other "3D" shapes, clearing the way for the product to be used with existing and future devices that rely on curved surfaces, such as smartwatches, eyeglasses and other "wearable tech." Corning's relationship with Apple -- Gorilla Glass is used in all of its mobile products -- has fuelled further speculation on Apple's alleged "iWatch."

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Apple, Qualcomm seeing poor yields in smartwatch manufacturing

01/02, 12:07pm

Injection molding process allegedly to blame

Several wearable electronic devices -- namely the Apple iWatch and the Qualcomm Toq -- are seeing yield rates below 50 percent in manufacturing, supply chain sources claim. The trouble is said to involve surface treatments for metal injection-molded (MIM) chassis. While MIM used to be applied to internal designs, MIM is increasingly being used for external parts as well, requiring extra surface work. This appears to be at odds with the high quantities companies like Apple are demanding.

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Wells Fargo downgrades Apple on margin, market cap worries

01/02, 10:43am

Nevertheless expects strong holiday sales

Wells Fargo Securities has downgraded its rating for Apple stock from "Outperform" to "Market Perform," a new memo to investors reveals. The firm says that its earlier, more optimistic forecast was based on an expanding profit margin, driven mainly by the iPhone 5s. "While we still have conviction in the gross margin thesis (and the potential for iPad/iPhone unit upside), we believe this may be largely embedded into the valuation," the memo comments. Share prices are still forecast to sit within the $536-581 range.

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Apple partner Foxconn starts fund to invest in wearable tech

12/11, 5:32pm

Foxconn putting $6.8 million into wearable tech

Foxconn – also known as Hon Hai, assembler of Apple's iPhones and iPads – is looking to capitalize on the anticipated boom in wearable tech by starting an investment fund to finance nascent companies working in the segment. Sources familiar with the project told Bloomberg this week that Syntrend Creative Park Co., a Foxconn unit, will administer the NT$200 million ($6.8 million) fund aimed at giving the firm a hand in the development of wearable devices in the vein of Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch, the Google Glass eyewear computer, and the suspected Apple iWatch. The move is the latest by Foxconn to diversify its operations to handle more things than the construction of iOS devices for its most lucrative partner.

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Quanta rumored to be handling iWatch, larger iPad production

11/25, 11:43am

Pilot production of iWatch allegedly underway

Taiwanese supplier Quanta Computer will be producing both the iWatch and a larger iPad for Apple in 2014, DigiTimes claims. The iWatch is said to be shipping first, in the second calendar quarter. Pilot production of the watch is allegedly already underway, but suffering low yields, resulting in the Q2 timeframe. Quanta is said to be competing with Foxconn and Inventec for orders, although only the first two have been officially invited into the supply chain.

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Review: Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch

11/13, 6:52pm

A smartwatch unstuck in time

If the tech analysts and manufacturers are to be believed, we sit on the cusp of a boon in wearable technology. With its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, Samsung has tried to get the jump on its competitors -- pushing out a powerful, feature-heavy smartphone companion while other devices focus on displaying notifications and showing what time it is. The Galaxy Gear has had a rough debut, but does the truth of the device lie somewhere between Samsung's marketing speak and the tech press' takes on it? Find out in our in-depth review.

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Differently-sized iWatches being produced for men, women, report says

11/13, 11:41am

Design would be unusual accommodation for Apple

Apple intends to build two different sizes of iWatch to suit both men and women, claims NPD DisplaySearch's David Hsieh. The analyst cites Apple sources, who indicate that men will be targeted with a 1.7-inch OLED, while women will get a 1.3-inch OLED. Hsieh's comments are featured in the Korea Herald, which on its own claims that the iWatch could ship as soon as this year; that's extremely unlikely however, as it's already mid-November and Apple always finishes its major product launches before Thanksgiving. Something as important as the iWatch would moreover demand a press event.

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Apple postponing HDTV plans due to lack of content deals

11/11, 12:40pm

Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV negating need for full-scale TV set

Apple is no longer planning to ship a dedicated TV set in 2014, claims NPD DisplaySearch. The firm quotes sources in the TV supply chain industry, who add that one of the main obstacles is the company's inability to secure deals for proprietary content. While Apple is potentially an attractive partner, earlier reports have suggested that TV networks are reluctant to risk the lucrative deals they have with cable and satellite companies, which typically bundle channels into packages.

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Apple's new sapphire partner hints at much larger plans for material

11/07, 10:55am

Could even suggest switch from Gorilla Glass to sapphire

GT Advanced Technologies -- Apple's new sapphire production partner -- is planning to make sapphire the majority of its business thanks to the deal, an earnings call reveals. Year-to-date, GT's sapphire business has only accounted for 11 percent of its sales. In forecasting 2014 revenue, though, the company says it expects that 80 percent of $600 million to $800 million in revenue will come from sapphire, a dramatic shift in its strategy.

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LG Display close to deal to produce displays for Apple iWatch

10/29, 11:03am

Talks with Samsung were 'not productive'

LG Display is nearing a deal to provide OLED displays for Apple's iWatch, according to a Korean report. The Korea Herald adds that a RITEK subsidiary, RiTdisplay, will also be supplying OLEDs. HMC Investment Securities analyst Kim Young-woo in fact characterizes RiTdisplay as the main supplier, with LG serving as a secondary partner "to be safe." Left out of the equation is Samsung, which is reported to have met with Apple regarding iWatch screens but made no progress in negotiations.

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Apple testing at least three iWatch designs with flexible OLEDs

10/01, 4:14pm

Display could measure up to 1.5 inches

Apple is testing at least three iWatch designs based around flexible OLED displays, according to Korean publication The Chosun Ilbo. These include units with 1.3-, 1.4-, and 1.5-inch displays. The largest of those sizes would still be a tenth of an inch smaller than the Samsung Galaxy Gear.

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Apple hires on key Nike designer Ben Shaffer

09/27, 3:14pm

Director expected to help tackle iWatch project

Apple has recruited Ben Shaffer, formerly the studio director for Nike's Innovation Kitchen, a source says. The Innovation Kitchen is Nike's research and development department, the birthplace of products like the FuelBand wrist tracker and the lightweight Flyknit shoe. What Shaffer might be doing at Apple is unstated, but based on his background it's speculated that he may have been brought on for Apple's alleged iWatch project and/or future wearable technologies.

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Rumors claim iWatch facing serious production bottlenecks

09/11, 3:34pm

Inventec, Quantec identified as manufacturers

The Apple iWatch is allegedly facing major yield rate problems in its supply chain, according to Taiwanese industry sources. The people suggest that the chain is currently only able to supply 30 to 40 percent of the order volumes Apple has been hoping for. The product's manufacturers -- at a ratio of 6:4 -- are thought to be Inventec and Quanta Computer. Expectations are that the iWatch will ship in the second half of 2014, at a price of about $149 to $229.

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Apple confirms buyout of Passif Semiconductor

08/01, 3:10pm

May be related to low-power tech needed for iWatch

Apple has confirmed a buyout of Silicon Valley firm Passif Semiconductor, according to AllThingsD. News of the deal first emerged from former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin. Apple spokeswoman Amy Bessette has refused to offer any more details on the acquisition, such as cost or the intent behind it.

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Mansfield switch-up a question of avoiding distractions, source says

07/29, 5:06pm

Could be devoting more effort to iWatch project

Bob Mansfield's departure from the Apple executive team was made at his request so he could focus on new products, without being distracted by work on the executive committee, an anonymous source tells Bloomberg. Prior to this week, Mansfield was the company's senior VP of Technologies. He is now involved solely with "special projects," though what that means hasn't been identified officially or by sources.

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Apple hiring team for fitness-focused wearable computer, sources say

07/18, 12:00pm

Thought to be long-rumored iWatch

Apple has started assembling a team of people specializing in fitness, medical sensors, manufacturing, and hardware and software engineering in order to produce a fitness-focused wearable computer chock full of sensor technology, sources say. Apple is stated to have experimented with a number of designs in the past, including ones that could clip onto clothing, like an iPod shuffle. Currently though the company is thought to have returned to a wrist-wrapped device, likely the iWatch.

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Sony SmartWatch 2 confirmed for September 9 launch

07/16, 7:32am

Sony SmartWatch 2 coming September 9, packs NFC, larger display

The Sony SmartWatch 2 has been confirmed for a September 9 launch after some confusion that it might have been due for a July 15 launch. When it was revealed in June, Sony informed the press that the device would reach customers in September and it appears the company will meet its launch window. While Sony is on to its second-generation smartwatch, Apples rumoured smartwatch appears as though it wont reach the market until late 2014 as the company grapples with the technology that it plans to pack into the device.

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iWatch not arriving until late 2014, facing technical hurdles

07/15, 8:11am

Apple on hiring spree to bring rumored iWatch to market

Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Financial Times claims (reg. req.) that Apple may not introduce the much hyped, but rumored, iWatch device until late in 2014. According to sources, Apple is hiring "aggressively" to pick up the expertise it requires to solve a range of technical challenges. Apple is said to be facing "hard engineering problems that theyve not been able to solve," suggesting that whatever it has in the pipeline might be more sophisticated than other similar solutions already on the market.

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Apple may face obstacles with 'iWatch' trademark in US, UK, China

07/04, 9:00pm

Name is trademarked, in some cases already associated with shipping products

After reports of Apple's trademarking of the term "iWatch" in a number of countries, it has been discovered that the name has already been trademarked for some time in the US, the UK and, in what could be a troubling development, China. In fact, China has previously trademarked both the term "iWatch" and "iWatching," reports Chinese news journal Sina Tech. In the US, a company that was trying to raise funds to manufacture a smartwatch (but was unsuccessful) already trademarked the name, while the UK trademark is used for a monitoring smartphone app.

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Apple files for Japanese 'iWatch' trademark [u]

07/02, 12:20am

May all but confirm name of upcoming smartwatch

(Update: Also applied for in Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey) Apple has applied for an "iWatch" trademark at the Japan Patent Office, according to Bloomberg. The filing was originally made on June 3, but appears to have been made public just last week. The Japanese trademark application follows ones reportedly made in Russia and Jamaica, the latter dating back to December 2012.

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Apple allegedly files for 'iWatch' name in Russia

06/05, 9:26am

Status of trademark still unsure

Apple has filed to register the "iWatch" product name in Russia, says local news site Izvestia.ru. The application is said to have been made under the 9th and 14th classes for the International Classification of Goods and Services. AppleInsider comments, though, that it hasn't been able to verify the registration through the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property.

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Munster, Siegler discuss Apple's future, iWatch, iTV

03/17, 10:15pm

iWatch could replace iPhone if Apple solves battery problem

The recent media trend of negative news on Apple is just a phase that will pass according to analyst Gene Munster and pundit MG Siegler, both of whom agree that the coming months will see Apple getting its groove back with a refresh in its product lines, as well as perhaps some new products. Siegler and Munster spoke on a panel along with TUAW's editor-in-chief, Victor Agreda, with all parties agreeing that Apple's sales figures fly in the face of the negative coverage the company has been receiving of late. Part of the problem, Siegler contended, was the considerable success the company has achieved over the past few years.

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