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 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.
Precise ship date still a mystery
Apple suppliers have already begun small-scale production of the iWatch, claim supply chain sources for the China Times. It's said that Apple expects to launch the watch in the second half of 2014, but a more precise date isn't mentioned. It is however indicated that the device will use system-in-package chip design instead of printed circuit boards, saving space but potentially slowing down production. If a SIP component fails tests, the entire chipset has to be tossed out with it.
Speculation leaning towards involvement with iWatch
In a new CNBC interview, Nike CEO Mark Parker says he is "excited" about where his company's relationship with Apple will go, something that may hint at new products. Parker is mum on specifics of collaborative possibilities, but says that in terms of the wearable fitness device industry, Nike will focus on software instead of hardware, integrating it into both Nike's products and that of its partners, with the aim of growing the Fuel brand.
Brightflash already pursuing trademarks in dozens of countries
Apple appears to be using a shell company, "Brightflash USA LLC," to covertly register iWatch trademarks around the world, reports say. The firm is registered in Delaware, and has been tied to past trademarking efforts by Apple. The company has already requested iWatch trademarks in the US, the UK, Australia, the European Union, and Denmark. It has also filed for a trademark in dozens of other countries, ranging from smaller ones like Albania and Iceland through to China and India.
Adds to evidence of upcoming iWatch
Apple is hoping to extend international trademarks on its name into Class 14, an area covering "jewelry, clocks and watches," reports say. In late December, the company is said to have applied for Class 14 protection in Ecuador, presumably as a shortcut to getting its priority recognized in more significant regions like the US and Europe. Similar filings were made in Mexico in early January, Norway in mid-February, and the UK in March. In the latter two countries, Apple applied for protections in a variety of other classes as well.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.