Apple, Quanta allegedly solve yield problems with various components
Apple and one of its suppliers, Quanta, have solved yield problems with various Apple Watch components, claims Taiwan's United Daily News. As a result, the Watch is now expected to go into mass production in January, instead of as late as the end of February, which some earlier rumors had hinted. The problem was solved through manpower; Quanta has reportedly grown its workforce from 2,000 to 10,000 people, and expects to hire another 20,000 in the near future.
Unofficial replica faces being blocked from download sites
A number of major watch brands have been sending cease-and-desist notices to websites and individuals claimed to be offering smartwatch copies of trademarked or copyrighted name-brand watch faces without permission, a report says. Some smartwatches -- particularly ones based on Android Wear -- offer the ability to load custom face designs. A few people have been creating ones based on existing watches, however, triggering copyright and trademark complaints.
8.2 release enables testing of Apple Watch apps
Apple is now seeding two important releases to developers, beginning with the first iOS 8.2 beta. The only mentioned addition is support for the Apple Watch, granting Watch apps the ability to access data from a paired iPhone. "You can also enhance your Watch app by providing two optional Apple Watch interfaces that give users timely, high-value information: A Glance provides a screenful of meaningful information related to a Watch app," Apple's release notes read. "As its name implies, a Glance displays information that users can absorb instantly, without interaction; in fact, tapping a Glance on Apple Watch launches your Watch app.
Assembly work likely remains distant
Apple chip suppliers are almost ready to begin production of components for the Apple Watch, industry sources claim. The sources add that based on the first batch of orders, Apple could be planning to churn out 30 to 40 million watches. Even if parts production begins shortly however, it may still be a few months before final assembly begins; Apple is only due to ship the product early next year, possibly by Valentine's Day.
Company allegedly hoping to launch product by Valentine's Day
Stainless steel Apple Watches will start at $500, while gold models could start at $4,000 to $5,000, unnamed sources claim to French site iGen. Apple has been largely quiet about the Apple Watch since it was revealed September 9, particularly in regards to pricing. It has stated only that the Watch will start at $349, presumably referring to the aluminum model. If accurate, the newly-suggested prices would be well beyond the range of most smartwatches, which often cost $250 or less -- but come in much lower than fashion watches, which can start with price tags in the thousands.
Wearables create 'expectations of choice'
The Apple Watch has been a tougher product to design than the iPhone, according to Apple's lead designer, Sir Jonathan Ive. "Even though Apple Watch does so many things, there are cultural, historical implications and expectations," he said last night while accepting the 2014 Bay Area Treasure Award from San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art. "That's why it's been such a difficult and humbling program ... As soon as something is worn, we have expectations of choice." Ive joked that only "in prison" do people wear the same exact thing.
May put Watch shipments in February
Taiwan's Quanta Computer will only start mass production of the Apple Watch in January 2015, according to a supply chain rumor from Apple Daily. Apple has only officially stated that the Watch will ship in early 2015. If production does begin in January, that will likely place shipments in February.
Formal announcement may have cleared way
Apple engineers have been spotted wearing the Apple Watch in public, according to various anecdotes on Twitter. "Saw a few Apple employees wearing the iWatch [sic] at a bus stop in mission. All were wearing the sport edition and carrying the iPhone six plus," writes one person. Another source claims to have seen someone wearing a gold model. The two cited incidents both took place in San Francisco, a home base for many Apple workers.
Promo video used as evidence
The Apple Watch's S1 processor appears to be paired with a Broadcom BCM4334 Wi-Fi module, says research firm Chipworks. The claim is based on an analysis of Apple's promotional video, during which viewers can briefly see the circuitboard the watch uses. Contacts near the top of the board are believed to match a BCM4334 flip-bonded directly.
Works around lack of Touch ID
The Apple Watch will use a unique system to authorize NFC mobile payments, reports say. Normally, Apple Pay is authorized via Touch ID, but there's no such sensor on the Watch. Instead, when someone puts on the device for the day, they'll have to enter a PIN to authorize transactions. The sensors on the bottom of the watch can detect skin contact, and once that's lost, a person will have to re-enter their PIN.
Current life estimated to be 'about a day'
Apple has been avoiding talk about the battery life of its first-generation Watch, and with good reason, sources claim. The people say that the company isn't happy with performance, which is currently "about a day" on a single charge. An Apple spokeswoman, Nat Kerris, admits in fact that the company expects people to charge the Watch at night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Digital watch adds touchscreen, applications in uncomfortable platform
Watches have been around far longer than any Internet denizen has been alive. First appearing in the 15th century, they have been important to functionality and timeliness of people for hundreds of years. However, watches haven't changed much -- outside of the invention of the crystal-based digital watches dating back relatively recently. Now, smart watches from companies like Samsung and (allegedly) Apple are looking to change watches again. But is there still room for advancements in standard of watches that people will widely adopt? Phosphor aims to find out with the Touch Time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Compatible with handful of iPhone apps
Casio has launched the STB-1000, a new sports watch with Bluetooth 4.0 LE support. The watch tracks data such as pulse, elapsed time, and running speed and distance; for cyclists, it can monitor speed and pedal rotations. Some basic functions include daily alarms and countdown timers. The watch is water-resistant to a depth of 100m, and has a two-year battery life.
More costly option switches to metal, Gorilla Glass
Following this morning's news leak, Pebble has officially announced the Steel, a more luxury-oriented watch. Unlike the original plastic-based Pebble, the new one is made of metal. The e-ink display is now also protected with Corning Gorilla Glass, used on many smartphones and tablets.
Should be announced later today
Just ahead of a planned announcement later today, Pebble's new watch -- the Steel -- has reportedly leaked to the public. Its name stems from a switch from a plastic housing to metal. Two colors options are expected: one using brushed stainless steel, and another painted matte black.
Hints at possibility of next-gen watch
Smarwatch maker Pebble will make a special CES announcement on Monday, January 6 at 11AM Pacific time, according to an official blog post. The event will be hosted by CEO Eric Migicovsky, and streaming on getpebble.com. Beyond that, the company hasn't revealed any details.
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.