by Anton Shilov
02/11/2013 | 05:29 AM
After revolutionizing the market of cell phones and popularization of media tablets, Apple wants to tap a completely different market, the market of wrist watches, which has existed for about a hundred of years. With its first devices designed to be wearable, Apple will likely cause a lot of market buzz. But will it actually create a yet another revolution?
In its headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass, reports the New York Times. The company has already discussed such a device with its major manufacturing partner, Foxconn Electronics. The latter has been working on a spate of technologies that could be used in wearable devices, according to the Wall Street Journal. The new device is projected to utilize Apple’s iOS operating system and may therefore be more powerful than Apple’s today’s personal digital media players that use custom OS.
Apple, one of the most successful consumer electronics companies of our times, has been experimenting with wearable computing devices for quite some time and the iWatch gadget has been discussed for several times already. In the recent years Apple additionally hired employees with backgrounds in sensors and related technologies.
Even though the first rumours about the iWatch emerged quite some time before the iPad was launched or the iPhone gained numerous of its key technologies, it is still unclear what kind of feature-set Apple wants for its wearable gadget.
While the first wrist watch was invented by Patek Philippe in 1868 and were made for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary, the wrist watch never became popular until the First World War when soldiers needed to watch time while their hands were full. The iWatch should conceptually deliver functionality of the iOS to people with busy hands. Obviously, the wrist watch is not a good solution for browsing the Internet and therefore the iWatch should rely massively on specially designed applications.
There are a number of technological challenges with making durable wearable devices. First of all, special bendable glass and touch-screens for displays need to be utilized. There are a number of achievements in this direction, including Corning Willow glass that can be wrapped around a cylindrical object and that could be someone’s wrist. Secondly, OLED displays will need to be used for such products. Thirdly, very small chips possibly on curved printed-circuit boards must be utilized for such wearable computing devices. Finally, new types of batteries should be used for this type of gadgets. In theory, many of ingredients for smart wrist watch are available today, but when one company combine them in a brand-new device is unclear.
Apple did not comment on the news-story.