Ever since the rumours of a so-called “iWatch” started to circulate in 2011, the idea of Apple and Google foraying into the wearable tech market has spiralled. The initial idea was first publicly derived from Apple, when the rumours of a wearable iPod Nano extension that would communicate with other iOS devices via Bluetooth started to come in. The New York Times reported it as a “curved glass iPod that would wrap around the wrist,” going on later to say that users could communicate with the device through Siri, although due to Siri still technically being in beta, it remains to be seen whether or not Siri will be integrated.
A year later, Google announced ‘Project Glass’ at their I/O conference. The device, that uses the glasses framework as a way to wear it, puts a screen in front of your right eye and displays information like meeting times, nearby friends [no doubt Google+ ones], and tells you turn-by-turn directions amongst other utilitarian information you might need whilst on the go. It also has a video camera in it, which allows you to do a very neat party trick and video chat with someone whilst you are away from your computer using an LTE connection – something Google showed off at I/O.
So our first glimpse of wearable technology came from Google in 2012, who plan on releasing what is now known as ‘Google Glass’ to developers in another month, under the name ‘Glass Explorer Edition’ which they had to pay $1500 at I/O last year for.
But what about Apple’s side of the equation? If you look at the popularity of wearable tech for iOS devices or even Macs, you’ll see a common trend. People like them. The Pebble Smart Watch, which is a watch that connects to your iPhone and displays information like incoming calls, emails and other notifications, is one of the most successful Kickstarter projects of all time. The market exists for this universe of accessories, and it is reported that Apple is – at some point – going to build in a foundation for these accessories in iOS, to stop the structure of getting this information [notifications, new email, incoming calls] from one place to the other, draining battery life.
Apple are fans of this sector of accessories; Tim Cook has expressed interest in the Nike Fuelband before, whilst sources close to Apple tell the New York Times that senior vice president Bob Mansfield is “engrossed” with similar technologies that connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth. So what about Apple making their own watch instead of just catering for third parties?
Its certainly a challenge for Apple to make such a product the way it makes every other product. The unibody structure could work in conjunction with glass made by Corning, who unveiled its latest Willow Glass display recently. The slim and flexible substrate looks a lot like it was designed for an Apple wristwatch. Corning CTO, Pete Bocko emphasised the challenge of creating a wearable glass screen for human bodies in an interview with the New York Times, “The human body moves in unpredictable ways,” he said. “It’s one of the toughest mechanical challenges.” A report by the Wall Street Journal echoes what was said by the New York Times in a report yesterday, which states Apple is experimenting with designs for a smart watch, and that Apple has discussed the device with Foxconn, who are said to be the ones working on the technologies that connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth.
It makes a lot of sense for Apple wanting to cater for and even build their own smart watch to compete with Google and its Google Glasses. Apple love a challenge when it comes to industrial engineering. The iPhone 5 is perfect proof of this. They took what was a great foundation and made it better and impossibly light. With that in mind, Apple’s product not only seems like it will arrive here faster than Google Glass, but also introduce people to the idea of wearable technology and its uses better.
Header and featured image curtsy of ABC news.
Tagged 2013, apple, Apple and Google: Breaking Into The Wearable Tech Market, Apple news, Apple smart watch, Apple watch, breaking into the wearable tech market, feature, featured, Google, Google Glass, Google Glass news, Google news, Pebble smart watch, rory mitchell, tech market, tech news, technology news, Volt, voltmagonline, Watch news, wearable tech, wearable tech market