Tuesday 1 January 2013

An iOS-powered smart watch may be coming soon

Rumours around Apple and iOS products these days are plenty enough to create a complete new beat for us reporters. And the latest one is from Asia—Apple may be building a Bluetooth smart watch.

A report by Chinese gadget news site Tech.163 suggests that Apple is developing a smart watch that connects Apple devices to it via Bluetooth. The company is purported to have partnered with Intel for this venture: a smart watch that has a 1.5-inch PMOLED display made by RiTDisplay with ITO-coated glass.

The iOS watch is to be Bluetooth-powered and will connect all your iOS devices to it. The ‘iWatch’ will be built in tandem with Intel, which gives rise to speculation that this rumour may be completely or partially untrue. Apple has been using ARM microchips in all their current iOS devices and partnering with Intel for this one just sticks out like a sore thumb.

Apple’s iPod Nano has somewhat of a foothold in the watch segment as it doubles up nicely as a watch when attached to a wrist band. The Nano shows the time and can obviously play music as well, while keeping time of your workout sessions, a function it is most used for. The 2012 version of the Nano was comparatively large, though, and couldn’t be used as a wristwatch anymore.

 A full-fledged watch may not be a bad idea for Apple. The smart watch segment has been waiting to take off ever since a Kickstarter campaign by Pebble made news the world over. The campaign managed to raise over $10 million to come up with a smart wristwatch. Clearly, there is a market for Android and iOS-powered watches.

But its not just Apple thinking about smart watches. Back in 2011, James Brooks Miller and Richard Carl Gossweiler III filed a patent on behalf of Google for a smart watch. In October, the patent was finally approved for Google, and the company could now attempt to make its own smart watch, much in the vein of Sony’s SmartWatch. Going by the description of the device on the patent filing, it would sport two screens, one at the top, and one that you get when you flip open the top.

The Google patent reads, “A smart-watch can include a wristband, a base, and a flip up portion. The base can be coupled to the wristband and include a housing, a processor, a wireless transceiver, and a tactile user interface. The wireless transceiver can be configured to connect to a wireless network. The tactile user interface can be configured to provide interaction between a user and the smart-watch. The flip up portion can be displaceable between an open position exposing the base and a closed position concealing the base. Further, the flip up portion can include: a top display exposed when the flip up portion is in the closed position, and an inside display opposite the top display. The inside display can be concealed when the flip up portion is in the closed position and be exposed when the flip up portion is in the open position”.

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