Apple has been secretly building a so-called iWatch for years. Patents have been uncovered, and Apple has hired high-profile staff from both the watch industry as well as those familiar with exercise and fitness bands. This fall, Apple will also launch a new Health app, which can collect biometric information from iPhones (movement) and apps (manually entered data) . . . and do something with it in some special way, presumably to help you live a happier, healthier life.
More to the point, an iWatch would be the most powerful health data collector device, and it seems unlikely that Apple would just make a pretty watch that runs iTunes.
So it’s going to be revealed September 9. Here’s what we think we know, based on a wide variety of rumors and occasional never identified people “familiar with the matter”:
1. It’s going to be more “watch” like than fitness band. Why? Apple uncharacteristically invited editors from fashion publications to attend its media event. Why? Only one good answer: The company is revealing some wearable computing device that it believes will be worn as a fashion accessory.
2. It’s going to come in two different sizes. If there is one company that could create a smaller version of a smartwatch, it’s Apple. The obvious failure of most competitors smartwatches these days is the large size, which can look downright stupid on a small woman’s wrist.
3. It will have fitness and health-oriented apps and processors. The aforementioned Health app, of course, will use the iWatch, and it will run third-party apps and likely work with Apple’s HealthKit initiative to help consumers track and improve their health and share data with doctors.
4. It will have a curved screen. Or a flexible screen. Or both. It will likely include some sort of sapphire glass, which Apple has invested heavily in, which is also more scratch-resistant than the Gorilla glass used in the iPhone today.
5. Its battery life will likely suck, but it’s said to have wireless charging.
6. It will help you unlock doors and manage your home, via Apple’s HomeKit effort. Control lighting, adjust the thermostat, that sort of thing. Might even become smart enough to trigger a set of changes based on location — if you leave, turn off the lights, change the thermostat, lock the doors, or do the reverse when you arrive.
7. Apple is reportedly working with credit card providers to create a new iPhone-based “e-wallet” payment system. The iWatch may support this effort for near field communications and secure payments, meaning you could tap your wrist to retail system to pay. No more bulky wallets or credit cards to pack around while you’re out running.
8. The iWatch will have 8GB of storage.
9. If Apple is really making a fashion play, it will be customizable with colors and face options.
10. Some rumor/sources say it will be rectangular with a 1.3-inch screen or a 1.5-inch screen.
11. One rumored price point is $400.
12. It might not be available for shipping until 2015.
All-in-all, September 9 is shaping up to a be a stellar event. Apple has erected a large building near the site of the presentation, no doubt to help show off the features of its new lineup of magical devices. I would not be surprised to see more than one single iWatch — Apple could have created a fitness band as well as a smartwatch.
The real question surrounding the iWatch is: After the cellphone removed the need for wristwatches, will Apple be able to entice millions of people into wearing a watch again?