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Apple iWatch: What we know so far

Yoni Heisler | May 29, 2013
Evidence indicates Apple is pouring resources into development of 'snap bracelet' style device with a flexible display.

Well for starters, let's start with the OS that will power it. The rumored device will reportedly run on a modified version of Apple's iOS and will consequently be more complex and powerful than, say, the stunted OS that currently powers Apple's iPod Nano.

It's also believed that the device is being designed to work closely with Apple's iPhone. Some use-case scenarios proffered by Apple patent filings detail how an iWatch might allow a user to respond to alerts sent from other devices and "even direct the operations of the portable electronic device to an extent limited by the accessory device user interface."

Apple patent filings further explain that a user could use an iWatch type device to accomplish tasks such as adjusting the running order of a playlist, review a list of recent phone calls, and even answer a text message via a virtual keyboard on the flexible display.

Using the device to capture images and video footage is also a possibility laid out by Apple.

While patent filings are typically broad by nature, Bloomberg not to long ago relayed some more details:

``Features under consideration include letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check map coordinates, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren't public. It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates..."

And there have been reports that Apple's iWatch will come with an accelerometer capable of tracking a user's movements throughout the day and accordingly updating information such as calories burned.

In any of this sounds somewhat familiar, it's because Nike's FuelBand currently does the same thing. Nike's FuelBand app also links up to an iPhone app which allows users to check their activity history, set daily activity goals, and monitor their progress along the way. It also lets users compare their daily activity metrics with friends.

And it just so happens that Apple CEO Tim Cook sits on Nike's board of directors and happens to wear a Nike FuelBand himself. Other features Apple may deploy with an iWatch include NFC functionality, Siri, and navigation software.

And oh yes, it might just tell time as well.

What will it look like?
This is where things get interesting. Apple has a number of patents relating to wearable technology, but one of their more notable patents on the matter (US Patent 20130044215) was filed back in August 2011 and published this past February.

The patent describes a device with a flexible display and bi-stable springs, allowing for two equilibrium positions. In laymen's terms, the device described is akin to a slap bracelet insofar as it has two distinct configurations; it has the ability to be perfectly straight and to also snugly wrap around a user's wrist when need be.

 

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