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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.

Lastly, it's worth noting that one of the authors of the aforementioned patent is Fletcher Rothkopf. Rothkopf's LinkedIn profile reveals, amongst a number of achievements, that he has led engineers at Apple "to develop novel sensor technology for future-generation products."

The Taiwanese-based newspaper Economic Times recently claimed that Apple recently began sampling 1.5-inch OLED displays from RITEK as part of a small scale trial production run. Notably, the report says that Apple initially wanted to use 1.8-inch displays for the iWatch before deciding that the form factor would ultimately be too large. As a point of reference, the current iPod Nano screen is 2.5 inches on the diagonal.  It's also worth noting that the 6th generation iPod Nano -- which, incidentally, was often used as a watch by consumers -- has a screen that's just 1.54 inches.

However, reports like these should be taken with a grain of salt. Remember, Apple routinely tests various screen sizes for products before ultimately coming to a final form factor. For instance, Apple reportedly tested a number of display sizes during development of the iPad before deciding to go with a 9.7-inch display.

WHEN WILL  IT COME OUT?
Both The Verge and Bloomberg reported independently of one another that Apple is planning to release the iWatch as early as 2013. If this proves to true, expect Apple to try and time the launch date in time to take advantage of the always busy and profitable holiday shopping season which kicks off right after Thanksgiving.

As with any new and potentially revolutionary new product, challenges are plentiful.

A recent report from The Verge says that Apple's  iWatch team has reportedly run into trouble with battery life. While Apple would like its iWatch to run for 4-5 days between charges, current prototypes are reportedly petering out after just a "couple days max."

With respect to battery life, the Wall Street Journal previously noted that Apple has been working closely with Foxconn on solutions to make wearable technologies more power efficient.

Because the iWatch will reportedly work in conjunction with the iPhone, The Verge also noted that Apple has plenty of work to do on iOS for the iPhone to ensure that the devices can communicate with each other.

"We're also told Apple has some work to do with iOS on the iPhone, which currently has several hooks for supporting a watch-like device but lacks the appropriate interface or settings to make it work properly.''

Most recently, typically reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo chimed in and noted that the iWatch may not hit store shelves until the second half of 2014. In a note to investors, Kuo wrote that Apple at the present time may not have the resources to develop iWatch friendly version of iOS because it would require vast changes to the impending release of iOS 7.

 

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