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Apple Hardware Technology

Apple Said To Be Working On a 'Watch-Like Device' 291

Posted by timothy
from the i-watch-sounds-hinky dept.
The WSJ reports that Apple is "experimenting with designs for a watch-like device that would perform some functions of a smartphone, according to people briefed on the effort." An excerpt: The company has discussed such a device with its major manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., one of these people said, as part of explorations of potentially large product categories beyond the smartphone and tablet. Apple's efforts come as companies have introduced various kinds of wearable gadgets, mainly designed to measure physical activity. More sophisticated devices face big technical challenges, but also are attracting investments from large technology companies. Foxconn, as Hon Hai is also known, has been working on a spate of technologies that could be used in wearable devices, one of these people said. In particular, the Taiwan-based company has been working to address the challenges of making displays more power-efficient and working with chip manufacturers to strip down their products."
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Apple Said To Be Working On a 'Watch-Like Device'

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  • The iWatch (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:03PM (#42853193)

    Kind of like this? http://getpebble.com/

    • Re:The iWatch (Score:5, Interesting)

      by oodaloop (1229816) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:07PM (#42853227)
      Like that, but with fewer buttons and way more expensive.
    • Or Sony's SmartWatch of a year ago.

    • Re:The iWatch (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @07:31PM (#42853939)
      I've only had my Pebble for a few days, but I'm finding it pretty convenient when I'm out and about. A lot quicker when I'm walking somewhere, or on the subway, to glance at my wrist to see if I need to respond to an email right away or if it can wait. And the (currently) rudimentary music controls are convenient, too. It's still in a primitive state, but hopefully the developer community will come up with some killer apps for it. Time will tell if it becomes useful enough to survive past the toy stage and become a regular fixture on my arm.
      • I've only had my Pebble for a few days, but I'm finding it pretty convenient when I'm out and about. A lot quicker when I'm walking somewhere, or on the subway, to glance at my wrist to see if I need to respond to an email right away or if it can wait. And the (currently) rudimentary music controls are convenient, too.

        It's still in a primitive state, but hopefully the developer community will come up with some killer apps for it. Time will tell if it becomes useful enough to survive past the toy stage and become a regular fixture on my arm.

        'Need to respond to an email right away'? Email is an inherently laggy and unreliable messaging system...

        • by hawguy (1600213)

          I've only had my Pebble for a few days, but I'm finding it pretty convenient when I'm out and about. A lot quicker when I'm walking somewhere, or on the subway, to glance at my wrist to see if I need to respond to an email right away or if it can wait. And the (currently) rudimentary music controls are convenient, too.

          It's still in a primitive state, but hopefully the developer community will come up with some killer apps for it. Time will tell if it becomes useful enough to survive past the toy stage and become a regular fixture on my arm.

          'Need to respond to an email right away'? Email is an inherently laggy and unreliable messaging system...

          Maybe you need a new email provider. With both Gmail and my company's Exchange system, emails show up on my mobile device within 10 seconds or so at least 99% of the time. I can't even remember the last time I lost an email I was expecting - sometimes emails get trapped in a spam filter, but almost never with someone I correpspond regularly (like my coworkers).

          Availability of the mobile network on my commute is far less reliable than my email services, but even so there are still times when I'd like to retu

          • Its an inherent part of the email protocol, add in spam filtering and its unreliable.

          • by hedwards (940851)

            That's only guaranteed if the messages don't need to move between servers. If they do, then there's the theoretical 5 days or so that the servers are supposed to keep trying to find a route before giving up. One of the downsides to the decentralized nature of the net is that sometimes things just get lost.

  • I Knew It (Score:5, Funny)

    by longbot (789962) <longbottle@gEINS ... minus physicist> on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:03PM (#42853195) Homepage
    The return of the iPod Nano!
    • The touchscreen nano is a decent size for a watch; if it could use wireless headphones it might be an interesting proposition.
      • As long as it also had more space than a Nomad.

    • The current ipod nano with six icons on the screen would make a great phone. Possibly good enough for me to buy an iphone.

  • Uh, oh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:03PM (#42853199)

    Apple won't be able to blame any malfunctions on "holding it wrong."

  • by naroom (1560139) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:05PM (#42853205)
    With only one button on it. The button says "PAY".
    • Metrosexual man, the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because thatâ(TM)s where all the best shops are), is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade. In the Eighties he was only to be found inside fashion magazines such as GQ, in television advertisements for Levi's jeans or in gay bars. In the Nineties, heâ(TM)s everywhere and heâ(TM)s going shopping.

      And he's wearing a watch.

      • by MrKaos (858439)

        Metrosexual man, In the Nineties, heâ(TM)s everywhere and heâ(TM)s going shopping.

        And he's wearing a watch.

        Dood, it's 2013, who else do you think could have designed the Windows 8's Metrosexual interface interface?

  • Oh, the irony! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by newcastlejon (1483695) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:07PM (#42853229)

    I stopped wearing a watch years ago because I could pull my phone (not even a smart one) out of my pocket to see what time it was.

    I'd be interested to know how many people still wear a watch as anything more than a big piece of jewellery.

    • Re:Oh, the irony! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by oodaloop (1229816) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:12PM (#42853267)
      I stopped wearing a watch outside of work recently, for the same reason. However, no one is allowed to bring cell phones, 2-way pager, cameras, or anything that can transmit or connect to a computer. So I wear a simple Casio watch to work and typically take it off when I get home. I'd love to go to a smart watch like Pebble that can connect to my phone, display alerts, play music, etc however I couldn't wear it to work.
      • Re:Oh, the irony! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:54PM (#42853637) Journal

        I stopped wearing a watch outside of work recently, for the same reason. However, no one is allowed to bring cell phones, 2-way pager, cameras, or anything that can transmit or connect to a computer. So I wear a simple Casio watch to work and typically take it off when I get home. I'd love to go to a smart watch like Pebble that can connect to my phone, display alerts, play music, etc however I couldn't wear it to work.

        They let someone wearing a simple Casio watch [wikipedia.org] into a high-security environment?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cmseagle (1195671)
      Most anyone who works in a somewhat formal environment. Pulling out your cellphone to check the time looks unprofessional.
      • Pulling out your cellphone to check the time looks unprofessional.

        Wake up, man! Thats just what Rolex want you to think! :P

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Unprofessional only in the same way that white, unembossed business cards are unprofessional. Would you say an executive who wore a cheap Casio also looked unprofessional compared to the exec next to him/her with a gold-plated arm ornament?

        Professionalism is in the eye of the beholder, and when I see an expensive watch I think "more money than sense". One can argue about how many smartphones are overpriced toys, but at least they do something more than tell the damn time.

        • by Pulzar (81031)

          Professionalism is in the eye of the beholder, and when I see an expensive watch I think "more money than sense".

          You're only hurting yourself by jumping to such conclusions. There is no way that you can accurately estimate the price of the watch you see on someone's arm. More often than not, expensive-looking watches are anything but.

        • You are missing the point. My mechanical watch tells me exactly what time it is and it allows me to pick on everybody else at my meetings for being late and I don't care what time their phones say it is. Meetings start according to my watch...
    • If you a) don't drive everywhere and b) it gets cold where you live then you don't want to be undoing your overcoat and ferreting around in your pockets when you could just push your sleeve up a bit.

    • Re:Oh, the irony! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by paiute (550198) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:47PM (#42853567)

      I stopped wearing a watch years ago because I could pull my phone (not even a smart one) out of my pocket to see what time it was.

      Ten years from now: "I stopped carrying a cell phone in my pocket years ago because I can just speak to my wearable device to make a call."

      • What goes around comes around. I just wish that flares would come back into fashion.
        • well, if your car breaks down, just pull over to a safe area on the road and put on your emergency blinkers.

    • by Salo2112 (628590)
      I enjoy long walks - for exercise and stress release. I don't want to be in communication with anyone, but I do want to know roughly how far I have walked and when I should be heading back in, and for this, a watch is perfect.
    • by antdude (79039)

      I still don't own a mobile phone since I am disabled with speech and hearing impediments and can't hold things. However, I do wear and use a Casio calculator watch. It would be nice to have a small and light watch that is like a smartphone.

    • For many years I didn't wear a watch, but I do now. It is rude to look at your phone while meeting with someone and it kinda gives away that you're wishing you were somewhere else. It is much easier to surreptitiously glance at your watch. This is the only reason I wear one.
      • this is VERY generational.

        I'm middle age and I consider it rude to pull out your phone while we are in a meeting (even just lunch); but if you are 20's and 30's age, its COMMON to see people checking their phones every 15 mins or so. people will sit at tables and stare at their phones and poke at it, even when there's another person in their party across from them.

        more and more, the younger generation's ways will be commonplace and accepted.

        would I check my phone if in a meeting with a ceo? probably not.

        • by Culture20 (968837)
          And if you're 40's or older, glancing at your watch or even a wall clock during a conversation is rude too. It's the same message ("What time is it? This conversation is lasting forever.").
      • It is rude to look at your phone while meeting with someone

        That's why you set your phone on the table beforehand, so you can just glance at it.

        People notice you looking at watches, much harder to hide that action.

    • by solios (53048)

      I've worn a watch once in the last four years.

      While my phone was being serviced!

    • I'm used to wearing a watch. It's easier than fishing the phone out of my pocket, but I don't have any of the good reasons others have given, I'm just used to being able to see the time easily.

      It isn't a matter of fashion, it's a slightly ugly Casio because I like gadgets and this is waterproof, has a compass and thermometer. But even without the gadgets I'd still expect to see the time and date just by looking at my wrist.
    • I stopped wearing a watch years ago because I could pull my phone (not even a smart one) out of my pocket to see what time it was.

      Same here - watches always irritated my skin (even hypoallergenic ones), and once I carried a phone always that just made more sense to tell time with. A watch was excess that you had to be careful not to damage.

      I can see watches making a retro comeback of some kind, but I can't see any electronic watch being a mass-market item in the way they used to be.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:10PM (#42853259) Journal
    Recently we've been getting some unlikely apple rumors....AppleTV.......watch device......

    What this really means is Apple has started fighting leaks by leaking false rumors. That's what I think this comes from.
    • According to MacWorld, Apple critics are all just jealous, mis-informed and or paranoid...

      Dan Moren, senior editor of Macworld, talked tech with cofounder of gdgt Ryan Block, Wired staff writer Christina Bonnington, Ars Technica editor Jacqui Cheng and tech blogger John Gruber.

      In their eyes, Apple’s critics were misinformed, jealous and/or paranoid.

      “People like the underdog,” Bonnington said. “People just cut Apple down because it’s in the headlines all the time.

      ht [allvoices.com]

  • by ColdCat (2586245) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:25PM (#42853385)
    Apple was so good with daylight saving and news years alarms calculation that a apple watch is certainly a good idea.
  • Brilliant... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...now we have to look forward to all the Apple fanbois claiming that Apple invented the wrist watch.

  • The problem is... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:36PM (#42853475)
    The problem is:

    A) The display

    B) The interface

    The closest Apple has come to a watch is the iPod Nano (6th gen) which had a whole host of problems, namely that the screen (and therefore the interface) was tiny. Assuming the Nano 6th gen as a template in size, what functions of my smartphone could that easily replace? Music playback would work, but not videos, nor would web or messaging work all that well. I suppose a game or two might not be too bad. But other than that I'm at a loss as to what it could have that my smartphone has. Streaming music perhaps? But really, the screen is going to be too tiny to be usable.
  • I don't wear wristwatches because I am hairy, but I would like a pocketwatch-formfactor MID running Android. Gingerbread would be OK, and QVGA even, as long as it has at least a 2MP camera.

    I looked at iPod Nano even though it is made by Apple but it is just too fragile and getting it coated for liquid resistance is just too expensive.

  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:40PM (#42853511)
    It should read "Apple working on likable device that watches you (better). "
  • by Ken_g6 (775014) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:51PM (#42853611) Homepage

    "Apple needs to move on to a new form factor" [slashdot.org]

    I hope I didn't start this rumor. It seems like a logical thing to do, but I had no evidence they were doing it.

  • The concept seems pretty useless to me, given that your cellphone is almost equally as accessible nowadays. Maybe they are letting out these rumors to force their competition to re-focus their R&D in something useless and make them waste money ant time? The idea of the Apple TV screen kind of rings of the same.
  • by kbahey (102895) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:55PM (#42853649) Homepage

    Sony already makes an Android watch, the SmartWatch [sonymobile.com] ...

    But this will be Apple's ... Ooooh ... Shiny ...

    • Sony already makes an Android watch, the SmartWatch [sonymobile.com] ...

      But this will be Apple's ... Ooooh ... Shiny ...

      Does it come with a root kit? ... Ooooh ... free software ...

      • sony watch: every time its about to strike midnight, it checks the DRM database to see if you're allowed to know the date has changed.

    • Sony already makes an Android watch, the SmartWatch [sonymobile.com] ...

      But this will be Apple's ... Ooooh ... Shiny ...

      The biggest difference is that I've heard of this non-existent iWatch but I've never heard of Sony's watch. Thanks for the link, though, I'd actually like to check on of those out, just out of curiosity.

  • Much better read (Score:5, Informative)

    by b1ng0 (7449) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @06:59PM (#42853679)

    Tog has a better take on the iWatch: http://asktog.com/atc/apple-iwatch/ [asktog.com]

  • Considering Apple's lack of success with handling alarms, new years, and DST switches, would anyone really want a watch from Apple?

    • by Jeremi (14640)

      Considering Apple's lack of success with handling alarms, new years, and DST switches, would anyone really want a watch from Apple?

      The alternate point of view would be: now that Apple has been bitten by those bugs and (one hopes) fixed them, that means Apple can re-use the now-correct code in its new products rather than having to write (and then debug) new code.

      It's sort of like getting measles; if you came down with it once, you won't get it again because you're inoculated. Assuming Apple is smart enough to make its date/time algorithms reusable, of course.

  • Now that Apple was forced to license the Swiss Railway clock design (a la iOS 6), maybe their license extends to future products like iWatches?

  • The smart phone has retreated from shrinking for good reason - all things, no matter how advanced, reach a limit to their usefulness as input and display devices.

    Ideally, a watch-like "smart phone" would be better as a peripheral, ala the Pebble [getpebble.com], acting with a smart phone for additional freedom (and to replace an actual watch with something more flexible in function).

    I can see a future where people throw their hand up to the side of their face with a "phone handset" gesture, speaking into their pinky, liste

  • When Microsoft killed off the 4-year-old SPOT watch in 2008 they should have shown some true leadership and open sourced the entire platform.
  • it's the newfangled geezer pocket watch, and Siri tells me it also does fancy useful stuff when I ask it things. win-win, Apple's had it out for years now.

  • The other sites talk about Apple also pursuing a device with curved glass. I have to wonder if they've taken a page from the CST-01 [kickstarter.com] design validation unit on KickStarter. Could they be pursuing an iDevice in the wrist bracer form factor? I'm looking at the pictures and I'm telling myself that Apple has got to be exploring some sort of electronic device in this form. If so, it is going to be significantly more complex than a watch.

  • Calling Dick Tracy! Pruneface has escaped!

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

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