February 12, 2013
Talk of a smartwatch from Apple is heating up as the electronics giant is reportedly experimenting with wristwatch-like devices designed with curved glass, according to people familiar with the efforts. The watch would operate on Apple’s iOS platform and would be based in the company’s understanding of how this type of glass can curve around the human body. Apple declined to comment on such plans.
According to The New York Times, even just the exploration of the smartwatch idea leads to exciting inquiries. For example: “If the company does release such a product, what would it look like?” And…”Would it include Siri, the voice assistant? Would it have a version of Apple’s map software, offering real-time directions to people walking down the street? Could it receive text messages? Could it monitor a user’s health or daily activity? How much will it cost?”
Apple uses Corning’s durable Gorilla Glass for the iPhone and would likely use the company’s Willow Glass, or its bendable glass, for the smartwatch. Corning has been developing Willow Glass for more than a decade and it’s finally ready to go. Even so, it would still be difficult to create a foldable watch with the product, according to the report.
But if it were made, consumers would buy it, suggests Gene Munster, analyst at Piper Jaffray. “We believe technology could progress to a point where consumers have a tablet plus wearable computers, like watches or glasses, that enable simple things like voice calls, texting, quick searches, navigation. These devices are likely to be cheaper than an iPhone and could ultimately be Apple’s best answer to addressing emerging markets,” he wrote in a report.