back to article Apple said to develop curved glass iWatch with Foxconn

A weekend flurry of speculative articles stoked the Apple "iWatch" rumor mill, perhaps indicating that Cupertino is secreting some well-placed leaks to pump up interest in what it hopes might be its Next Big Thing™. The Wall Street Journal, for one, reports (paid subscription required) that "people briefed on the effort" tell …

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  1. danR2

    Not likely called ' iWatch', though.

    More likely iTime.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not likely called ' iWatch', though.

      How long until the innevitable patent appears where Apple claim a "method of dividing temporal durations into a sequence of equal periods which combine into a hierarchy of increasingly larger periods that can be associated with the movement of the earth, moon and sun"

      1. Mark .

        Re: Not likely called ' iWatch', though.

        Casio had better watch it - mine has rounded corners...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Apple units of time

        iSecond - defined as the length of time before it takes for an iPhone owner's pupils to dilate after a quick fondle.

        iMinute - defined as the length of time before drooling and sighing starts, post fondle.

        iHour - defined as the minimum length of time a fanboi must stay in an Apple Store once the threshold has been crossed.

        iDay - defined as the length of time before the first risible bug or shortcoming is found in a new piece of Apple software.

        iMonth - defined as the length of time before a fanboi just might admit that his latest iStrokey isn't working quite as well as it should be, given its price and the 18 iHour queue in the rain to get the damn thing.

        iAeon - defined as the length of time before Apple will comment obliquely on the bug found within one iDay.

  2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Watch out for the patents

    Never mind prior art, I bet they try to patent 'a device for indicating what proportion of the solar cycle has elapsed that can be attached to a limb', and the rest of us will then have to go back to wearing a half-hunter on a chain (probably no bad thing actually)

    1. MrT

      So long as...

      ...they don't just go through their portfolio replacing the innovative "on a mobile device" with "in a wearable item" - we'll all end up looking like Kryten whilst lawyers issue demands for the return of 50's-style bras and all episodes of Dallas, Dynasty etc have the shoulder pads pixellated out. Minecraft fashion for all...

  3. GBL Initialiser
    Coat

    I wonder how many different ways of telling the time a person will have on them if/when wearable computing becomes mainstream.

    "The time you say? Well certainly sir, would that be phone time, iWatch time, or augmented reality glasses time? If you have a moment I can drop my trousers and a sundial will be projected from my arse"

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Swatch tried introducing 'internet time' many years ago, subdividing the rotation of the earth into 'beats'. It didn't take off. But then, Swatch had a fairly normal-looking (by Swatch standards) watch with pager back in '94.

    2. Thorne

      "If you have a moment I can drop my trousers and a sundial will be projected from my arse"

      Wouldn't be easier to roll over and think happy thoughts?

      1. GBL Initialiser

        "Wouldn't be easier to roll over and think happy thoughts?"

        Rolling in wearable computing may void the warranty.

        1. Thorne

          "Rolling in wearable computing may void the warranty."

          But wearing nothing makes the sundial work better...

          1. frank ly

            @Thorne

            How would you calibrate it?

            1. Thorne

              Re: @Thorne

              If there is a shadow, time for sex?

              1. Thorne

                Re: @Thorne

                No shadow, time for a sandwich!

                1. AceRimmer

                  Re: @Thorne

                  Wrong time? You're holding it wrong

                  1. t.est

                    Re: @Thorne

                    actually it would all be according to einstein.

                    So Apples reply would not be, "you're holding it wrong", it would be "you're moving it wrong".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A watch to make calls through your phone? How i-nnovative

    A watch to make calls through your phone? How i-nnovative of Apple.

    Just a second, my Pebble is saying I have an incoming call....

    (Isn't it funny that everybody said the wristwatch was dead until Pebble had such a successful Kickstarter - and then the Pravda changed.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: A watch to make calls through your phone? How i-nnovative

      People are saying the regular wrist watch is dead? They are more dependable time keeper than a mobile phone.

      Of course with an iWatch, you'll have to charge it too, it will probably take some proprietary cable to do it. Probably called "iWatchCableToChargeYetAnotherThingYouReallyDoNotNeed".

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: A watch to make calls through your phone? How i-nnovative

        >Of course with an iWatch, you'll have to charge it too

        Since we're talking of hypotheticals at this stage, don't narrow your thinking so!

        It depends on how much power it requires to do what it does. A few weeks back on the Reg, we had Zigbee light switches that took all the power they needed from the user throwing the switch, by means of piezo crystals. If that is too simplistic, then Apple have patents on certain aspects of wireless charging (namely a mechanism that prioritises which devices on your desk are charged first).

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: A watch to make calls through your phone? How i-nnovative

          Power is an issue but given how long an iPos nano/shuffle can last on a charge, maybe not an insurmountable one, depending what the device actually has to do.

          Is self-winding technology applicable here? Any solution needs to be super-slick especially if it's Apple... no trailing wire or big clunky watch to fit the battery.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "iPOS"

            Seems like you made a typo there... but accidentally coined an ideal term for all Apple products.

    2. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: A watch to make calls through your phone? How i-nnovative

      I think the Mash has it about right:

      http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/science-technology/apple-takes-on-casio-2013021259359

      Apple fan Julian Cook said: “Will it have a picture of an apple on it? OK, I’m in.”

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Wow, like playing darts.

    If we are just going to throw darts at the board of someone else's ideas then...

    iOwl: A robotic owl that can fly in your orders to Starbucks, has realtime iMap updates, and of course iCloud capabilities.

    1. Thorne
      FAIL

      Re: Wow, like playing darts.

      If your iOwl is running iMaps I don't like the odds of him finding Starbucks let alone making it back home...

      1. AceRimmer

        Re: Wow, like playing darts.

        You say it like that's a bad thing

    2. Robert E A Harvey
      Coat

      Re: Wow, like playing darts.

      iCowl: a monk's hood style garment with head-up displays around the edge and which makes a swishing noise when you turn corners

      iHowl: A companion robot wolf that follows you round and has a built-in moon phase indication, by sound.

      iJowl: nodding robotic dog that negotiates all your insurance needs.

      iPowell: (prounounced Pole): automated novelist, can only write books with the same characters.

      iDowel: computerised device for jointing the edges of wooden boards, or building substructures for abacuses

      iFoul: portable device to assist football referees

      iFowl: portable egg production device.

      <- I'll get me iCowl

  6. SuccessCase

    Notifications, directions, context based information and location based information, messages, voice dictation, call buzzer, call screening, supplementary hands free microphone, NFC (in a more convenient place than the phone), security key for 2 factor authentication for device unlock, integrated passbook passes, 2 factor authentication security extended to third party apps (most notably banking), sports functions (tachometer, altimeter, pedometer etc.) meaning the phone can be left securely in a back-pack of pocket whilst exercising, waterproofed for all weather access, find my phone.

    Just a few of the potential complimentary functions...

    Oh and telling the time.

    1. Caltharian

      so a bit like something sony came up with a few years ago to go with the xperia line of phones?

      http://www.sonymobile.com/gb/products/accessories/smartwatch/

      1. mickey mouse the fith

        "so a bit like something sony came up with a few years ago to go with the xperia line of phones?"

        They actually work with any Android device and the revision 1 model is mega cheap on Amazon (£16).

        The second revision one had all the little foibles ironed out but is a bit pricier (£60ish).

        It displays sms/incoming calls/phone status etc as well as running a shitload of custom apps.

        You can even have google maps displayed on it, great for cycling etc, when you can leave the phone tucked away in a rucksack and navigate via the watch.

        Its really easy to develop for as well, which is nice. Downside is that its not armour plated enough for the environments id be exposing it to. Nice toy to play with though.

        The things i want in a smartwatch are ruggedness, water resistance and plenty of apps. If Apple can produce such a watch, and it doesnt cost a stupid amount or have some silly restrictions built in, colour me interested.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Quite cool

          I had never seen this piece of geekness

      2. SuccessCase

        "so a bit like something sony came up with a few years ago to go with the xperia line of phones?"

        Yes and Microsoft produced tablets before the iPad. Didn't take off though did they. The Sony watch hasn't either. I guess when the Apple watch takes off it will only be because the users are brainwashed, like everyone was brainwashed into preferring the iPad over MIcrosoft's offerings.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Sarcasm?

          (body)

  7. Steve I
    Go

    Prior art...

    I had a watch 40 years ago...

  8. Bruce Hoult

    NYT and WSJ had simply been reading blogs...

    Clearly, both newspapers had simply read early Apple UI guru Bruce Tognazzini's purely "what if?" blog post from a week ago:

    http://asktog.com/atc/apple-iwatch/

    It doesn't take any more than that to explain the close timing in the media, and *certainly* it doesn't mean Apple has a product on the verge of release.

    It would be out of character for them not to have been playing with the idea in the labs for a few years already though, waiting for the gating technology to hit.

  9. theopriestley

    iWatch or iPhone ?

    Do you remember the concepts mooted when the original iPhone rumor first surfaced ? And do you remember seeing the iPhone for the first time and laughing at the pictures splashed all over the magazines a week before launch of a white phone with a jog-wheel ? It’s happening again, only this time with the iWatch.

    http://successfulworkplace.com/2013/02/11/its-an-iphone-tim-but-not-as-we-know-it/

    1. The lone lurker
      Thumb Down

      Re: iWatch or iPhone ?

      Nice plug Theo..... but that article is just fucking bad - seriously, I don't like swearing even on the internet but I just cannot figure how else to express my disgust.

      You tell me that "The mobile phone form factor as it is today is dying". I say bullshit. A quick Google shows that in the last quarter of 2012 smartphone sales alone have accounted for massive growth (47% compared to 2011) in the mobile phone sector.

      Almost everyone I see has a smartphone and even my Luddite father who still has a Nokia 6310 has finally started talking about how he'd like a phone that "does something".

      You then compound your nonsensical drivel by stating "Nobody really wants screen real-estate in a device we talk into, it’s senseless and unnecessary." Go and sit on a bus, take a train or even go a coffee shop. almost all people there will have a smartphone and it will appear to be glued to their hands.

      Are you seriously saying that people will want a phone only if it's small and wearable? That apple will release this shit and the whole industry will collectively slap their forehead and see where they've all been going wrong?

      Smartphones have their place in the world at the moment and have got there by combining features that people want, not by isolating a single subset. By your logic we'd all be walking around with a dumbphone and a tablet and that the original iphone should have failed.

      I can see the point that a device to supplement your phone may be a good idea - on paper. However, if it was actually a good idea then the myriad of other devices that do the same job and are already on the market would be selling in the millions. please explain why, in your twisted vision of the near future the 'big' companies (Samsung et al) are not already all over this?

      The rest of the article appears to be the deluded wanking fantasy of a 'futurist'. I wasted my time reading your article and it made me angry enough to write this, I'm not angry at your opinion just in the way that you've neglected to announce it as complete fiction at the beginning.

      I sincerely hope that I never stumble across any of your other work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: iWatch or iPhone ?

        I guess you haven't heard of the Pebble? Or taken a look at the market for GPS/heart monitor watches.

        You might not want to accept it but until the point that it became possible to do away with PC's that market was booming ... who'd have guessed that a sizeable number of PC users actually only wanted them to do email, internet, play shit games and watch videos.

        I don't want a smartphone ... I want a good sized Tablet that can make calls via a headset and as a potential purchaser of the Pebble I'd suggest that having such a device to sit inbetween the tablet and the headset is a brilliant idea ... seems like there's plenty of other people that think the same. But don't let that stop you holding onto outmoded ways of doing things.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: iWatch or iPhone ?

      I can't agree with the conclusion of that linked article ["the iWatch is the next iPhone"] because of the battery issue- a watch is too small for a decent sized battery, and it isn't convenient to charge.

      Apple thought it better to omit 3G from the first iPhone because they didn't want the battery life to be a complete joke.

    3. CmdrX3
      Thumb Down

      Someone needs their meds

      Couldn't agree more with The lone lurker's view on your article (It pisses me off when people plug their sites in comments btw and only serves to make me not want to visit it again)

      "The mobile phone form factor as it is today is dying" - Since when, outside novelty items what other form factors for a mobile phone are you seeing. Stitching tech into fabrics, is one of the stupidest ideas that has been circulating of recent years and to date it hasn't taken off, simply because it's a bad idea. I can see specific applications where it may be of use but not on a mass consumer scale. The mobile phone form factor works because a. it's mobile, b. It's mobile and c. It's mobile, it doesn't need to be able to communicate with some other odd bit of cheap tech that's been stitched in before it works correctly.

      "Nobody really wants screen real-estate in a device we talk into, it’s senseless and unnecessary" - Nobody apart from the tens of millions buying larger screen smartphones with one of the main reasons being it having ....larger screens. Even Apple the great "disrupters" have now conceded that people want larger screens.

      The iWatch isn’t about controling apps from your wrist. The iWatch is the next iPhone - Which means that either people are going to either have to have their conversions in public and look like idiots, hold a watch type device to their ear and look like idiots or once again have an extra bit of equipment for the ear connected either by wireless or wired means, and will mean people have to walk around with bluetooth type devices hanging on their ears...and look like idiots.

      After reading the article my first thought was why did he call this site successful workplace, and I would redirect you to the first two sentences of this comment

  10. Apieroux

    Analogue?

    What about the people who have real, well designed watches?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Analogue?

      They can keep them?

  11. Mike Flugennock
    Meh

    The "new hotness"?

    "New hotness", my ass. I've been hearing wearable computer hype since at least the late '80s. M'eh.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: The "new hotness"?

      Tablets existed before iPad too. Apple are good at turning hype into hype people will pay for.

      1. Mark .

        Re: The "new hotness"?

        Or rather, the media are good at doing it - the hype for the ipad started before it was even announced, let alone released. Meanwhile Android tablets (some of which appeared in 2009) were ignored until recently. No doubt we'll see the same thing here, where the media give vast amount of coverage for some iwatch, whilst the earlier Android models are completely ignored. People will buy it just so they can walk around with an Apple logo stapled on their wrist. Meanwhile Casio etc will continue to sell far more watches.

        Tablets were mainstream in the 2000s - it's just we didn't call them tablets, we called them names like PDAs, media players and smartphones (they're all handheld touchscreen computing devices - I mean, I was looking at mp3 players in 2009, and at the high end were large devices which ran Android or Windows, and did videos, Internet and apps - i.e., tablets) (the other kind of "tablet" - the laptop PC that was also a tablet - wasn't that mainstream, but then the ipad wasn't one of those anyway).

  12. Tom 35 Silver badge

    More likely

    Cupertino simply juicing the stock price.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: More likely

      What about sending the media off into a frienzy and then they realease something else entirely?

      iRedHerring anyone?

      Coat? Yes

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More likely

      What makes you think it's Apple doing it? Seriously!

      The collective tech journalist/analyst community, ably helped by bloggers and other riff-raff of dubious intellectual capability, have expended considerable effort and consumed many metres of column space successfully talking down the Apple stock.

      Now that every one is long on the stock again, they can weave their weasel words again to the opposite effect.

  13. DougS Silver badge

    Flexible glass is the wet dream of the tech press

    It is totally impractical, unless you don't think having chips inside whatever the glass covers is important (yes, I read something about bendy silicon chips recently but that is research only and years if ever from being for sale)

    No matter how bendy the glass, watches using it aren't going to wrap around your wrist, so quit dreaming about phones that fold or watches that curve around your wrist. Not going to happen, at least not anytime soon in the way it is being presented to a gullible public. Not to mention the bendy glass scratches much more easily than the Gorilla Glass used on phone screens and can still shatter, so might not be the best thing for something you wear around your wrist!

    Watches that don't bend have been around for a long time, and people are fine with them. While having a good part of it (i.e., the band) fit nicely around the wrist is a good thing, it really doesn't matter if the whole thing does. In fact, I think I might find it harder to read if it did.

    If Apple does come out with a watch, the deal they signed with the Swiss Railroad about using their clock might come in handy, as if I had to bet I'd guess the "show the time" mode for an Apple watch would show an analog dial, while a Google watch would show digital, complete with seconds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Flexible glass is the wet dream of the tech press

      It's kind of funny, as an Apple hater I hope they fail, but as someone that has a reasonable grasp on reality I can see that they will succeed.

      No one saw the iPhone coming or the iPad for that matter ... not that these things weren't already in existence, but that Apple would be so successful reinventing them as their own.

      I'd go for a watch that did more than just tell the time. If I'm honest I rarely wear my watch as the phone covers timekeeping duties and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. How much more convenient would it be to be able to see sms etc on a watch without having to scramble for the phone at the bottom of the bag. how much easier would it be to be able to answer and dial calls via such a watch.

      As long as it's well designed, looks good and costs an appropriate amount this will be a massive success and if you don't have one that's because you are behind the times, old fashioned and out to pasture.

      1. Mark .

        Re: Flexible glass is the wet dream of the tech press

        "No one saw the iPhone coming or the iPad for that matter"

        There was vast amounts of media hype before the iphone release. There was vast amounts of media hype even before the ipad was announced - remember "islate"?

        For the rest of your comment - go get a Pebble or whatever.

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Flexible glass is the wet dream of the tech press

      No matter how bendy the glass, watches using it aren't going to wrap around your wrist

      Well, I must have imagined then having a hard time to find an engraver for a CK watch bracelet I was going to give someone as a present (the bracelet curvature means it doesn't fit in the simpler engraving machines so it had to be done manually by expert engravers).

      Oh, you meant *flexible* - are you not assuming too much? You may need a curved glass display, but I don't quite see the need for it to be flexible.

  14. Dana W
    Meh

    I love Apple, but if this does happen, and I'm seriously doubtful, I won't be getting one, I'm not going to give up my vintage Accutrons, or 70's retro Seikos for it.

    1. Tony Paulazzo

      I love Apple, but if this does happen, and I'm seriously doubtful, I won't be getting one, I'm not going to give up my vintage Accutrons, or 70's retro Seikos for it.

      Well, obviously, I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure Apple won't demand you give them your old watches in exchange. It would be like having three watches instead of two - like, I didn't have to give them my first born for my iPad, I just gave them money - I mean, I totally would have... /jk

      1. Dana W
        Meh

        You seem to lack reading comprehension. The point is, I'm not going to stop wearing my real watches "Most of which have been keeping time for 30-50 years" to wear an electronic toy that will be obsolete in 18 months.

        I love it. Pro Apple comments, thumbs down, anti-Apple comments, thumbs down. You just can't win.

  15. Tony Paulazzo

    Well...

    Fuck me sideways and call me Shirley: So Apple invented the watch now?

    Would it use Apple's Siri sometimes-it-works-sometimes-it-doesn't "intelligent personal assistant?"

    I think it would work better if they stole Androids idea of baking Siri into the OS rather than requiring an internet connection and distant server (y'know, like they did with notifications;-).

    And as for Blutooth - Super Bluetooth Hack Full noob EASY Tutorial on uTube, I tend to keep Blutooth off unless necessary - and, of course, it wanks the battery harder than wifi.

    The Next Big iThing tm LOL!

    DISCLAIMER: I've got an iPad3 and love it (except for the missing sdcard).

    1. t.est

      Re: Well...

      Well that would really be a technical breakthrough.

      Google's version is a search engine at it's roots. Siri is an so called Ai that has to run on more or less something of a super computer, similar to IBM's Watson.

      Still Google outperforms and so does Watson, Apple should get their thumb out of their b.. on this. They got the tech but no action.

  16. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Devil

    WSJ = ignore

    You Brits have to remember that the WSJ is the US equivalent of The Mail.

  17. Corborg

    Terror Wrist

    The watch as a computer form factor is useless. At best it will be a bluetooth remote for the Ipod or Iphone in your back pocket.

  18. Bracken Dawson

    Cover up

    Hype to hide that they are doing an iCamera, shortly they'll get sued by Samsung again over their android cameras...

  19. Identity
    Alien

    You forgot...

    that perhaps the greatest inciter of these rumors is a speculative/suggestion-filled blog by Bruce Tognazzi, one-time design maven for Apple. That can be found at http://asktog.com/atc/apple-iwatch/

    What worries me (as a shareholder) is what if all this foofaraw comes to naught?

  20. Gil Grissum
    Thumb Down

    iWatch?

    Just get yourself an arm band for you iPhone or your iPod Nano and there's your "iWatch". Who really wants an iWatch? Planning on queuing up in line for that?

  21. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    As before..

    .. a simple observation. If the watch is the whole device it will have an even more appalling battery life than your average smartphone. I can see a watch being a wireless *extension* of a phone, but that's not exactly a new concept.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: As before..

      Why? My ipod has a way longer useful battery life than my smartphone.

  22. Champ

    No doubt Apple will claim they've invented the watch. But my Pebble is on its way to me, so I'll be happy with something which is (I'll bet) cheaper, more functional, and definitely more open.

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