Apple is reportedly working on a Bluetooth-enabled watch with a 1.5-inch OLED screen linked to devices such as the iPad and the iPhone
Apple had a big year venturing into new markets, most notably with the launch of its first 7-in. tablet device, the iPad mini, and now reports are surfacing that Intel is working with chipmaker Intel to produce an Apple-branded smartwatch in 2013.
According to the report on China’s TGbus.com site, the Bluetooth-enabled device would feature a 1.5-in. OLED screen and be able to communicate with other Apple devices like the iPad or iPhone. The watch is also reported to feature indium tin oxide, (ITO)-coated glass, made by Taiwanese panel manufacturer RiTdisplay.
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While the report is nothing more than an unsubstantiated rumour at this point, there are a few concurrent developments that could lend credence to the report, such as Apple’s adoption of Bluetooth 4.0 technology, which offers Bluetooth low energy (BLE), designed for low-power and low-latency applications for wireless devices within a close range.
The partnership between Apple and Intel is also interesting in light of a 6 November Bloomberg report, which quoted unnamed sources saying Apple is getting ready to replace the Intel processors used in its PCs with silicon developed by British company ARM.
Apple has been using Intel chips in its PCs since 2005, and the transition wouldn’t happen for a few more years, the sources said. Processors from ARM, which licenses chip designs to Qualcomm and others, are currently found in Apple’s iPhone and iPad products.
The smartwatch market marks another place where Apple could breathe new life into an old and mostly ignored concepts. Outside of James Bond fanatics and Casio calculator watch collectors, smartwatches have held about as much consumer appeal as tablet computers once did – something that Apple irreversibly changed when it debuted the iPad.
Consumer electronics giant Sony currently offers a smartwatch powered by Google’s Android operating system, which has a three-level micro display and acts as an Android remote, gently vibrates on the wearer’s wrist to let the person know when a call, message, or other notification is coming in.
The newest player in the smartwatch space is a company called Pebble Technology, which in April 2011 became the most highly funded Kickstarter project to date, raising more than $10 million (£6m) for an e-paper watch that can display messages from a smartphone and be customised with applications and also features Bluetooth low-energy technology.
The Pebble will come with apps pre-installed, including a cycling app to measure speed, distance and pace through GPS, and a golf rangefinder app that supports more than 25,000 courses.
More apps will be downloadable from the phone, and a software development kit (SDK) will be freely available. The watch, which is expected to carry a battery that can last seven days, will be able to connect with Android and iOS devices.
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Originally published on eWeek.