Does Apple have the technology to make a curved glass watch, filled with smart technology? For now, there is no confirmation that the device even exists, much less an indication of how far along its development might be. But that hasn’t stopped the excited anticipation.
Minor leaks from unnamed sources who claim insider knowledge about the workings of the secretive company suggest that Apple is using a new invention by Corning Glass. Corning already makes the shatter-resistant glass that appears on iPhones. Its new “Willow Glass”—developed through more than a decade of experimentation—bends and flops about, without ever breaking. Thus, it could wrap easily around a wrist.
Other hints include Apple’s hiring practices. Recent trends show that Apple has added more staff to the division working on watches that would offer Bluetooth capabilities and rely on a small, less than 2-inch display. Furthermore, Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook often wears Nike’s FuelBand, an existing tool that can send information about his daily exertion levels to any of his i-devices.
Its competitors are not just sitting out this race for wearable computing either. Google reportedly is innovating glasses that would contain a small computer, whose displays would appear right above wearer’s eyeline. Apple might similarly be pursuing an eyeglass application. It recently filed for a patent for an over-eye technology device that would send information directly to people’s retinas.
Finally, commentators and observers across the computing industry argue that developing wearable computers is simply the next logical step in the drive to be smaller, more mobile, and more convenient for users. Can we thus anticipate calling family from our sunglasses, texting friends from our watches, and making online purchases from our earrings? According to one industry analyst, “a decade from now we won’t be able to imagine life without the wearables that we use to access information, unlock our doors, pay for goods and most importantly track our health.”
Source: Nick Bilton, “Disruptions: Where Apple and Dick Tracy May Converge,” The New York Times, February 10, 2013.