Apple is working on an ‘ iWatch’ follow-up to its phone and tablet range, but rival Samsung is also looking at wrist-based connectivity, according to the latest round of press rumours.
According to a report, last week in the New York Times, Apple is rumoured to have 100 member-strong team working on ‘iWatch’.
The Wall Street Journal has also published reports about the possibility of an Apple smartwatch.
Bloomberg also claims that Apple has “100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad”.
According to the source, the team working on the device includes members of the company’s iPhone and iPad software and hardware team, as well as staff dedicated to marketing the device.
If true, such a large and multi-tiered team would indicate that, contrary to previous reports, Apple has likely exited the experimental phase of working on the device and could be prepping for an upcoming product launch.
A further two informers claiming to be close with Apple’s plans say it is experimenting with a ‘wristwatch-like device made of curved glass’,operating on iOS.
According to the New York Times, Apple isn’t committed to building an iWatch, instead, it’s being characterised as an “experiment
The NYT also notes Corning has developed bendable glass last year called Willow Glass which could be used to wrap around something wrist, and cites Forrester’s claim that “Apple’s certainly made a lot of hiring in that area”.
There are also claims Apple is in discussions with Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, which makes a large number of iPhone and iPad parts, about producing an iWatch.
Foxconn are apparently working to make more power-efficient displays and stripping down chips, aimed at multiple Foxconn customers.
Whether these rumours of an iWatch turn out to be true or not, the speculation has nevertheless sparked discussion surrounding what kind of wearable tech mainstream consumers might prefer: a pair of glasses, a la Google Glass, or a wrist-mounted device like the rumored iWatch.
Meanwhile, Slashgear last week revealed screenshots which appear to indicate a competing smart watch from Samsung.
The screenshots, which are in black and white, originate from an unspecified Korean discussion forum and feature a Korean-language operating system.
The screens feature a 500×500-pixels resolution and use a tile-based interface not unlike that employed by Microsoft’s Windows 8. Tiles appear to give access to applications for music, email and maps, and the screenshots also show the device telling the time.
One screen indicates that the device appears to be called the “Galaxy Altius”, a name which could make it a companion device for Samsung’s successful Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets, or indeed a new generation of Galaxy devices.
The device appears to run software called “AltiusOS Beta 2″, which could indicate Samsung’s move away from using Windows and Android operating systems. Samsung has long been said to be planning to develop an in-house mobile OS to reduce its dependence on US-based software makers.
The names SKT and SK Telecom feature in the screenshots, suggesting a mobile data plan with an operator such as South Korea Telecom could be involved.
One screen indicates that the device includes only 235MB of storage space, which would seem to suggest that the watch is intended more as an interface for a nearby smartphone or tablet, rather than a stand-alone device. Motorola released a device of this type last year called the Motoactiv.