Apple Has Team of 100 Product Designers Working on a Smart Watch
Bloomberg is reporting that Apple has a team of about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch computer, according to "two people familiar with the company's plans." The New York Times previously reported that Apple had been "experimenting" with a curved glass smart watch, but Bloomberg believes that Apple's smart watch plans have moved beyond the experimental phase.
The team, which has grown in the past year, includes managers, members of the marketing group and software and hardware engineers who previously worked on the iPhone and iPad, said the people, who asked not to be named because the plans are private. The team’s size suggests Apple is beyond the experimentation phase in its development, said the people.
Apple's senior director of engineering, James Foster, is said to be one of the managers working on the project, which happens to involve challenges like creating a smart watch that doesn't have to be charged every day. The smart watch, known colloquially by some as the "iWatch," would be able to do some of the same tasks as the iPad and iPhone.
Bloomberg also mentions that Apple had been planning a wearable fitness tracking device, much like Nike FuelBand or Jawbone Up, but that Apple had decided not to bring them to market. Apple CEO Tim Cook is a Nike board member and spoke about his own Nike FuelBand at the D10 Conference last year, also saying that wearable devices were an "interesting area" but that "the book hasn't been written on that one yet."
Top Rated Comments
It'll be a "watch" as much as the iPhone is a phone -- which is to say, that wont be its compelling purpose.
Some of these might happen in a small way instead, but when Apple does something big (probably only seen as big in hindsight!) I think it will be one of these:
Wearable computing (whether standalone or as a companion device; wristwatch-style most likely)
Automotive interfaces done right
TV done right (may include apps, may serve as a game console)
Home integration done right (remote control and timed control in new/easier ways?)
Desktop touch computing done right (not just OS X with touch awkwardly shoehorned in, not just large-size iOS)
Siri becoming something more (may include 3rd-party API, may include Siris AI in non-voice uses)
VOIP done right (audio-only, evolution of FaceTime, breaking the US carrier mess)
Mobile wallet functionality (ubiquitous payment, ID, keys; evolution of PassBook; fingerprint scanning)
I do NOT think it will be anything to do with augmented reality or virtual reality. I think those are awesome, but my list above is all things that MIGHT be of use to just about anyone. I see AR and VR being of interest to only a subsegment; AR because making it be widely useful would mean wearing something silly, and VR because its broadest appeal is only for certain kinds of gaming. (But give me a Rift! Im the subsegment!)
And Im not counting the many smaller enhancements to existing categories. Well see iOS 7+ (and OS X) drive lots of that evolution and it will be great, but Im speculating on the next big thing that either becomes a new category or redefines an old one.