Naturally a company the size of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is always looking for its next business opportunity, and the next market that it can branch out into. We’ve already seen the media and ValueWalk reporting extensively over the last week on their iBeacon technology, which Apple clearly intend to seriously rival the existing Near Field Communication standard. But there is another area in which it is rumored the company has yet another device just waiting to come out, with technicians and researchers currently beavering away on it as we speak.
I’m talking, of course, about the iWatch. This yet to be confirmed smartwatch has been assumed to be a forthcoming Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) product for some time now, and a few pieces of news over the last couple of weeks have seemed to indicate that it may be forthcoming in due course.
Medical staff drafted in
Firstly, according to a report from Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac, Apple is working closely with a raft of people who have experience in developing medical sensors. Gurman, an experienced reporter on the world’s newly minted top brand, stated that Apple has added two new people to their team whose credentials suggest that they will likely be working on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iWatch.
Specifically, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has hired Nancy Dougherty from the start-up company Sano Intelligence and Ravi Narasimhan from general medical devices firm Vital Connect. Dougherty was previously in charge of hardware development, while Narasimhan’s position had been the Vice President of Research and Development. Dougherty in particular was working on a patch which monitors a person’s blood on a perpetual basis. Thus, it is clear that her portfolio of work and qualifications in particular will make Dougherty ideal for working on the proposed iWatch.
Narasimhan also worked within a similar field, with Vital Connect using biosensor technology to measure vital signs such as skin temperature and respiratory rate. Their products were particularly aimed at elderly people, with technology aimed at ensuring that vulnerable people’s vital signs can be monitored for signs of dangerous alterations.
Thus, in accordance with this hiring of medical experts it is thought that the iWatch will have a health-related focus once it is launched. Certainly Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) like to innovate, and they will want their smartwatch device to have a specific niche, a functionality which sets it apart from competitors in the field.
Additionally, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s big rival Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is also apparently working on health-related products. Only last week, the huge corporation unveiled a contact lens that it has been working on which performs the quite incredible function of monitoring glucose levels in tears. This sounds like science-fiction, but isn’t; Google’s technology is intended to assist diabetics that require insulin to be injected intravenously to safely and continually monitor their insulin levels, and adjust their dose accordingly.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has yet to confirm the rumors related to the iWatch; far from having a release date, it isn’t even known to exist yet! But the murmurings have been so persistent, the product would so obviously fit in with Apple’s market strategy and expertise, and the smartwatch market seems likely to grow exponentially in the next few years, that it seems a virtual certainty that Apple will love into it in due course.
Apple iWatch concept released
However, despite the shroud of mystery around this potential product – which it must be said that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) actively encourages in order to help create a certain mystique – the designer Todd Hamilton has already produced an artistic impression of what he believes the gadget will look like once it is released. This may be a rare example of a concept design being produced for a product for which no-one knows whether or not it actually exists!
Nonetheless, Hamilton’s design paints an attractive picture of what the iWatch could look like when it is finally released. His concept images suggest a device that will be a combination of the iPhone and the Nike FuelBand. Hamilton’s blog goes into some detail regarding how he sees the design developing, with a lock screen, contacts list, phone call option, and fitness applications similar to those which can be downloaded for any smartphone.
Hamilton clearly sees the iWatch as being a very significant and even flagship device when it is finally released. This is interesting, as up until now the smartwatch remains very much a niche product that hasn’t really been embraced by the general public. Personally, I quite like the idea of a watch that enables you to surf the Internet in a limited way when you’re away from home, and features some other app-based functionality. I could probably find a lot of use for this, but uptake of the existing smartwatches has been pretty limited at this point in time, with the Pebble smartwatch probably the market leader at this point in time.
But as Wired Magazine wrote a few months ago, people won’t splash out on a smartwatch until “someone figures out what they’re for”. As Wired observed, merely migrating smartphone applications into a watch environment is unlike to attract many people. Smartphones are already convenient, people love them, and anyone who is remotely interested in tech already owns one! Thus, if smartwatches are going to take off then they need to offer something truly unique, and it appears that this is what Apple are working on at present.
Just don’t expect Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to actually acknowledge it!