Microsoft’s rumored smartwatch will supposedly look more like this Nike+ FuelBand than an Android Wear device. Photo: Andrew Guan/CC/Flickr
Apple’s first foray into wearables is expected to be revealed this October, but Apple’s not the only tech giant preparing a smartwatch for this fall: New rumors claim Microsoft has plans for its own wearable, only it won’t look anything like the big bulky bands we just saw at Google I/O.
As the first new product line launched under Tim Cook, most people realize how significant the iWatch is going to be for Apple. But research firm ABI Research thinks it’s also going to be make or break for the wearables market.
Crunching figures, ABI points out that “smartwatch” shipments for the first quarter of 2014 was an unimpressive 510,000 units — with the top four players being Samsung, Sony, Pebble and Casio. ABI suggests that users are holding off on picking up wearables until the launch of the iWatch.
This week on the CultCast: Leander’s Big Adventure! Leander’s back to tell us about his top-secret mission to Apple HQ. Plus, CoM reviews editor Charlie Sorrell tells us about some cool gear he’s reviewing. We also run through a list of all the great hardware we’re expecting Apple to dump on us in just a few short months. And we wrap up with an all-new Get to Know Your Cultist, and this round has us diving into some of our favorite movies ever made. Guess who has the weird choice? You’re right, it’s Leander.
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With Google showing off Android-powered wearables from Samsung, LG and Motorola at its Google I/O developers conference this week, the smartwatch competition has officially heated up.
The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live will ship in early July, so Android Wear smartwatches will definitely beat Apple’s rumored iWatch to the market. In today’s video, Cult of Mac shows how these handy, Android-powered devices — which let users access smartphone features from the convenience of their wrists — set the bar high for the iWatch.
Apple has made another interesting hire to augment the already impressive number of biometrics experts the company has snapped up in recent times.
Alex Hsieh, who joins Apple as a new firmware developer, was formerly lead engineer at the weight training-oriented, fitness-tracking company Atlas Wearables.
Launched on Indiegogo back in February, Atlas raised an impressive $629,000 to create the most accurate and social wearable activity tracker yet available on the market. This accuracy was largely the result of an impressive suite of internal sensors, designed in part by Hsieh.
With reports about the iWatch in full swing, this hire confirms once again that Apple has one of the most biosensor impressive teams ever assembled for its long-awaited arrival in the wearables field.
This week's Apple rumors were all iWatch, all the time.
No one has seen a single hardware leak of the iWatch but that didn't stopped the rumor mill from going ape-shit crazy for Apple's future wearable device this week. We saw whispers of sweat sensors, problems with the feds, and even celebrity athletes testing Apple's future fitness device.
Once again, we're taking the black cloth off our crystal ball and shining it up to see if we can spot what Tim Cook really has in store for the future of Apple. Come see which rumors are guaranteed to materialize and which are about to vanish like ghosts.
Stare into our crystal ball to see past the rumors and into the future...
The rumor: iWatch will have a "slightly rectangular" 2.5-inch screen.
The verdict: Sounds promising. We've seen rumors that the iWatch will have a round screen or a square screen, but according to Reuters, it'll actually be rectangular and feature wireless charging and a pulse sensor. It'll also be able to handle calls and texts when paired with an iPhone. None of this would really be that surprising, plus Apple's been making interfaces for its other 2.5-inch wearable device for years.
The rumor: Apple plans to release multiple sizes of the iWatch.
The verdict: Too early to tell. One size doesn't fit all when it comes to smart watches, so the The Wall Street Journal says Apple will release multiple screen sizes of the device and load it with 10 sensors. Other wearables like Nike's FuelBand and the Jawbone UP both come in multiple sizes so they fit as snuggly as possible for everyone, but they don't have to worry about fragmenting the app experience with different screen sizes. Will Jony Ive be able to deliver multiple iWatch sizes without making app development a nightmare?
The rumor: Apple plans to add a barometer to the iPhone 6.
The verdict: Maybe. Code in iOS 8 and Xcode 6 that references a new sensor for determining altitude was dug up by 9to5Mac. Apps can already calculate altitude using GPS and motion chips, but a dedicated sensor would improve accuracy and provide new information for fitness tracking. It would also make a riveting addition to Apple's lonely Compass app. Who knows, we might even see it in the iWatch if The Wall Street Journal's 10-sensor rumor is true.
The rumor: The Food and Drug Administration is holding up the launch of the iWatch.
The verdict: Hold until October. Apple is still waiting for government certification before entering mass-production, says Chinese site Laoyaoba. With July being the targeted month to start churning out iWatches, Apple still has time to wait for FDA approval if it's going to announce the wearable in October, and the wait might be worth it.
The iWatch's features are expected to be years ahead of other smartwatches; getting certification as a medical device would make it more appealing than just another gimmicky fitness band. It might even have a sensor that can taste and analyze your sweat if Laoyaoba's sketchy rumor turns out to be true.
The rumor: The iPad Air 2 will have recessed volume buttons and a new speaker grill.
The verdict: Probably not. NowhereElse loves publishing pictures of dummy Apple units more than Kanye West loves talking about himself, but their latest iPad Air 2 dummy, based on "leaked schematics," looks a bit off. The recessed volume buttons could be an idea Apple was experimenting with in production, but the allegedly new large speaker grill holes look better suited for grating cheese than channeling tunes to the masses.
While some reports are claiming that Apple is still finalizing the specifications for its first generation iWatch ahead of the supposed October launch, another set of reports — supposedly backed up by insider sources — put forward another theory.
Apple is set to unleash multiple versions of its long-awaited iWatch this fall, according to a new report from the the Wall Street Journal.
Coming in multiple screen sizes, and boasting more than 10 sensors to track health and fitness data, Apple seems set to go way beyond the current smartphone accessory functionality seen in present generation smartwatches.
Based on the massive number of hires they’ve made in the field as of late, it’s no mystery that Apple is interested in biometrics and biosensors. However three new patent applications published Thursday shed a bit more light on what Apple has up its sleeve, and make us feel even more excited about the possibility of an iWatch (and future iPhones) later this year.