Cupertino has its chic Apple Watch, Redmond has its Microsoft Band, and now Intel has unveiled its own female-friendly take on the wearable phenomenon with a $495 smart bracelet — which will allow users to receive and respond to text messages, emails and other notifications.
Called the MICA, the fashion-conscious bracelet boasts a sapphire 1.6-inch, 256 x 160 OLED curved screen on the inside of the wrist. As with the Apple Watch there are multiple styles available — ranging from black and white water snake skin, Chinese pearls, Madagascan lapis stones, South African tiger’s eye, and Russian obsidian.
Despite mixed reports about consumer interest, research firm IHS thinks demand for sensor-equipped wearable tech devices is going to see a major acceleration starting next year — largely thanks to Cupertino. Just how much of an increase are we talking about? Try 7x the size of the existing market by 2019, according to analysts.
“Similar to the iPhone and iPad, IHS expects the Apple Watch will set a de facto standard for sensor specifications in smartwatches,” says Jeremie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst, MEMS & Sensors. “Most other wearable [original equipment manufacturers] will follow Apple’s lead in [incorporating multiple sensors into devices] — or will add even more sensors to differentiate.”
Although we’ve yet to see a truly mass-market wearable device sweep the world, most people working in high tech believe that devices like smartwatches represent the next big frontier.
With that in mind, Samsung has debuted a potentially transformative creation at the ongoing InterBattery 2014 exhibition being held in Seoul, Korea: a rollable, flexible battery.
Although not too many details are known yet about the exact materials and structural design advances used to create it, it is reported that the battery can function even when bent in half, or rolled up into the shape of a paper cup.
Apple is still trying to work out the last few details of its first wearable, but with an early 2015 launch just months away, plans to manufacture and assemble the Apple Watch are being finalized. But AppleDaily reports production isn’t scheduled to ramp into high gear until January 2015.
To manufacture its first wearable, Apple has turned to its old partner Quanta Computer to churn out the first units, and they’re already hiring an army of assemblers for the hyped release.
How does a wearables company survive being Sherlocked? Jawbone has some ideas.
In the business world, Apple entering your product category is a little bit like a tsunami crashing into a home aquarium. What had previously seemed like a nice, small and self-contained ecosystem suddenly runs the risk of being obliterated by a giant wave-maker.
When Tim Cook announced the Apple Watch at Apple’s recent media event, the crowd went wild. But exciting as it was for consumers, it represents a seismic shift for the currently $330 million wearable tech industry.
Devices that can serve up smartphone notifications, track fitness goals and even advise us on health matters have the potential to be huge — but they’re not yet. That’s about to change, according to Juniper Research, which forecasts that wearable devices like smartwatches could hit sales of $19 billion by 2018.
What happens to Apple’s marketplace rivals as this sea change takes place? Cult of Mac did some digging to find out how companies like Jawbone and Fitbit plan to survive Apple’s smartwatch revolution.
With that in mind, a London-based designer recently launched an intriguing Kickstarter campaign, to create a clothing label aimed at raising awareness about high-tech security.
The clothes are all cleverly constructed around a removable waterproof stealth pocket, made from police-grade shielding fabrics, designed to securely block all Cell, WiFi, GPS and RFID signals to ~100 dB.
For a company as secretive as Apple, one of the few ways you can learn anything about what it has planned next is to see who it has been hiring. High-profile hires say a lot about where Apple’s priorities are for the future.
Looking back at the hires Apple has brought on over the last year reveals something pretty obvious: it’s assembling a wearables and fashion dream team.
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.
Brendan Nee, an engineer at Automatic Labs, designed an app to get people out of their cars, even though he doesn’t have one to get into. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — Brendan Nee is a walking contradiction. He’s car guru who doesn’t own one, a 21st-century geek with an 18th-century mustache who has come up with a novel bit of nagware that could help Americans get off their spreading behinds.
An engineer working on “smart car assistant” Automatic, he spends many of his weekends at hackathons and has a coder’s physique to show for it. In January, he won the Clinton Foundation Code4Health Codeathon by developing a working prototype of an app called Walkoff in just a weekend. A few months later, Nee and team rolled out a more polished version that mashes up the data Automatic pulls from cars with info gathered by a Jawbone Up fitness tracker, showing a user how much time they’re spending behind the wheel versus walking.
“Clearly, without an actual car, I’m not the ideal tester,” admits Nee. The closest he comes to owning a set of wheels is a retired public bus dubbed the PlayaPillar that he only rolls out for Burning Man.
If the reports ring true, Apple is about to embark on their largest acquisition ever, and the ramifications could be massive. On this episode of The CultCast, we dissect the Apple/Beats merger, and ask the questions: what could Apple possibly have planned for the world’s most popular headphone brand? Is new wearable headphone tech a part of Apple’s future? And most importantly, could the Doctor D-R-E be Apple’s next CEO? Strap on ya gats, ya’ll…
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