In recent weeks I spoke several times with two sources in Cupertino pertaining to future products to be released by Apple later this year for the holiday season in the U.S. and Europe. Judging on the basis of the information revealed in these conversations, Apple has been working for a long time on a project that appears to be in its final stages of touch-ups.
What became clear is that the much anticipated Apple smart watch is not so much a watch as it is a smartband. It would appear that just as Apple has done with the iPhone and iPad, here too the technology giant plans to create a focal point around which a new ecosystem will evolve. To be more specific, Apple is looking to launch a smart band towards the end of this year whose collection of sensors will be able to be used not only to monitor the activity of the wearer, but also to operate other devices as a gestural controller.
This is, of course, a rumor. And the other rumor is LG Display (LGD) is the sole supplier of flexible OLED displays for Apple’s iWatch, or in the case of a smartband, iBand.
If it turns out to be the Apple iBand, a flexible OLED display that goes all the way around might be cool. With a built-in gyroscope, magnetometer, and other sensors the iBand could always display information upright, whether that be horizontal or vertical.
The difference between a smartwatch focus and a smartband focus is big. A smartwatch will foremost need to be a watch: timekeeping, and a smartphone experience shrunk down to something the size of an oversized regular watch. A smartband, however, would have other priorities much like the recently abandoned Nike Fuelband. Apple would probably pack in a bit more sensors: blood pressure sensor, thermometer (body and environment), barometer, altimeter, etc. These sensors would send data to an iPhone, which would combine the data with movement data from the M7 coprocessor and send it to iCloud for processing. What would iCloud process? Our well being. To be more specific we could get information on simple things like how much we walked, jogged, or ran, how much calories we burned, how our heart is doing (blood pressure), how well we slept, etc. All in real time, and over time we along with Siri would have a good idea of how we are doing. Siri would alert us if we are significantly beyond our normal range.
If I were to guess I’d guess Apple is working on something that’s not quite a smartwatch and not quite a band, but something in between that is more like a band but with a flexible display wrapped all the way around.