Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iWatch and the Future of Wearable Computers: Corning Incorporated (GLW)

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is developing an iOS-based wristwatch in its headquarters in Cupertino, California. A team of 100 people is working on the device, reports Bloomberg. The team includes employees from its marketing, software, and hardware units who had previously worked on the iPhone and iPad. The team’s size suggests that Apple is beyond the experimentation phase in its development.

“Like other breakthrough Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products, its value will be underestimated at launch, and then grow to have a profound impact on our lives and Apple’s fortunes,” Bruce Tognazzini, a technology consultant and former Apple employee, wrote in a blog post.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Wearable Computers and iWatch: Latest Tech Revolution

The introduction of a wearable computing device may signal a new era for the tech industry. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s debut of the iPhone in 2007 and iPad in 2010 created the market for touch-screen smartphones and tablet computers that have been followed by other tech companies.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Company (aka Foxconn), which assembles the iPhone, invested in startup WIMM Labs in 2001, which designed a watch with a screen, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Apple had discussed the manufacturing details of an iWatch with the company. A Chinese gadget site, Tech.163, reported that the company had begun development of a watch featuring Bluetooth and a 1.5-inch display. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had also partnered with Intel to develop the wristwatch.

“Apple is already in the wearable space through its ecosystem partners that make accessories that connect to the iPhone,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester analyst who specializes in wearable computing, adding, “This makes Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) potentially the biggest player of the wearables market in a sort of invisible way.”

How the iWatch Can Change the World for the Better?

You might be wondering how the iWatch can change the world for the better. It might not matter a lot right now, but it could in the future. If the iWatch becomes popular, it could do a lot to push the concept of wearable computing for consumers.

The iWatch could have an impact for consumers and businesses on the acceptance of wearable computing. This could make a lot of activities much easier for people, especially in brick-and-mortar stores. The iWatch could, as Nigam Arora writes for Forbes, remember all of our passwords and use an NFC chip “to help [you] pay for” anything in a quick and secure way. Imagine simply being able to wave your watch with NFC technology and paying for whatever product you ordered.

Glass That Bends the Rules of Manufacturing

Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW), the maker of the ultra-tough Gorilla Glass that is used in the iPhone, announced last year that it had solved the difficult engineering challenge of creating bendable glass, called Willow Glass, that can flop as easily as a piece of paper in the wind without breaking.

Image: Corning’s Willow Glass can wrap around someone’s wrist

“You can certainly make it wrap around a cylindrical object and that could be someone’s wrist,” said Pete Bocko, chief technology officer of Corning. “Right now, if I tried to make something that looked like a watch, that could be done using this flexible glass,” he added.

In the fourth quarter Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s revenue fell short of consensus forecast. In addition, iPhone sales also fell short of expectations, raising worries that the demand for the smartphone is fading. Also, the company’s revenue outlook for the current quarter pointed to fading demand for iPhones.

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