Apparent leaked reports of research teams at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) working in secret to develop a new “smart” wristwatch have been circulating for months. While the idea of a discrete, multi-functional wearable device has been around for decades, and a few companies have recently announced successful projects, the trend never really took off.
Considering that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is probably the leader in digital innovations, it’s not hard to believe the rumors that they’re aggressively working on an “iWatch” product. I can’t think of another company more likely to release such a device. If the rumors are true, it would appear that Apple is near the final stage of development and could release the iWatch sometime this year.
Together with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) and Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW), the major physical parts may have already been successfully created. Collaborating with Intel to develop a lightning fast chipset and Corning to develop a paper-thin version of their famous Gorilla Glass, the only remaining significant component for the iWatch would be the software, a challenge which Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could undoubtedly handle with their usual panache.
However, I can’t help but wonder if, despite the completeness with which Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would undoubtedly deliver such a timepiece, can they bring it into the mainstream and sell enough units to make the project profitable? Will an Apple-powered Bluetooth-enabled smartwatch become the starting point to a shift toward wearable communications devices? Will the iWatch be an innovative new device capable of transforming the way we utilize existing technology? Or, will it be another impressive attempt that just didn’t take off?
Looking at the recent success of the Pebble watch, a wearable device that connects via Bluetooth to your iPhone or Android and pushes calls, text messages and email to the wrist-sized display, it’s obvious there is a demand for this type of technology. The Pebble Kickstarter project has received over $10.2 million in funding pledges to date and has been called the most successful Kickstarter project ever.
Conversely, a brief examination of the Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) SmartWatch, released around this time last year, shows what could be a similar product to the rumored iWatch, but one that failed miserably. Regardless of the lack of interest in the SmartWatch, it’s still listed as an available accessory on the Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Wireless website.