According to leaks from the manufacturers that will be building it, Apple will be releasing a boatload of iWatches around October 2014.
Thanks to a report by Nikkei, we have more confirmation that this device will be health-centric and presumably be an integral part of HealthKit, the new software suite announced days ago at Apple’s WWDC. Apple has been working with Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic in designing its features to ensure that the health data is collected and presented in a useful and accurate way.
The report further elaborates that the iWatch will use a curved-glass OLED screen that, in addition to constant collection of health data, will let users see incoming notifications to their iPhone. For example, if you were getting a phone call, the iWatch would let you know who’s calling.
While there have certainly been fitness-focused watches before, like the Garmin Forerunner series, and phone-connected watches that can relay health data, like the Pebble and Samsung Galaxy Gear, what we know so far about the Apple iWatch is that it will be the most earnest effort to date at being both a smartwatch and health tracker.
And though the aforementioned watches currently occupy particular niches, Apple is apparently confident that its offering will occupy far more than a narrow corner of the market. Nikkei’s report states that they will ship 3-5 million watches per month after release; that is more on a monthly basis than the entire smartwatch market sold last year. They are certainly taking a pretty big bet, if that’s the case.
There are two big questions to be answered: what the price is and which devices the iWatch will pair with. With a price point below $200, the iWatch could compete very favorably with Pebble, the smartwatch that currently best combines price and function. Much higher, around $300, makes the 3-5 million sales per month figure seem wildly optimistic, particularly given the focus on health tracking.
One would expect Apple to make the iWatch only compatible with iPhones, but making the software more open could pay dividends in both sales and adoption. Perhaps, unlike other phone-connected smartwatches on the market, connecting to a phone won’t be absolutely necessary. If they do develop the capacity to connect with competing operating systems, like Android and Windows Phone, Apple can certainly get their new watch on more wrists.
Much has yet to be clarified, but a steady stream of details is now emerging on the iWatch. It seems to be the case that we’ll know everything, come October, perhaps in a joint announcement with the iPhone 6.