Apple is set to branch out of its laptop and smartphone forte to launch a new venture: smartwatches.
In an attempt to prove it can still innovate against rival tech companies, Apple will reportedly start mass production of the what’s unofficially dubbed the “iWatch” in July through a third party manufacturer. It will be the company’s first foray into a niche product category that many remain skeptical about, especially as to whether it can drive profits amid cooling growth in tech gadgets.
Apple will introduce a smartwatch with a display that likely measures 2.5 inches diagonally and is slightly rectangular, according to sources. The watch face will reportedly protrude slightly from the band, creating an arched shape, and will feature a touch interface and wireless charging capabilities.
Like many other smartwatches, Apple’s watch will be able to perform some functions independently, but tasks like messaging and voice chat will require a paired smartphone, according reports. Like the iPhone, the device will only be compatible with gadgets running Apple’s iOS.
Most mainstream smartwatches - such as the Nike Sportwatch and the Samsung Gear - collect data about the user’s heart rate and other health-related metrics, in addition to facilitating tasks like checking e-mail and making phone calls.
The source said Apple expects to ship 50 million units within the first year of the product’s release. Many tech experts and insiders are hoping that Apple’s entry into the smartwatch field will be a game-changer that transforms the industry like the company’s iPhone did in 2007.