Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is planning to unveil its first wearable device alongside its new iPhones at a media event on Sept. 9, according to Re/code. Apple today issued media invitations to the event, saying only "wish we could say more."
Rumors have been swirling around the wearable gadget for more than a year, and have picked up steam in the past few months. Multiple reports have pegged a fourth-quarter launch for the device, which has been dubbed the iWatch by many. Now, it appears Apple will announce the gadget alongside two new, larger iPhones, which numerous reports have said will come in two variants, one with a 4.7-inch screen and one with a 5.5-inch display.
Apple declined to comment.
According to Re/code, the iWatch will make use of Apple's HealthKit health and fitness software platform, which it unveiled with its iOS 8 software update. Other reports have indicated that that the wearable will be primarily focused on fitness and health monitoring. The Re/code report also said that Apple's wearable will work with the company's HomeKit software framework for home automation, though it's not exactly clear how it will do so.
A report earlier this month form the Wall Street Journal indicated that the wearable will have a sapphire display, which would make it more resistant to scratching but could bump up its price. Other reports, from the Journal and Reuters, indicated in June that the watch will come in several different sizes, including one with a 2.5-inch screen, and it will feature a touchscreen, up to 10 sensors to track body activities like heart rate, and will be built mainly by Taiwan's Quanta Computer.
Apple's competitors have been busy rolling out their own wearable devices. In the week before Apple's expected announcement, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Motorola Mobility unit are all expected to unveil smart watches of their own.
In a report released earlier this month, research firm CCS Insight predicted that shipments of smart wearables will grow from 9.7 million in 2013 to 135 million by 2018, at a compound annual growth rate of 69 percent. The firm expects the installed base of wearable devices to surpass 250 million at the end of 2018, with 46 percent being devices that pair with a smartphone and 38 percent being devices with their own connectivity or that do not connect to a smartphone.
Notably, CCS Insight thinks smart watches and wristbands will be the dominant form factor for wearables, accounting for 87 percent of smart wearable shipments in 2018. However, the market will likely not be as significant as the smartphone market any time in the near future, as CCS expects the demand for wearables will remain mostly concentrated in developed markets. Emerging markets are expected to account for less than one in four wearable devices sold in 2018, whereas most of the growth in the smartphone market is coming from emerging markets right now.
In other Apple iPhone news, Wired reported the iPhone 6 will support NFC payment technology, and that Apple will launch a payments service alongside the device.
- see this Re/code article
- see this Wired article
- see this separate Re/code article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this GigaOM article
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