Details surface about Apple Watch companion app, features

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 14th, 2015, 10:27
Category: Hardware, News, Wearables

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It never hurts to have a companion.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple is currently developing an application called the Apple Watch “Companion” app for iPhone. This application manages settings for Apple Watch applications, as well as settings for iPhone/Watch interactivity. The Companion app’s settings reveal some novel new functions that are coming to the Apple Watch.

Users will be able to manage and organize applications on the Apple Watch Home Screen via a virtual view on the iPhone Companion application.

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Apple releases iOS 8.2 beta 4 SDK, reveals Apple Watch Bluetooth pairing details

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Date: Tuesday, January 13th, 2015, 14:27
Category: iOS, News, Software, Wearables

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It’s the beta seeds that show the cool stuff coming down the pipe.

Per Bidness Etc, Apple has begun seeding iOS 8.2 beta 4 to developers, revealing new details about the upcoming Apple Watch. The new iOS 8.2 beta 4 build, numbered 12D5461b, includes WatchKit support. In addition to this, website traffic data from multiple sources, have also suggested that Apple is looking to expand its iOS beta testing program to include a wider pool of users; this move reflect’s the company’s aim to improve the quality of feedback and to have the iOS 8 system running smoothly with some of the company’s new ambitious products such as Apple Pay or the Apple Watch.

There have been reports of some Apple employees already testing out iOS 8.3 and iOS 9.

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Rumor: Apple Watch steel model to begin at $500, gold model to retail between $4,000 and $5,000

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, 10:00
Category: Hardware, Rumor, Wearables

Apple is far from releasing its price points for its upcoming watch, but the rumors as to the cost are starting to pour in.

Per 9to5Mac, French website iGen.fr, reported on Tuesday that the steel Apple Watch will start at US$500 alongside a gold model that will retail for between US$4,000 and US$5,000. Apple previously claimed at its September event that the Apple Watch would start at US$349, but did not disclose further pricing information.

The report claims that the stainless steel Apple Watch in polished steel or black will cost US$500, while the gold Apple Watch Edition will be the more expensive version at between US$4,000 and US$5,000. That price range would be nearly half the estimated US$10,000 price that some other reports have suggested.

In terms of a launch date, the report claims that the Apple Watch will launch in time for Valentine’s Day, but that was the most specific date given. An internal memo from Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts was recently published in which she wrote that the Apple Watch will launch in the “Spring” following the Chinese New Year.

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Apple retail exec Ahrendts indicates “spring” launch date for Apple Watch

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 3rd, 2014, 11:16
Category: Hardware, Rumor, Wearables

The latest word is that the Apple Watch will launch next spring.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts, stated the device’s release timeframe to retail employees in a video message, a transcript of which was provided by a source. While explaining that employees need to conserve energy for upcoming shopping seasons, Ahrendts stated, “we’re going into the holidays, we’ll go into Chinese New Year, and then we’ve got a new watch launch coming in the spring:”

Up until this point, Apple has consistently said that the Apple Watch will ship in “early 2015,” without specifying a day or month. The broad window was announced at the Apple Watch’s unveil in September, is stated on Apple’s website, and was reiterated by Apple executives last month. Sources indicated in September that Apple would struggle to hit a Valentine’s Day release, which now appears to be even more unlikely. Spring begins on March 20th and lasts until June. If Apple considers late March to be “early 2015,” there may have actually been no change in plans. However, Ahrendts clearly states the launch is after the Chinese New Year (February 19th), so it appears the launch will miss Valentine’s Day regardless.

Last year, a report indicated that Apple planned to ship the wearable in fall 2014, but engineering difficulties delayed the launch to 2015. Subsequent reports confirmed that battery issues were partially to blame for Watch delays, and sources tell us that Apple is still working out kinks in the device’s battery system. Tim Cook has noted that Apple intends for the first-generation model to last all day and be charged each night. While Apple has reportedly hit that particular goal, the company is still working to speed up the amount of time it takes the inductive MagSafe charging system to fully juice up the product.

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Apple Watch announced at media event, device to be available in early 2015

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Date: Tuesday, September 9th, 2014, 15:21
Category: Hardware, News, Wearables

This definitely fit into the category of “one last thing…” that Apple historically concluded its keynote speeches with, but it might be worth the hype and anticipation.

On Tuesday, Apple announced its long-awaited Apple Watch, a device that the company said will define the emerging wearable devices market.

Per AppleInsider, the device uses a “digital crown”, a physical dial that rests on the right side of the device. Using this, users can interact with the device without a need to touch the screen, which would obscure it.

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The crown button also acts as the home button, and can be pressed to return a user to the main screen. A button located below the crown allows users to quickly access contacts.

The face is also an input, with unique “tap” and “force press” gestures enabled by special electrodes capable of sensing pressure.

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Rumor: Apple to unveil iWatch alongside iPhone 6 at September 9th media event

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Date: Thursday, August 28th, 2014, 08:28
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Wearables

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In spite of the rumors of delays, Apple’s “iWatch” may be introduced to the public sooner than expected.

Per AppleInsider and the well-connected John Paczkowski of Re/code, who referred to the device as a “new wearable” that will be worn on the user’s wrist. He also reaffirmed claims that the device will tap into the new HealthKit and HomeKit functions of Apple’s forthcoming iOS 8 mobile operating system update.

Paczkowski had previously reported in June that the “iWatch” event would be held in October, but said on Wednesday that plans appear to have changed recently. He still expects that the company will hold an October event, presumably to introduce its fall lineup of iPads.

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Apple hires two more Nike FuelBand engineers, looks to be focusing on wearable/fitness project

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Date: Thursday, July 10th, 2014, 00:50
Category: News, Wearables

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It all comes down to the recent hires.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple has apparently snagged two former Nike FuelBand engineers for what could be its wearable technologies/iWatch project. The new hires are Jon Gale, who wrote FuelBand firmware code for Nike and Ryan Bailey, who worked as a hardware engineer on the FuelBand team. While not officially confirmed by Apple, it’s been surmised that the two will be working on an Apple fitness tracking device effort

Mr. Gale’s title at Apple is Sensing Systems Engineer, according to his LinkedIn profile, and Mr. Bailey is a Mechanical Design Engineer. Both have plenty of experience with the FuelBand fitness tracker.

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Pebble releases Pebble firmware update 2.2

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 9th, 2014, 08:00
Category: Accessory, Features, iOS, Software, User Interface, Wearables

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Last Wednesday, Pebble deployed the latest update to the firmware of the Pebble smartwatch. The Pebble iOS app was updated the week before on May 27th bringing it to version 2.2, not to be confused with the firmware for the watch itself which is once again in sync with the app’s version.

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A quick look at Qualcomm’s Toq Smartwatch

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 27th, 2014, 09:50
Category: Accessory, Android, Hardware, Wearables

People were pretty disappointed to hear that Apple wasn’t planning to introduce or speak about any new hardware at WWDC, so an iWatch may still be a ways off…or a complete surprise. With no signs of an Apple smartwatch on the horizon, other companies are trying to get the jump on the watch market. Among the contenders is Qualcomm’s Toq Smartwatch. The Toq (toke…tock…not sure) so far only works with Android devices and presents a set of the typical features we expect from a smartwatch such as access to calendars, calls and texting, notifications from social services, music control, etc.. Information-wise, it doesn’t provide any more than a Pebble, but it does have some other nice features.

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Google Glass is back in the public’s shopping cart

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 15th, 2014, 08:23
Category: Accessory, Gadget, Google, News, Wearables

google_glass_headsetEarlier this week, Google put Google Glass back “on the shelves”, so to speak, as it made the wearable device available for public purchase again. Still at the premium price of $1500, Google hopes it can get its Explorer program to expand by making it available again. Google posted the following on its Google+ account;

“We’re still in the Explorer Program while we continue to improve our hardware and software, but starting today anyone in the US can buy the Glass Explorer Edition, as long as we have it on hand: google.com/glass

We’re ready to keep meeting new Explorers, and we can’t wait to hear all your experiences and feedback to continue to make Glass even better, ahead of our wider consumer release.”

That last part is of particular interest as 9to5Google suggested a month ago that maybe a more affordable version is down the road;

“In addition to the insane price tag ($1,500 for Galaxy Nexus specs is crazy, Google), a consumer release of Glass is still expected to take place this year. That means improved hardware and a far cheaper price should be on the horizon.

That release should come this fall, with Glass news hopefully being a major point at the upcoming Google I/O developer conference.”

Hopefully soon, we’ll also see some kind of development toward the ongoing privacy concerns regarding wearables in general, of which Glass is in the spotlight.