iWatch could be timely for Apple
Apple has a team of 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad, two people familiar with the company’s plans said.
The team, which has grown in the past year, includes managers, members of the marketing group, and software and hardware engineers who previously worked on the iPhone and iPad, said the people, who asked not to be named.
The team’s size suggests Apple is beyond the experimentation phase in its development, said the people.
Chief executive Tim Cook is facing pressure from shareholders who have seen the stock slump more than 30 per cent since a September high amid slowing sales growth and competition from rivals such as Samsung.
Without a revolutionary new gadget that commands a higher price investors are concerned about falling margins and increased competition.
“The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem,” Bruce Tognazzini, a technology consultant and former Apple employee, wrote in a blog post last week.
“Like other breakthrough Apple products its value will be underestimated at launch, then grow to have a profound impact on our lives and Apple’s fortunes.”
Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment. Previously, the New York Times reported that Apple was working on a watch-like device.
Apple has worked on wearable devices for tracking fitness in the past but never brought them to market, a source claimed. Creating a watch involves challenges, particularly power demands so that the battery does not need recharging every day.
The introduction of a wearable computing device may signal a new direction for the consumer-electronics industry. Google has been working on eyeglass-embedded computers and plans to introduce them in 2014.
Apple is right to invest in products such as watches, even if they don’t result in commercial products, said Josh Spencer, a fund manager at T Rowe Price Group.
“There’s more people that would wear an Apple watch than would wear Google glasses,” he said. – Bloomberg