Apple 'has team of 100 engineers working on iWatch'

Apple 'has team of 100 engineers working on iWatch'

Summary: Apple could be closer to an iWatch than we think, according to a new report.

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Apple's experimental watch project may be more advanced than previous reports suggested, with Bloomberg now claiming Apple has about 100 engineers working on its rumoured iOS timepiece.

LunaTik watch
Apple may be further along in its plan to develop an 'iWatch' than first thought. Image: Minimal/LunaTik

The management team Apple has reportedly established around the watch may suggest the company is further into the watch project than just experimentation.

According to Bloomberg on Wednesday, the team has grown in the past year to include managers, marketing staff and perhaps not surprisingly, software and hardware engineers who worked on its iPad and iPhone.

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An interesting titbit, if true, is that Apple's senior director of engineering, James Foster, and program manager Achim Pantfoerder are said to be involved in the wristwatch project. 

Besides that, the report published on Wednesday adds little to the initial report earlier this week in the New York Times by Nick Bilton, who is convinced Apple's entry into wearable computing will begin with the wrist, over Google's glasses approach, because technology on the wrist is less intimidating to consumers.

The rumours of an iWatch come as Apple's stock continues to take a beating as fears mount amongst investors that Apple has reached the limit of its capacity to grow, and that it will face difficulties maintaining an edge over Android rivals, primarily Samsung.

Addressing investors at a conference on Tuesday Apple chief Tim Cook defended the company's "unrivalled" record for innovation and intent to roll out its iOS "ecosystem everywhere".

While he gave no indication of new product strategies that would bring its products to lower price points, Cook outlined that the iPhone was only available to 50 percent of the world's subscribers and that Apple had solved the sub-$1,000 computing problem with the iPad. However, it would never build a "cheap product", he said.

Topics: Apple, Emerging Tech, Hardware, iOS

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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14 comments
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  • More iToys will follow, because apple shares are crashing

    "Cook outlined that the iPhone was only available to 50 percent of the world's subscribers and that Apple had solved the sub-$1,000 computing problem with the iPad."

    - One should be such a moron to say "solved the sub-$1,000 computing problem with the iPad."
    Owlll1net
  • Spoiler alert!

    They are upgrading the software on the small square iPod Nano and attaching the wrist watch accessory that already exists!

    ...how original.
    ikissfutebol
    • I too hope they arent just 'innovating' again like usual.

      Because I came up with this idea 30 years ago, realised it 2 years ago and have spent every moment since trying to find uses for it....

      I can say that a media player on your arm is less intrusive even with wired headphones. I started using them to begin with and quickly added a Velcro strap to the cord just above my elbow to stop it catching.
      That got annoying so I replaced them with a BT headset and a battery pack to keep it running all day. I also have a solar array, but its too big to wear and isnt flexible. Apple are going to have to fix these problems before its successful, because removing power-hungry features will kill the device's usefulness.

      I can also say that its going to be pretty but useless. A screen that small wont be any use for anything more than glancing at a track name, caller ID and time, or checking your pulse/BP.
      This is not a wearable computer, but an expensive crossing of existing tech, typical of Apple.

      I deliberately avoided a Nano and put a fully programmable device with a keyboard, big touchscreen, loads of memory and external features on my wrist. A Nokia E7, which although is a little long in the tooth now, does brilliantly.

      One use I have found for it (which again, probably wont be on a tiny Apple) is music. I play both guitar and synth, and my device is perfect for displaying chords and lyrics either on the top of my wrist where I can see them for synth, or twisted round under my left palm for acoustic guitar.

      I can quickly tap and swipe during performance to select new songs, even record my performance in CD quality and edit it right on my arm, or play backing tracks and samples while I'm playing the instrument.

      That would be a useful tool but Apple dont do useful, they do desirable and they often arent the same.
      SiO2
  • Innovating alright...

    Now that watches like the Wimm and Sony's SmartWatch have done the ground work, Apple is ready for some innovation and "invent" the wrist worn gadget...
    Snarfiorix
  • How much?

    How much processing power, RAM, storage and battery can something that small contain?
    Susan Antony
    • And what about heat issues?

      Even without a warm battery running it, your wrist easily gets sweaty when wearing a watch, because it's harder for the sweat to evaporate when trapped between your wrist & watch.

      How much more uncomfortable is it going to be when you have a heat source on your wrist? Maybe that will feel great when your wrist is aching (like a wearable heat pad), but not when you're going about your daily routine.
      spdragoo@...
      • I've been wearing a computer on my wrist for over a year

        and its not a little thing like a Nano either, its a Nokia E7. Its the latest (and smallest) in a few wearable devices I've experimented with over the years.

        My first thought was heat, modern phones throw off a ton of it especially when driving all 3 antennas and being charged. Mine has a battery pack that tops up the internal battery so I can thump it all day like that...

        I'd designed an open chassis with nylon webbing first off which was uncomfortable, it let the air to my skin but it moved and chafed, and covering it with fabric made no difference at all. Still sweaty as well.
        I've since redesigned this mount as a strip of soft leather about 6" wide and a little bit longer, and it simply winds round my wrist so I have a couple of layers under the mobile and it fits snugly.

        This is by far the best solution I've found; even a watch can be uncomfortable in summer so I dont mind the occasional sweaty forearm when its hot. (although i cant imagine wanting to wear it in Florida, for example. My British summer is very different...) The rest of the time, being leather, I hardly notice I'm wearing the thing at all despite it covering half my forearm.

        I just cant wait for all the trendy iWants to stop deriding me for wearing a computer, and start deriding me for copying their innovation, waving a useless media player at me:
        30 years ago I came up with the idea of wearing a roomful of electronics on my wrist, as a teenager. I waited patiently for the industry to miniaturise it and put up with being scorned for learning programming languages and other geeky pursuits. I watched Microsoft persuade my detractors that they *really needed* a computer, watched them all start carrying one obsessively - even using them as a symbol of social status (thanks Apple, you pillocks).

        And still not one of them actually does any computing on them.
        SiO2
  • What's next? The iTelegraph?

    Why not developed an iOS-powered version of all obsolete technologies?
    RationalGuy
  • One in engineering, one in purchasing

    and 98 in sales and marketing.
    William Farrel
  • Well...

    you can bet Samsung and Microsoft are slipping in their own poo to get a track on this.
    CowLauncher
  • Who cares

    There are already smart watches out there but no one uses them. With most people having smartphones in there pocket the only reason to have a watch is to quickly check the time. So why do you need a phone with tons of features that costs a lot and looses it's value quickly.
    Brock Jones
  • What are the chances that it will work!

    With so much going on in technology sector i wonder will this watch will grab attention or will just pass like that way...with Apples's mini iPad i think expectations are much higher now...

    http://dennisdrake.hubpages.com/hub/iPad-Minis-Review
    dennis.d
  • Apple 'has team of 100 engineers working on iWatch'

    50 of them working on the curving glass.

    The rounded corners? They've done that before, so only 20 engineers are needed for that this time.
    ldo17
  • Boring again Apple

    Steve is gone and so is the Apple craze.
    doggiebites