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WSJ says Foxconn involved in development of tech that could power Apple wristwatch

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Some of the technology to power Apple's rumored smartwatch is in development at longtime supplier Foxconn, according to a new report, and the Taiwanese company isn't just making the technology for Apple.

smartwatch


The Wall Street Journal carried a report on Sunday backing up an earlier report from the New York Times that Apple is working on developing a smartwatch device. In exploring devices beyond its currently hot-selling iPhone and iPad, Apple is said to have discussed a smartwatch with Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as by its U.S. trade name Foxconn.

Foxconn is said to be working on multiple technologies that could appear in wearable technologies. The Taipei-based company is looking to lower power-usage and to strip down the chip technologies that would go into such devices. In particular, the report claims that Foxconn is working on the underpinnings of wearable technology for more customers than just Apple. The Journal does not detail for which other companies Foxconn might be developing the components.

Google is known to be working on its own wearable technology, a glasses-mounted heads-up display known as Google Glass. That device is currently in testing with developers, and Google has targeted early 2014 as a consumer release window. Shortly after Google Glass was unveiled, an Apple patent emerged, showing off similar technology aimed at solving issues arising from such displays.

Many industry observers believe that "wearable" computing is a near-inevitable next step for mobile technology. In January, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicted such technology would ultimately replace the iPhone, much like the iPhone has replaced the iPod.

Apple is likely to leverage its existing patents on creating curved glass to bring to market a product its competitors could not quickly and easily imitate. Such a device might also intermittently satisfy Wall Street investors, who have pummeled Apple's stock in recent weeks due to concerns over competition, and possibly plateauing profit growth and innovation.

The Journal was the second major news publication on Sunday to leak details on a possible Apple smartwatch, lending credence to the notion that such a device is in development or at least under consideration. The past months have seen increasing speculation on the existence and capabilities of an "iWatch."

iWatch concept
An artist's rendition of a curved glass iOS-based watch | Source: unknown.


In December, rumors emerged that Apple was working with Intel on a smartwatch accessory that would feature a 1.5-inch OLED display and low-power Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. That device was said to work alongside a user's iPhone, with the ability to access simplified iOS functions.

And just last week, prior to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reports, Bruce Tognazzini opined in long-form on his blog about the possibilities of an iWatch. Tognazzini ? creator of Apple's Human Interface Guidelines ? based his predictions on his knowledge of the way Apple operates, saying an iWatch would "fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem" and would complement all of Apple's other devices.

Apple is notoriously secretive about products in development. Chief Executive Tim Cook, during Apple's most recently quarterly conference call, would say only that Apple's product pipeline is "chock full" of "incredible stuff," but that Apple would only reveal its plans when the company feels the time is right.
post #2 of 34

I can guarantee that it will not be as clunky as the photo above depicts. It will be curved and have a touch scroll rubber band effect. It will be aluminum, thin and elegant! :)

post #3 of 34
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post
I can guarantee that it will not be as clunky as the photo above depicts.

 

Right, it would neither be as clunky as the first or as impractical (impossible) as the second.

post #4 of 34

I almost agree with you. But my guess is, that aluminium will play a very minor role, if at all. Many people, including me, dont't react very well to quite a number of metals if exposed directly on skin over a lengthy time. Some people may even get allergic reactions.

post #5 of 34
For what it's worth, I already own and use an "iWatch". In my case, it's an older iPod Nano on a special band. It has seven little programs that display on its roughly one inch by one inch touchscreen: a watch, a Nike Fitness app (which I've yet to use), an iTunes player, a radio, a podcaster, audiobooks, and an iPhotos displayer. It runs over a week on a charge, and is one of my favorite "gadgets". What it doesn't have is bluetooth connectivity (you need a set of earbuds to hear anything from it) and/or the ability to be used as a phone or as a real "Dick Tracy" watch that lets me send and receive a picture over FaceTime.
 
 
But it's been obvious for the almost two years I've owned it that those things are not only possible but destined to happen. You'll note that the latest iPod Nano is much, much larger than the old one. What happened to that square form factor iPod? That obviously wasn't a coincidence! It's clearly morphed into a true iWatch!
post #6 of 34

I wear a watch every single day, and I wouldn't wear that for a second. (Pun unintended.) I want a watch for time and nothing else. I don't care if does have an Apple logo on it.

And they certainly don't need to use aluminum. Watches have been made out of stainless steel for many many years with great success.

post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by massconn72 View Post

I wear a watch every single day, and I wouldn't wear that for a second. (Pun unintended.) I want a watch for time and nothing else. I don't care if does have an Apple logo on it.

And they certainly don't need to use aluminum. Watches have been made out of stainless steel for many many years with great success.

Geez. Last I heard, they weren't going to threaten you with torture if you chose not to buy one....

post #8 of 34
This doesn't sound unreasonable to me. Certainly more reasonable than Google Glasses. Sure, no augmented reality but I can't say that interests me too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I can guarantee that it will not be as clunky as the photo above depicts. It will be curved and have a touch scroll rubber band effect. It will be aluminum, thin and elegant! 1smile.gif

Mockups usually take some existing design and then shoehorn it into some other design. They usually end up looking neat but don't seem to be practical on any level. Are people that are good at Photoshop (I assume this is the app they use) just not technically inclined in a way that makes them stop and decide that it won't work as shown?

You ever notice that the most impractical design is the one that gets used repeatedly on tech forums? Maybe I cringe at it more so it stands out but I feel like I'll be seeing that same pic for a long, long time.

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacto Joe View Post

For what it's worth, I already own and use an "iWatch". In my case, it's an older iPod Nano on a special band. It has seven little programs that display on its roughly one inch by one inch touchscreen: a watch, a Nike Fitness app (which I've yet to use), an iTunes player, a radio, a podcaster, audiobooks, and an iPhotos displayer. It runs over a week on a charge, and is one of my favorite "gadgets". What it doesn't have is bluetooth connectivity (you need a set of earbuds to hear anything from it) and/or the ability to be used as a phone or as a real "Dick Tracy" watch that lets me send and receive a picture over FaceTime.
 
 
But it's been obvious for the almost two years I've owned it that those things are not only possible but destined to happen. You'll note that the latest iPod Nano is much, much larger than the old one. What happened to that square form factor iPod? That obviously wasn't a coincidence! It's clearly morphed into a true iWatch!

I forgot to add: The one really important thing my "iWatch" is missing is waterproofing.

post #10 of 34
Screw the watch. Where's my car stereo?
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

You ever notice that the most impractical design is the one that gets used repeatedly on tech forums? Maybe I cringe at it more so it stands out but I feel like I'll be seeing that same pic for a long, long time.

Yes, I've noticed. And they always look, well, dumb. I certainly hope they'll change the pic every now and then. They should've done that with that House guy on the Apple TV set






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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #12 of 34

I would be surprised if it was called iWatch. It would tell time but surely it would not be a watch?

post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Yes, I've noticed. And they always look, well, dumb. I certainly hope they'll change the pic every now and then. They should've done that with that House guy on the Apple TV set

[image]

To be clear, I'm not making any slant against their photoshopping abilities. As you've seen from my mobile AI site mockup I have absolutely zero skill with altering even a simple image. I have no concept of how they make the mockups look so realistic, I just wish they were practical in their design.

The new Total Recall movie had some interesting ideas for a phone. It was implanted into your hand and any glass you put it up to (presumably all glass was made to work with this tech) would make it into a camera phone.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #14 of 34
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

 

I would only wear this (two of them) if they shot out the byproducts of a fusion reaction a la Tony Stark's suit.

post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

I would only wear this (two of them) if they shot out the byproducts of a fusion reaction a la Tony Stark's suit.

Somebody would sneak up behind you and chop your hands off. You'd have to resort to biting - though that didn't do much for the Black Knight.

post #16 of 34
bdkennedy1 View Post
Screw the watch. Where's my car stereo?

It's your iPhone/iPod Touch. The car stereo is now merely a receiver.

[this account has been abandoned]

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[this account has been abandoned]

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post #17 of 34
What struck me most about this report is that Hon Hai itself may have begun manufacturing its own smartphone components for sale to whomever they like. I had assumed that they merely performed assembly operations for Apple. If they are designing and building components, they may be on their way to designing and building complete products that could compete with Apple's.

In efforts to maximize its margins, Apple notoriously squeezes manufacturing partners for the best deals possible. If those partners, including perhaps Hon Hai, hope to increase their own margins, they may seek higher-value operations. However, as they move further up various value chains, the resulting competition in component and product design could pose a familiar problem for Apple.
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For your sake, I hope you're right.
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post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by massconn72 View Post

I wear a watch every single day, and I wouldn't wear that for a second. (Pun unintended.) I want a watch for time and nothing else. I don't care if does have an Apple logo on it.

In stark contrast to you...ever since my first pocket pager (circa 1993)  I have never regularly worn a watch.  The last time I put a watch on was for a formal event in 2003...and that was my pocket watch.  Since my first cell phone (circa 2004) and my only wrist-watch being victim of burglery same year i haven't worn one since and probably never will again.  I see absolutely no need for yet another portable personal device that links to any other device I currently own (and carry daily) that already has a clock on it.

post #19 of 34

I'm like you, no watch for years (although not all the hair has grown back where it used to go). I know if I put one on it would be banging into stuff all the time. And there are simply all kinds of clocks all around me all the time. I don't want a smart watch, no matter what it does. But, I'm sure I'm in the minority.

post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Some of the technology to power Apple's rumored smartwatch is in development at longtime supplier Foxconn, according to a new report, and the Taiwanese company isn't just making the technology for Apple.

 

And that last bit makes me doubt this story. It's not really Apple's style to work with tech that is 'open market' when it comes to the developing new tech. They lock down all supplies, getting exclusive contracts for development and/or access to the first X units to put themselves in the best position. And that tradition is not likely to have changed with Tim in charge.

 

if the is any truth to this it is that Foxconn is working on the tech. But not the implication that since they work with Apple, that must be the client and not one or more of the other 70 or so companies they work with

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #21 of 34

Wasn't a smartphone type watch announced in Vegas last month?  Called a pebble syncs with your iphone to be able to read your messages and e-mails on your phone....

 

http://getpebble.com/

 

If this is true then I wouldn't be surprised if they buy this company up since it has to overlap with features that would be put into a apple watch.  Would be interesting to see the design that apple comes up with since they have more money to throw at R&D.

post #22 of 34

A watch? Seriously?

post #23 of 34
Liquid metal

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post #24 of 34
I started wearing a watch again about a year ago after getting tired of fishing for my phone every time I wanted to know what time it was.

I'd _love_ to have something from Apple on my wrist that tells me who's calling, sounds alarms, and provides news updates in addition to telling the time of day.

The fact that it surely wouldn't work with Windows Phone would be another way of making the iOS platform more sticky.
post #25 of 34
Dumbest ideas since Google goggles
post #26 of 34

Ya' Know...

 

Many people don't wear wristwatches anymore, because they always have a cell phone with them.  Others, like myself, carry a cell phone for the necessary, but infrequent, phone call -- while carrying an iPad for reading, apps, surfing -- all the advantages of the larger screen.

 

Recently, I have been considering what it would be like to carry an iPad Mini with cell phone capabilities -- to eliminate the need to carry the iPhone too.  There are several ways this could work:

  • a BT earphone/microphone that you always wear -- connected to the iPad Mini in your Pack, lap or on the table.
  • holding the iPad Mini to your ear for infrequent private (non speaker) phone calls
  • having a small device about the size of an AppleTV Remote that you hold to your ear

 

None of these is perfect!

 

There might be another alternative that isn't perfect either -- but it is better.

 

I've been playing around with my grandson's iPod Nano 6th generation watch.

 

 

Here it is with the dial on the inside of my wrist (more about that later):

 

 

The watch comes with earbuds, touch screen, RAM, Flash Storage  and iOS -- 8GB for $129 and 16GB for $149 in 2012 when it was discontinued.   It also has a clip on the back which adds ~= 50% to the bulk.  It is interesting to recall that the original 2007 iPhone came in 4GB and 8GB models.

 

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/ipod/specs/ipod-6th-generation-6g-multitouch-nano-specs.html

 

 

The BOM for the 8GB Nano was $43 in 2012.

 

 

http://appleinsider.com/articles/10/09/28/materials_cost_for_sixth_gen_ipod_nano_estimated_at_43

 

 

Now, here's the proposition.  What if Apple made a wristwatch, based on the iPad Nano, that included basic cell phone chips + external speaker & microphone?

 

Here is how it might work:  The watch is worn on the inside of your wrist -- to use it as a phone you merely raise you palm to your ear -- just as you would an iPhone.  Except there is no iPhone in your hand -- nothing!  The iPhone is on your wrist and the accelerometer could turn on directional noise-cancelling speaker and microphone so that you could talk with more privacy that you currently have with the iPhone.

 

Try it and see -- your hand fits perfectly!

 

What about dialing, contacts, etc.  Surprisingly, the iPod Nano touch screen would allow a 6 x 4 matrix of keyboard keys that are the same size as the iPhone 5 typewriter kb keys in portrait mode.  The iPad Nano already includes apps for Photos,  iTunes, Radio, Fitness, Clocks and Settings... and easily could have the capability to scroll through/select  contacts.

 

If apple were to include the same cell radios, WiFi/BT that it includes in the iPhone 5,  it would add $34 + $5 == $39 to the existing $43 for a total BOM of  $82.  Lets add $10 for microphone/speaker and larger battery for a total BOM of $92. (This could be reduced by using 3G instead of 4G).

 

2012-09-18_iPhone5.jpg

 

http://www.isuppli.com/Teardowns/News/pages/iPhone5-Carries-$199-BOM-Virtual-Teardown-Reveals.aspx

 

 

So, assumedly, you could buy an unlocked iWatch phone for $200-$250.

 

 

Your next iPhone could be as plain as the watch in front of your face!

 

 

You no-longer need to carry a separate iPhone...

 

 

But it doesn't end there -- when you choose to carry an iPad or iPad Mini (most always for me) the iPad could use the cell radios in the iWatch phone -- no need to spend that extra $129 for iPad data-only cell capability.

 

Go further -- Apple could offer a package including unlocked iWatch phone and iPad Mini for about the same price (plus a little) as the iPad Mini, alone -- say,

 

$429  32GB iPad Mini WiFi

$250  unlocked iWatch phone

--------

$679

 

Package worth $679 sold for $599 -- or $40 more than a $559  32GB  iPad Mini with WiFi + cell data (only)

 

 

In eine donder und blitzen, Apple addresses the emerging smart phone market, prepaid market and shared data costs.

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post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemaworm View Post

Wasn't a smartphone type watch announced in Vegas last month?  Called a pebble syncs with your iphone to be able to read your messages and e-mails on your phone....

 

http://getpebble.com/

 

If this is true then I wouldn't be surprised if they buy this company up since it has to overlap with features that would be put into a apple watch.  Would be interesting to see the design that apple comes up with since they have more money to throw at R&D.

 

The problem is this "watch" is in addition to the iPhone -- it needs to replace the iPhone.

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post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nunyabinez View Post
But, I'm sure I'm in the minority.

You got it.

post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemaworm View Post

Wasn't a smartphone type watch announced in Vegas last month?  Called a pebble syncs with your iphone to be able to read your messages and e-mails on your phone....

 

http://getpebble.com/

 

If this is true then I wouldn't be surprised if they buy this company up since it has to overlap with features that would be put into a apple watch.  Would be interesting to see the design that apple comes up with since they have more money to throw at R&D.

 

Pebble was a Kickstarter project - a massively successful one at that. But it is still a small operation. If Apple comes out with an iWatch, they will bury Pebble.

 

I like Apple for the most part, especially OSX. I switched my mobile stuff to iOS mainly for the integration with OSX, and I'm no hater of Android (other than their horrible tablets). But seriously, the only company I would trust to do a smartwatch right is Apple. I'll buy it if the price is right.

2011 Macbook Pro, 2012 Macbook Air, iPhone 5, iPad 4

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2011 Macbook Pro, 2012 Macbook Air, iPhone 5, iPad 4

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post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

You got it.

1) Don't attack minorities. 1biggrin.gif

2) I haven't worn a watch in years. I'm somewhat interested in those bands that monitor you activity as well as wearable devices that make communication better but I can't say I'd ever go back to wearing a watch that told me the time, date, moon phases, etc. With a smartphone and countless other devices around me I simply have no need. I wonder how many people today due still wear watches for telling time (as opposed to it being a status symbol or part of their prescribed dress).

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #31 of 34

I would think pebble would have patents on some of their watch ideas.  So Apple may have to buy them up.

post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemaworm View Post

I would think pebble would have patents on some of their watch ideas.  So Apple may have to buy them up.

 

It takes time and money to apply for a patent. I rather doubt that the people behind a kick starter project have any patents.

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"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #33 of 34

Can't wait for Apple's thermonuclear war on Casio...

post #34 of 34
Originally Posted by stike vomit View Post
Can't wait for Apple's thermonuclear war on Casio...

 

They'll have to steal Apple's IP first.

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