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Apple reportedly working with Swatch, other watchmakers to roll out multiple 'iWatch' devices

post #1 of 89
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As rumors of Apple's anticipated entry into the smartwatch sector mount, a report on Wednesday claims Cupertino has been collaborating with Swatch and other major traditional watchmakers to release a range of branded products that appeal to a wider swath of buyers.


Swatch Group subsidiary Harry Winston's Opus XIII. | Source: Harry Winston


According to an anonymous source, Apple has been trying to curry support from within the watch industry on possible partnership deals to release a "family" of smartwatch products that suit a variety of styles "from geek to chic," reports VentureBeat.

The publication says Apple may be working with multiple watch companies -- the source said "he would be shocked" if Timex was not a partner -- though Swatch is thought to be a lock. Details of the partnerships are scarce, though the source claims watchmakers may be working with Apple on branded devices that support expected "iWatch" functions like health and fitness tracking.

Swatch, along with Suunto and Fossil, previously produced watches using Microsoft's now defunct Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) platform, what can be considered a first-foray into the smartwatch world.

For Apple, a partnership with an established watchmaker would bring technical and design know-how from players in a well-established industry. Swatch Group, for example, has 19 labels under its umbrella, including Breguet, Omega and Harry Winston, among others.

One of the big stumbling blocks for current smartwatches is style. Tech companies not versed in watch design, like Samsung, LG and Motorola, are trying their hand at what amounts to jewelry; or a fashion statement for "normal" consumers. They have, for the most part, failed.

Breaking into and attempting to shake up a centuries-old industry without knowing what works and what doesn't is a fool's errand. To that end, Apple has reportedly been reaching out to Swiss watchmakers and poaching horology experts, including a former TAG Heuer sales director.

If true, Wednesday's news is an abrupt about-face for Swatch's CEO Nick Hayek, Jr., who last year said an Apple smartwatch would not be "the next revolution" in tech. Replacing an iPhone with an "interactive terminal on your wrist" is a difficult proposition since space for an adequate display is limited, Hayek said.
post #2 of 89
This would make a lot of sense.

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post #3 of 89
Sounds like Hayek knows as much about wearable tech as Apple knows about watches.
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post #4 of 89
So the hybrid is still a goer! Just as I thought. No one wants a naff digital watch on their wrist.
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post #5 of 89
Swatch? That is sooooo 1986. What's next, they'll create a Pro version, designed by Keith Haring? Hey, if Michael Jackson can still release a new album...
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post #6 of 89

Rolex unless something happened overnight is privately held (it's a Swiss thing).  They are not a Swatch Subsidiary/brand

(not that I'd care, but my watch collection consists of 3 Rolexes my dad gave me...  He being an US Air Force guy, Rolex was officer bling in the 50's ;-)

 

 

From Wikipedia.... these are the Swatch Family of watches

Prestige and Luxury Range

High Range

Middle Range

Basic Range

Private label

post #7 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

This would make a lot of sense.

I agree - widespread release of a variety of styles and price levels.   Maybe even co-branded?  "The Swatch iTime with Apple Technology!"

post #8 of 89
But please, do not make it a skeuomorph. That would be fun for five minutes and then look very old. I don't think Apple would but I'm just sayin'.
post #9 of 89
"Replacing an iPhone with an "interactive terminal on your wrist".

That sounds like a very defensive answer. I don't think anyone is expecting the watch to replace our phones.
post #10 of 89

Huh.  I had been expecting a finished product, but this almost makes me wonder if the recent patent about a separate in-band sensor component points to more of a partnership type announcement where the product is actually something more like CarPlay.  Traditional watch makers simply need to include the sensor component in the band and have a watch face that's at least so big and contains a layer that's normally transparent (so you can see whatever mechanical watch face the traditional watch maker designed) but becomes opaque when there's iWatch UI to display, such as when a notification comes in.

 

I think I'd prefer a finished product designed by Apple after they sought and considered input from traditional watch makers though.  Rumors like this just point out that we really don't have a clear idea of what the finished product will look like I suppose.

 

The thought had also crossed my mind that it'll be a return to the square iPod Nano but as an incremental improvement and Apple's simply tapping watchmakers for the band (which would still fit with the in-band sensor module idea - a "made for iWatch" certification).  Guess we'll see in the fall.

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post #11 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Sounds like Hayek knows as much about wearable tech as Apple knows about watches.

Sounds like... then Apple showed him what they had and he changed his tune.
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post #12 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Swatch? That is sooooo 1986. What's next, they'll create a Pro version, designed by Keith Haring? Hey, if Michael Jackson can still release a new album...

the Swatch line, yes.  Swatch Group...  Omega, Harry Winston, Longines, Rado, Tissot...  

post #13 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinglesthula View Post

I think I'd prefer a finished product designed by Apple after they sought and considered input from traditional watch makers though.  Rumors like this just point out that we really don't have a clear idea of what the finished product will look like I suppose.

Keep in mind that the watch guys have all the best outlets for the goods. You wanna sell watches, better go where the rich people buy watches. I'm sure the sports versions have their own locations, etc. but I don't think Radio Shack will hanging these on hooks for their regular customers.
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post #14 of 89
I understand that when Apple releases their next iPhones, Samsung will have scruffy-looking guys in shabby trench coats hanging around the lines trying to sell Galaxy Gear to the faithful.
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post #15 of 89
If Apple wants to not look naff these companies know what to do.

But how would a hybrid model work?
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post #16 of 89
Maybe Apple should drop the whole skuomorphism (spelled right?) thing and avoid naming it something associated with devices of the medieval age (iWatch/iTime/iClock/). They could name it something completely refreshing like the iPod did. They could have easily named the iPod something old fashioned like the iBoombox, iRecord, iMusicPlayer or iWalkman 1tongue.gif
Good thing they didn't.

I can't think of much marketable names at this moment. I just feel its silly to name it a "watch" or "time" when it will clearly do a lot more than that.
here's a few ideas: iWrist, iPal, iPort, iLette. I'm sure you guys and Apple can think of way better names.

I would like to see a customizable home screen that displays the hour on the top of the screen and give the main space up for news, weather, photos or anything you desire(yes, even just the time).
post #17 of 89
That explains why Tag Heuer did not mind Apple hiring Patrick Pruniaux.
They are most likely part of the deal. This will be awesome.
Edited by AppleSauce007 - 7/23/14 at 5:55pm
post #18 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Swatch? That is sooooo 1986. What's next, they'll create a Pro version, designed by Keith Haring? Hey, if Michael Jackson can still release a new album...

You should go back and take a look. I wear my $150 Swatches far more often than I do my Baume & Mercier.... seriously.

post #19 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Sounds like Hayek knows as much about wearable tech as Apple knows about watches.


I'll bet he changes his tune if his company is involved.

post #20 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by carrboro View Post
 

the Swatch line, yes.  Swatch Group...  Omega, Harry Winston, Longines, Rado, Tissot...  


Would that mean the iWatch would have no numbers or letters on the display?

post #21 of 89

If Apple brings out a watch and it's successful then I'd say the company will have smooth sailing for another 3 to 4 years.

 

This, imo,  would prove once and for all that Cook is able to do a Steve.

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post #22 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

You should go back and take a look. I wear my $150 Swatches far more often than I do my Baume & Mercier.... seriously.

Show off lol.gif
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post #23 of 89
I call shenanigans on this rumor.

Apple would not partner with anyone on the "next big thing". They want it all. Tight control of hardware and software is what makes Apple so profitable. Why let someone else make 30-40% margin on a $250-400 device when they can?
post #24 of 89
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post
Apple would not partner with anyone on the "next big thing". They want it all. Why let someone else make 30-40% margin on a $250-400 device when they can?

 

Because they let someone else make 70% margin already.


Though you’re right; this rumor is nonsense.

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I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #25 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Because they let someone else make 70% margin already.


Though you’re right; this rumor is nonsense.

 

There is nothing that prevents Apple from offering their own version, then partnering with the big watchmakers to offer their own variations with versions oriented to specific market niches. The rumor could, of course, be a complete fabrication but it's an interesting idea.

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post #26 of 89
Fake
post #27 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Swatch? That is sooooo 1986. What's next, they'll create a Pro version, designed by Keith Haring? Hey, if Michael Jackson can still release a new album...

 

You're thinking of the Swatch, the trendy 80's plastic watch. 

 

 

Think more in terms of The Swatch Group, which owns Breguet, Harry Winston, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Jaquet Droz, Léon Hatot, OmegaLonginesRado, Union Glashütte, Tissot, Balmain, Certina, Mido, Hamilton, Calvin Klein, Swatch, Flik Flak.

 

That said, I think it may be hard to justify the purchase of a really high end smart watch given its rapid obsolescence. Unlike, say, a Rolex which will actually appreciate in value over time, any piece of computer technology will be nearly worthless within a few short years if not sooner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by freediverx - 7/23/14 at 6:28pm
post #28 of 89
Apple will not have numerous types of watches. Apple does things in ones and twos.

They will have two types w different memory sizes.

Version 1 is for the masses and will be $179. "Basic" version

Version 2 will be an FDA subsidized one for $499. High margin. For hospitals and chronic ill.

That's it
post #29 of 89
post #30 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

I call shenanigans on this rumor.

Apple would not partner with anyone on the "next big thing". They want it all. Tight control of hardware and software is what makes Apple so profitable. Why let someone else make 30-40% margin on a $250-400 device when they can?

Well, Apple still doesn't make a lot of key components for existing products (LCD displays for example) If their effort (or one of the their efforts) is to marry a high tech digital display with a quality analog watch, they would need to partner.

 

If the watch crystal could be invisible to show a traditional, real watch face, and then turn opaque with a full color screen overlay, it would be incredibly interesting...


Edited by thrang - 7/23/14 at 6:37pm
post #31 of 89

I fear too much is being projected onto this whole "iWatch" thing. I expect it to be a simple accessory catered to… Well, people who would want that kind of accessory (whatever that turns out to be). I don't see it as being the All-Mighty Next Big Thing like the iPhone or iPad.

I mean really; if Apple TV was / is just a "hobby", this thing has to be no more than an "experimental hobby" for starters.

One thing thing I would bet though; whatever it is; a timepiece will be the last thing on it's feature list.

post #32 of 89

I don't think this is that far fetched. A lot of watch companies buy their "movements" (the actual internal workings of the watch) from other suppliers and then put the movement into their own case/band.

 

The iWatch could be nothing more than a movement that Apple makes available which has the processor, circuitry and display (perhaps a couple basic sizes) that watch companies then put into their own custom case/band.

 

I simply don't think a standard one-size-fits-all iWatch would take off. There's a reason why there are literally thousands of watch styles - people like to have choice. Your watch reflects your style as much as it's used to tell time.

 

Having an Apple movement would mean that the functionality of every iWatch would be consistent and under Apple control while still allowing watch makers the freedom to continue making a wide variety of styles.

post #33 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post
 

I fear too much is being projected onto this whole "iWatch" thing. I expect it to be a simple accessory catered to… Well, people who would want that kind of accessory (whatever that turns out to be). I don't see it as being the All-Mighty Next Big Thing like the iPhone or iPad.

I mean really; if Apple TV was / is just a "hobby", this thing has to be no more than an "experimental hobby" for starters.

One thing thing I would bet though; whatever it is; a timepiece will be the last thing on it's feature list.


The only product likely to approach the scale of the iPhone will be the iPhone's replacement.

post #34 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

 

If the watch crystal could be invisible to show a traditional, real watch face, and then turn opaque with a full color screen overlay, it would be incredibly interesting...

 

That would be awesome.

 

post #35 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Show off lol.gif

Meh. I was afraid of being called that. In my defense, the B&M was a gift. Honestly. 8-)

post #36 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by freediverx View Post
 

 

Think more in terms of The Swatch Group, which owns Breguet, Harry Winston, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Jaquet Droz, Léon Hatot, OmegaLonginesRado, Union Glashütte, Tissot, Balmain, Certina, Mido, Hamilton, Calvin Klein, Swatch, Flik Flak.

 

This is an amusing image to post in a Q&A forum thread about smart watches.

 

It's a photo of the legendary Omega Speedmaster, the watch that Apollo astronauts wore on moon flights. If I recall correctly, it may still be the sole timepiece certified by NASA for EVA (extra-vehicular activity, a.k.a. spacewalks). The ones that astronauts wear on space missions are owned by NASA, "loaned" to astronauts as mission equipment, and returned to the space agency after the mission is over. Many astronauts these days purchase their own Speedmasters.

 

It has a totally mechanical movement. It's not even automatic ("self-winding" via physical movement); you still need to wind it manually. Beyond the tachymeter in the bezel, it only has a stopwatch function.

 

It doesn't even have an alarm clock or show the date.

 

It is one of the most highly copied chronograph designs, arguably one of the best men's watch designs of all time (the Omega Seamaster and Rolex Seamaster are also "hall of fame" candidates).


Edited by mpantone - 7/23/14 at 7:49pm
post #37 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Meh. I was afraid of being called that. In my defense, the B&M was a gift. Honestly. 1cool.gif

Just busting your chops. That's one hell of a gift.
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post #38 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Just busting your chops. That's one hell of a gift.

Thank you. It's the best gift I have received. (So far).

post #39 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinglesthula View Post
 

Huh.  I had been expecting a finished product, but this almost makes me wonder if the recent patent about a separate in-band sensor component

 

That patent is actually 3 years old and the band was merely a way of extending the functionality of a device that would "dock" to it. It was basically a far fetched idea about releasing a peripheral device for the 6G nano. (And I only use "far fetched", because Apple obviously thought of something better.)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinglesthula View Post
 

Traditional watch makers simply need to include the sensor component in the band and have a watch face that's at least so big and contains a layer that's normally transparent (so you can see whatever mechanical watch face the traditional watch maker designed) but becomes opaque when there's iWatch UI to display, such as when a notification comes in.

 

This I agree I could see Apple going this route. Let watch makers make the watch, with a few specifications from Apple, and Apple supplies the watch crystal and "computer" parts. The watch crystal could be a transparent sapphire microLED display.

 

- Apple acquired Luxvue, a company that was developing low-power microLED displays, that they claimed were, "a break through in displays." These displays are reportedly brighter while using less power.

- Apple acquired, Passif Semiconductors, designers of an extremely low-power Bluetooth chip.

- Apple also has all the engineering talent for designing their own extremely efficient SoC as well.


Edited by mjtomlin - 7/23/14 at 8:20pm
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post #40 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Thank you. It's the best gift I have received. (So far).

What, you're expecting better? 1wink.gif
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