On Monday, The New York Times and WSJ reported that Apple may be working on a wristwatch computer. The reports were a result of Corning’s newly developed bendable Willow Glass, which experts believe will be used in the upcoming device.
Today, those rumors have solidified after an unnamed source revealed to Bloomberg that Apple currently has a team of about 100 employees working on the product. According to the source, the team has grown rapidly over the last year adding managers, marketers, and software and hardware engineers. The source also noted that, given the teams size, it’s likely that Apple has moved beyond the experimental phase in its development.
While Apple has yet to officially confirm the production of this new “smart watch”, it’s likely that the company is looking for additional products to branch out into new markets. Apple has been facing significant pressure over the last few months, with its sales growth declining and the company’s stock plummeting since its high in September dropping more than 30 percent. With increased competition from rivals such as Samsung, a new product that justifies a high price point may be Apple’s best bet at combating its falling margins.
Tech consultant and former Apple employee Bruce Tognazzini sees the new wristwatch as just that product; as he wrote in his blog: “The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem”. Bruce is quite bullish on the idea of an Apple smart watch and sees the somewhat lukewarm response as a standard reaction from the market; he explains: “Like other breakthrough Apple products, its value will be underestimated at launch, [and] then grow to have a profound impact on our lives and Apple’s fortunes.”
Producing a smart wristwatch would also allow Apple to compete with another major rival, Google, which is currently working to produce wearable computing glasses and plans to introduce them in 2014. Creating wearable computers does introduce a slew of problems, namely managing power demands so that the product does not need to be charged daily.
However, Apple may find itself in the more favorable position as fund manager at T. Rowe Price Group, Josh Spencer notes “There [are] more people that would wear an Apple watch than would wear Google glasses”.
Considering the recent reports from Bloomberg’s unnamed sources, it not only seems likely that Apple is working on a new smart watch, but it may release sooner than anticipated. Given the reported size of Apple’s current team working on the project, Apple’s new smart watch could even release before the end of the year.