Apple’s iWatch – tech giant beefs up team working on wearable computing device

13 Feb 2013

iPod nano devices transformed into wristwatches, thanks to silicone-based bands made by Hex

Apple is understood to have deployed 100 product designers to develop a wrist watch computer that interacts with other iOS devices, such the iPhone, iPad and iPod.

It emerged earlier this week that Apple is working on a new concept that fits in with the nascent wearable computing age as demonstrated already by players such as Nike with its Fuel fitness-tracking wristband and Google with its forthcoming Glass Android-powered eyeglasses.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has put its senior director of engineering James Foster and another manager called Achim Panfoerder on the job.

It is understood that Jony Ives, Apple’s chief design guru responsible for the appearance of devices like the iPad and iPhone, has broadened his portfolio to include software with the intention of bringing his design ethic and eye for detail to user interface (UI) design.

Despite the rude health of Apple’s finances driven by sales of devices like the iPad and iPhone, investors are wondering what will come next from the Apple innovation factory.

Apple in recent days announced a three-year plan to pay investors a US$45bn dividend and yesterday CEO Tim Cook predicted that within four years iPad sales will exceed PCs, reaching 375m per annum.

But the iWatch – as it has been dubbed – with its attractive high-street store presence, could represent a new departure for Apple into a new line-up of geek-chic products.

It emerged earlier this week that Apple has been in discussions with manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry to produce new categories beyond the smartphone and tablet.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years