The Apple Watch may not be here yet, but the 3rd-party stands keep coming

composure

We may need to wait a while until we get our hands on the Apple Watch, the company still saying only “early 2015,” but that hasn’t stopped third-party companies getting their charging stands ready – and so far, they’re all looking good.

After last month’s ‘$60-80′ Dodocase stand, Rest has announced pre-orders for the $79 Composure Dock. Both products have taken the same approach of supplying a stand with a slot into which you insert the Apple MagSafe charger that will be supplied with the watch …  Read more

Fitbit moves from fitness band to true smartwatch territory with $250 Fitbit Surge

fitbit

With Apple Watch official and expected early next year, it’s likely too little, too late for Fitbit, but the company is finally moving beyond simple fitness bands to a fully-featured smartwatch in the form of the $250 Fitbit Surge.

The Surge is the company’s first device to display text messages on-screen, as well as the ability to control music on your iPhone. The move may explain rumored Apple plans to remove Fitbit from its stores (something which hasn’t yet happened), though these may also reflect the lack of Health app integration …  Read more

Will Apple hit a Valentine’s Day 2015 target for the Apple Watch’s release?

 

Screenshot 2014-09-24 10.42.08

You may remember Apple CEO Tim Cook teasing major new product categories for Apple to be released in 2014. Technically, that will happen with Apple Pay next month, Apple’s first foray into the mobile payments category, but it is far more likely that Cook had been focusing his teases on the Apple Watch. Earlier this month, Apple debuted the fashion and fitness-oriented smart watch to the same crowd that saw the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. While the Watch was demonstrated, it is obviously not a finished product: it’s not shipping until “early 2015,” according to Apple.

How early in 2015? Nobody knows for sure, but a new profile from The Information says “that Apple would be lucky to ship it by Valentine’s Day.” At 9to5, we’ve been hearing similar whispers. Valentine’s Day is in February, and this could be a great target for Apple to try to hit for the Watch’s launch. That Hallmark Holiday isn’t as strong as a shopping season as the December holidays, but it is still a time that many people seek out expensive or fashionable gifts. So why not the Apple Watch Edition, too? Apple has done product launches around that timeframe before, releasing new iOS device storage capacities and pink-colored models on multiple occasions.

Valentine’s Day aside, the bigger picture here is that many signs indicate Apple missed its own 2014 launch target. As The Information says:

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Guess Watches CEO pretends she welcomes the Apple Watch as she announces GUESS’s smartwatch plans

guess-top

If you’re the CEO of a watch company, you likely watched the announcement of the Apple Watch with a mixture of optimism and fear. Optimism because Apple just made watches cool again in a market where many people haven’t worn one for years. Fear because most of those who now have a renewed interest in watches aren’t going to buy yours.

Guess Watches CEO Cindy Livingston put a brave face on it with a letter welcoming Tim Cook to the watch industry (full version below) as she announced the company plans to make a smartwatch of its own …  Read more

Poll: Was a square format the right choice for the Apple Watch, or would round have been better?

apple-watch

The fact that Apple was working on a smartwatch may have been one of the worst-kept secrets in the world, but the company did at least manage to keep us guessing about the form it would take – right down to whether the form factor would be square or circular.

Was a square format the right choice? To help us form a view, UX/UI designer Alcion has put together a series of renders showing what the Apple Watch would look like with a round face …  Read more

HP and designer Michael Bastian team up to produce an iOS-compatible smartwatch with a traditional look

HP-Watch The great smartwatch boom is starting to consume electronic makers and HP is not exempt. The company is partnering with designer Michael Bastian to produce its own next-gen timepiece. Hewlett-Packard’s timekeeper won’t be dedicated to a single mobile platform and will instead serve as a companion device for Android and iOS smartphones similar to how Pebble watches work. Read more

WSJ: Apple planning multiple iWatch models with as many as 10 health-related sensors

iWatch concept: Espen Oxholm

iWatch concept: Espen Oxholm

The Wall Street Journal has published a new report claiming that Apple’s upcoming entry to the smartwatch market will sport ten or more sensors for collecting health data. The report also claims that the company is working on multiple versions for the wearable device, which is expected to be released later this year.

The iWatch is expected to be a health-focused device and will likely work with Apple’s new Health application, which it debuted earlier this month at its Worldwide Developer Conference. The application and its associated framework, called HealthKit, already have built-in support for certain types of devices without the need for a third-party application.

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Analyst goes to Taiwan, says iWatch has a round face; will be more than one model

Moto360

Rossenblatt Securities analyst Brian Blair is citing supply chain sources in Taiwan in stating that the iWatch has a round display, and is similar in design to the Moto 360 smartwatch shown above in a Motorola teaser image, but with a slimmer profile, reports Business Insider.

According to his supply chain sources, the iWatch will have a round face. Many people were expecting it to have a rectangular face, but Blair’s sources tell him it’s going to be round, like a normal watch

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Google releases ‘Android Wear’ SDK developer preview, watches from LG, Moto & others due next quarter

silver_metal_600_00010Ahead of the release of Apple’s much rumored “iWatch” wearable product, Google has now officially announced Android’s entrance into wearables with project “Android Wear.” The Android Wear SDK allows developers to integrate a number of features into Android powered wearables and relies heavily on Google Now functionality, as we were first to report late last year.

Google also confirmed that it’s working with a handful of partners to bring Android Wear powered wearables to market by later this year: Read more

2014 to be a big year for wearables, with 17M devices expected to be sold

wearables

Market analyst Canalys reports that 1.6M fitness bands and smartwatches combined were sold in the second half of last year, and is predicting that more than 17M devices will be sold this year, driven largely by forecast sales of 8M smartwatches.

Though currently a relatively small market serving fitness enthusiasts, wearable bands represent a massive opportunity in the medical and wellness segment. 2014 will be the year that wearables become a key consumer technology, as the smart band segment is estimated to reach 8 million annual shipments. Canalys estimates that this number will grow to over 23 million units by 2015, and over 45 million by 2017 …  Read more

Pebble Steel smartwatch leaks: metal & Gorilla Glass version on the way (Update: Announced)

Left: Pebble Steel. right: original plastic Pebble

Left: Pebble Steel. right: original plastic Pebble

If you like the functionality of the Pebble smartwatch but are less keen on the plastic finish, it looks like you won’t have long to wait for a metal version. We’ve seen a couple of leaks of the Pebble Steel, seemingly the exact same innards as the existing Pebble watch but with a stainless steel casing and Gorilla Glass.

There are said to be two versions, one in brushed stainless steel (shown alongside the original plastic version above) and a matte black one (shown below the fold) …  Read more

Qualcomm gets in on Bluetooth beacon action with iBeacon competitor

Apple’s iBeacons aren’t the only Bluetooth LE beacons available, but they have so far been the default option for retailers thanks to the backing of such a well-known company. Qualcomm, which makes wireless chips for Apple among many others, may be aiming to change that with its launch of its own beacons from just $5 each.

Gimbal proximity beacons, available in two models, are accurate down to one foot and work indoors and outdoors [...]

Depending on volume, Series 10 beacons [for indoor use] are available for as little as $5 each and Series 20 beacons [weatherproof version] are available for as little as $10 each.

While the move represents competition for Apple, it’s good news for iOS users …  Read more