Sources: Apple’s iWatch Is a Curvy, Health-Monitoring Machine

Source: iWatch Concept by Todd Hamilton

Source: iWatch Concept by Todd Hamilton

As the fall season draws nearer, more and more rumors about Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) expected new product launches continue to emerge from the company’s overseas supply chain and other insider sources. Besides the rumored large-screen iPhone 6 models, many industry watchers are also expecting Apple to release a wearable tech product that many have already dubbed the “iWatch.” Although Apple has yet to even confirm the existence of any wrist-worn wearable tech product, a new report from Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review via TechCrunch offers many new details about this long-rumored device.

According to unnamed industry sources cited by Nikkei, Apple’s “watch-like wearable gear” will include biometric sensors that will collect various health-related data, such as calorie consumption, blood sugar levels, oxygen saturation, and sleep activity. The sources predicted that Apple’s wearable tech device will launch in October, presumably after the debut of the iPhone 6. Nikkei’s sources also indicated that Apple had partnered with Nike (NYSE:NKE) to create the device. Rumors of an Apple-Nike partnership circulated earlier this year when CNET reported that Nike was exiting the hardware side of its wearable tech business to focus on software. Nike gained valuable experience in health-related wearable tech from making the FuelBand activity-tracking device.

Although the health-related data will be collected through Apple’s wrist-worn device, the information will be managed by an app on the iPhone. Apple unveiled a health data storage platform called HealthKit and a Health app at the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. According to Nikkei’s sources, Apple will use this platform to enable third-party app developers to create their own health-monitoring apps. Apple has already announced partnerships with high-profile hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic. A Mayo Clinic doctor quoted by Apple during the WWDC keynote address said that “HealthKit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people.”

Finally, Nikkei’s sources also predicted that Apple’s wearable tech device would feature a curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touchscreen. OLED displays are considered advantageous for wearable tech products since they can be fabricated on a thin, flexible plastic substrate. On the other hand, OLED displays also tend to lose color accuracy more quickly than other types of displays. According to CNET, Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously noted that the color saturation of OLED is “awful” compared to Apple’s Retina displays. However, Apple may have solved this issue with a patent it filed last year that proposed using integrated thermal sensors in OLED displays to keep track of and correct color deterioration, reports Patently Apple.

Although the information from Nikkei’s sources cannot be independently verified, it should be noted that the health-monitoring capabilities described in the report aligns with information from other media outlets and analysts. According to sources cited by 9to5Mac last summer, Apple assembled a wearable tech product development team that included many medical sensor experts. It should be noted that 9to5Mac correctly predicted the existence of a health-monitoring app several months before Apple revealed the Health app at the WWDC.

Meanwhile, several prominent analysts have also cited information from supply chain sources that also seems to confirm Apple will release the so-called iWatch this fall. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White recently issued a research note that claimed that the production of certain iWatch components would begin this month, reports Barron’s. According to 9to5Mac, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also pegged the release of the iWatch in the third quarter of this year.

Nikkei’s sources indicated that Apple is planning to produce around 3 to 5 million units per month, or 36 to 60 million units per year.  While it remains to be seen if Apple’s wearable tech product can duplicate the success of its iPhone or iPad sales, RBC Capital Markets analysts Amit Daryanani and Mark Sue recently estimated that Apple could generate an additional $9 billion to $11 billion in revenue during the first year if the company sold approximately 50 million devices that cost around $175 to $225 apiece, according to the Financial Post.

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