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Can the Pebble smartwatch survive with the big titans?



Kickstarter is still a questionable service, with no guarantee what you are funding will yield an impressive end product, it can be risky business pledging a good chunk of money to a relatively unknown developer, who will then work with partners to make the product.

This is exactly what Pebble offered, a unique product from a small group with relatively unknown backstory, but it ended up being the most successful Kickstarter to date, getting over $10.1 million more pledged than they originally asked.

The premise was clever, offering an E-Ink smartwatch for quite a cheap price with some unique features when connected to a smartphone. Instead of making odd gestured touch control and other features consumers don’t usual buy into, Pebble put the features straight down and simple – and it got a huge response.

In the months that followed, Pebble hit some minor delays and still suffers with color options, but most of the people who got the Pebble smartwatch are not disappointed. It works – the way it was advertised, which is the key ingredient for a happy customer.

However, the success of Pebble may be short lived, with a huge waiting list still rising and not a lot of advertising dollars or shops selling the smartwatch, the startup developer could be shot down by technology giants who have just taken an interest in smartwatches, including Apple, Samsung, Google and LG.

The Galaxy Gear has already been slated as a rather poor device. Latest leaks show low battery life, unimpressive specs and the same sort of bad software design we have come to expect from Samsung, who need to take notes from their friends Xiaomi and Meizu in China.

This is just the start of the smartwatch era though and Samsung’s VP of Mobile Division has said the Galaxy Gear is only a test product, to gauge the ideas and analyse what needs to be done to create an excellent consumer smartwatch.

We also have Apple, hard at work building the iWatch, the newest iGadget set to be overpriced for what lies inside. Google is also a serious contender and may use Motorola to build the smartwatch, with defining Google-touches; like Maps integration.

With all the advertising money set with these big companies, Pebble may have lost their chance in the market simply because they were not quick enough to get the smartwatch out to everyone and add new features to enhance the user experience.

Apple’s iWatch Obstacle: Moniker Already Trademarked US, EU and China

Just as we predicted earlier this month, Apple is having problems registering the iWatch moniker for its upcoming smartwatch in several countries, most notable among them US, UK and China because it is already trademarked by other companies or individuals.  Just the other day, the final confirmation that Apple is working on a smartwatch came as it was revealed that the company had managed to trademark the iWatch moniker in various countries including Taiwan, Japan, Russia and Mexico.


The iWatch Moniker is not particularly the most creative name for a wrist device out there, especially since the prefix ‘i’ is very popular with anything technological.  Apple, it appears, is going to face a big hurdle in many countries if it has plans to sell the device globally like it does the iPhone, iPad and iPod among other products the company makes.

The first sign of trouble is that in the biggest and most significant markets for the company’s products, US, UK and China, the company will have to negotiate the transfer of the iWatch moniker rights from the current trademark owners to them in order to sell the iWatch in these markets.  The alternative would be to launch the watch, which is already said to be in the early stages of design, in a different name.  According to NY Times, Probendi, an Italian software company, owns the iWatch trademark in the European Union.

Transferring the iWatch moniker to Apple would be a complicated and very expensive process, especially if the trademark owners are established companies.

Smartwatch battery patent

Apple has patented an innovative wearable device battery pack and was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office just yesterday.  This new technology is just one more piece to the smartwatch puzzle which the company is completely mum about.

Apple iWatch Battery

According to the patent description as published by TUAW, the flexible battery pack is ‘for use on electronic devices to overcome one or more drawbacks of a conventional battery pack’.  Several battery cells, which may be made from photovoltaic or galvanic cells, are shaped to include a plurality of laminate layers or may be stacked one on top of another in laminate layers.  What is clear though is that the battery pack is meant for a wearable device – most likely a smartwatch.

Other companies are working on smartwatches with intent to enter the market, which seems very slow as of now.  Sony has already released a smartwatch and is working on another to be released within the month in the UK.  Pebble was among the first to sell the smartwatch and other companies including Samsung, Nike and Fitbit have theirs or are said to be working on them.

Apple’s iWatch smartwatch was initially rumored to come in May 2014 but shortly after word was that release was pushed to later in the year.

Sources: Ubergizmo and Patently Apple via TUAW



New Apple patent changes bezel size on device through touch



Apple has always tried to push the bezel of a smartphone and tablet to the limit, maximising screen potential. A new patent from Cupertino may completely eradicate the bezel and bring it back when the user needs the thumb space.

The patent allows the user to control the bezel space, for small devices or devices looking to maximise screen real estate, this could be a grand move, allowing the user to get the full screen when watching a movie and then some thumb space when writing an email.

Apple does have a slight problem when they apply patents, they sometimes never get round to using them. We may see the bezel-less iWatch or iPad coming soon or Apple may discard this patent like many others.

Source: TechCrunch

Apple Files for “iWatch” Trademark In Japan

It looks like we may be seeing an Apple branded smartwatch soon as the company has filed a trademark application for the “iWatch” name in Japan. The company is said to have made the filing last June 3 but the records were only made public last Thursday. This comes a few weeks after it filed for the same trademark in Russia.


Apple is reportedly developing a smartphone watch in partnership with Intel. While Apple has not made any official comment on this yet Intel however said that they are indeed developing a smartwatch but they did not say who they are collaborating with.

The filing of the trademark isn’t a sure indicator though that the company will be releasing a smartwatch anytime soon. They may just be protecting the name so that no one can use it. There’s a good chance though that it is coming soon as sources close to the company’s plans have revealed that the company has been working with a team of 100 product designers to work on a wristwatch device that can connect wirelessly to the iPhone.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, has said publicly that wearable technology were ripe for exploration. He however cautioned that “There’s nothing that’s going to convince a kid who has never worn glasses or a band or a watch to wear one, or at least I haven’t seen it.”

The next battleground for tech manufacturers is going to be wearable devices. Right now Google and Samsung are preparing for the release of their smartwatch models. Sony has lead in this department but the reception to the company’s smartwatch model from consumers is still mixed. Analysts have forecasted that 500 million of this device will be sold in the next 5 years making it an attractive market.

via forbes

Apple Rumoured to Ship iWatch in May 2014


iWatch There have been rumours floating around that Apple will be releasing or at least announcing it’s take on the smart watch next year in May, Apples watch has been dubbed by some sites as the “iWatch” following the trend of there other products. Some analysts say that the release will of the iWatch will not be until the end of the year and production will start half way through 2014.

According to various rumours sites the display on the device will be 1.5 to 2inches large. The watch is most likely to interact with your iOS devices and will be very useful for runners and cyclist who have been using this sort of technology for quite a while. Also like the pebble watch you will be able to receive text messages and notifications from your iPhone.

There have been many mock-ups of what an iWatch would look like but none of them illustrate anything that Apple would actually do that would attract the masses. I think like the iPod Nano range the iWatch would come in multiple colours, instead of the stainless steal look that a large portion of the mock-ups sport.

Apple have patented ideas of a slap band like watch that would just wrap around your wrist instead of being tided, but then again they have patented some technologies that they are yet to use or are obsolete.

Source – Mashable 

Board Member Shares His View On Future Apple Products

Smartwatch concept from T3.
Smartwatch concept from T3.

During a major event for the employees of Intuit, the close friend of the late Steve Jobs who is also serving as an Apple board member, Bill Campbell shared his view on future Apple products. Among the Apple future products that Campbell discussed were the much rumored iWatch and hi-tech glasses that could potentially compete with the Google Glass.

Reportedly, Campbell sat down with Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, to discuss with Intuit employees the factors that could propel a brand into the market. Among the other things that were tackled were how a manager should handle an organization and the latest trends affecting the technology industry. The factors that seemingly hinder the progress of the tech sector were talked about too.

In the course of the conference, Campbell was very careful about the closely guarded secrets of his company though, like the details of future Apple products. So, he did not reveal many details about them. However, he confirmed that his company is currently working with apps and gadgets that could bring inanimate things to life like watches and glasses.

Campbell was quoted by CNET to have praised the Google Glass innovation. He said that it is indeed a “phenomenal breakthrough”. He added that with the advent of the new technologies, watches and glasses of the future will become as intimate as the cell phone was to people.

Based on recent reports and rumors circulating over the Internet, the development of wearable computing seems to be the main goal of the people in Apple. One of the heavily hyped future Apple products that have been generating a big buzz before it is even released is the iWatch. As the name of the device implies, it would be similar to a wristwatch that works on iOS. The Apple watch would also come with curved glass said rumors from numerous tech sites like CNET and Techradar. The rumor about the flexible display was based on the claim of various news sites that the big company has filed a patent for such. Another patent was filed for a display apparatus that can be worn on the head, which is probably the device that will go head-to-head with Google Glass, added the source from CNET.

In addition to the flexible display, the future Apple product presently called as “iWatch” by rumormongers will feature the ability to make calls, caller ID, GPS, pedometer and monitoring several health data such as heart rate and other vital signs.

Bloomberg stated as well that the Cupertino-based company has around 100 people working on the smartwatch project. So far, the company seems to be speeding up the development of the smartwatch so that it can be slated for release this 2013.

A separate report from CNET said that Apple is really pressured about releasing their smartwatch this year because Samsung and Google appear to be separately working with a similar project. Moreover, the pressure comes from the overwhelming demand of gadget enthusiasts for such product.

Sources: CNET, Bloomberg and Techradar

iWatch Seen By Bloomberg Analyst As A Great Opportunity For Apple

iwatch iphone

Apple has been experiencing a downfall in terms of sales ever since the death of Steve jobs and especially after the launch of the iPhone 5. According to Bloomberg, most critics voiced out that its new generation devices haven’t been able to satisfy Apple lovers who were expecting more. Apple fans have set such high standards which make it hard for the company to meet them every time a new product is launched. Now, Apple is coming out with a new product which has a potential to put it back on top of the market.

Over the years, the traditional wristwatch has fallen out of favor with many people. After all, most find that there is no longer a need to have a personal device that solely tells the time because everyone has a mobile phone and other gadgets which incorporate this feature. Wrist watches nowadays are merely used as an accessory to match with the clothes we wear, just like jewelry. But that doesn’t mean that the right company can’t make wrist-worn technology relevant again.

Based on a past interview with Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook, the new project of Apple called the iWatch, would be revolutionary and a magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other wearable device.

In Bloomberg’s recent interview with an Apple insider, it was revealed that the company has a team of about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that can perform some of the tasks which are now handled by the iPhone and the iPad.

Then, the features under consideration which were exposed by an anonymous source include letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check for map coordinates. It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data such as heart rate. Additional functions like providing notifications from the iPhone or iPad will be offered as well.

From what I’ve read on the Bloomberg site, the iWatch could have much higher profit margins than the company’s iPad line up and its rumored HDTV. I think it’s a wise move for Apple to shift its focus on different products like the rumored TV and the hyped iWatch since competition in the Smartphone market is getting fiercer with Samsung, Sony and others that are coming up with devices that could be better than the iPhone.

Cook definitely appears to be testing the waters with the iWatch. I think this will be another revolution from Apple. Today, smart watches with very limited functions already exist. But so far, no one has made a full blown iOS mobile computer as small as a watch so this going to be huge.

But yet it is only a rumor we would have to wait and see for ourselves what it would really be. Let us just wait and see if the iWatch will be a hit or a flop.

Will it be another disappointment for the giant company or will it be the saving grace for Tim Cook and Apple Inc? Only time will tell.

Source: Bloomberg

New Wearable Computer Patent Hints at Apple iWatch

Apple wearable computer patent

[Apple Insider]

Apple’s iWatch rumor has picked up serious steam within the last two weeks. After Apple’s iWatch rumors started to surface with each passing day, it was said that Google would create a smartphone watch. Recent photos leaked from Samsung indicate that Samsung is also considering a smart watch with its newest round of smartphones that will debut later this Spring. Apple has not yet commented as to whether or not the rumors are true, but there are some indications that the California Fruit is getting serious about its original iWatch.

This past week brought forth a new Apple patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Organization (USPTO). Titled “Personal Items Network and Associated Methods,” the patent calls for a network that will help an individual track down a lost item, as well as monitor the individual’s movements and heart rate. According to Jim Tanous of The Mac Observer, here is the extent of the new patent capability:

“…the lengthy and detailed patent filing builds on hundreds of previous inventions to describe a complex method of monitoring movement, environmental conditions, and other factors relevant to wearable computers. The methods described by the patent include Apple’s vision for a series of wirelessly-linked sensors that work together to track, analyze, and communicate data such as movement, force, environmental conditions, and health information” (Jim Tanous, “New Apple Patent May Hint at Features at Rumored ‘iWatch'”).

The patent also provides diagrams such as a bike, watch strap, and a strap worn during exercise. These diagrams cover both position monitoring (where an individual is, the location of a tracked package) as well as event monitoring (the number of miles ran or walked). This patent, thus, reveals two things from Apple. First, Apple intends to create an iWatch, as demonstrated by its wrist strap diagram on the patent. Secondly, Apple intends for its iPod to be replaced by the iWatch, since it would substitute in place of the current iPod Nano — a device that many made into a watch after Apple released it to the public. The device would also be attached to a bike when riding and could be used for fitness purposes. All of these would lead to an iPhone replacement in everyday, physical activity. If an individual has a strap that attaches to the bike, he or she will not need a smartphone to do physical fitness events like walking, running, or biking. This will make it easier to exercise than before, but it may lead to a replacement of the iPhone, as some tech writers (such as those at Business Insider) suggests.

While the patent may not be enough to convince you (since there are many patents whose items do not end up in the production line), take note of the fact that it has also been rumored this week by sources working close to Apple that Apple is already testing prototypes of the new smart watch concept (according to NY Times and the Wall Street Journal). Bloomberg News spoke with two inside people who said that there is a team of 100 engineers and designers working on what will become Apple’s iWatch. What features can we expect from the watch? “Siri voice control support, notification support, mobile payment features, navigation support, and caller ID” (Jeff Gamet, “Apple’s iWatch Team Apparently 100 Strong”; macobserver).

Is it possible for the iPhone to be replaced by the iWatch? For right now, it’s not possible. Apple has its iPhone to credit for the majority of its sales, and it is not smart (business-wise) to place a company’s entire future on a product that has yet to hit store shelves. It will also take some time for smart watches to become popular, as it has taken for smartphones. Individuals will always need smartphones, and smartphone capabilities such as WiFi hotspot, among others, will keep smartphones in style. Still, it is true that Apple (Samsung, as well) will produce smart watches this year that seek to provide an even more mobile experience for consumers than technologies of the past. The only question that now remains is, which smart watch will arrive at the market first?


From iPod to iWatch: Why the Rumored Wristwear May Be the Perfect iPod Replacement

The iWatch -- Hit or Miss?

[Photo Credit: Wired]

Watches. Many of us who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s are used to them by now.

Back then, smartphones did not exist. Apple would not invent its iPhone until 2007, so watches and pocket clocks were the way to tell time. If you did not purchase a watch, you hoped that the clock on the wall was not lying this time. I can remember how cool I thought I was because of the calculator watch. These were good times.

Today, watches have become more of a passing ‘90s fad that needs to “stay dead,” according to some critics. As someone who grew up in the ‘90s, I shared this sentiment early on when I kept hearing stories about Apple creating an “iWatch.” When rumors started surfacing that Google wanted to create a smart watch as well (to go with its augmented-reality glasses), I was even more skeptical. Why should these tech giants return to a ‘90s fad in order to take consumers into the future of technology? Can they not come up with something else to take its place? Google’s driverless cars are the kind of earth-shattering tech that captivates me. “Let’s move forward, not retreat,” I was thinking to myself.

At the same time, however, the “car” concept is not innovative. While Google’s driverless concept is, the vehicle itself is not. Cars have been around for my entire 28 years of life; to find out how innovative cars were when they first arrived, you’d have to ask someone’s relative who remembers an older family member driving a Ford model-T when it became America’s vehicle. My grandparents were born in the ‘30s, so they would remember more about that era than I would. While cars have been around for approximately eighty years (read that right: EIGHTY!), society has not exhausted the potential of the vehicle. Within the last few years alone, we have learned that cars can utilize safety technology to prevent accidents and minimize vehicle damage upon impact. Cars can also alert drivers as to when they must stop and refill their gas tank to avoid car death in the middle of the highway. As of this moment, Apple has decided to take Siri to Chevy vehicles with its “Eyes Free” program so that drivers need not look at Siri or the iPhone screen while driving. Drivers can thus stay focused while Siri does all the work that drivers need to do.

Google’s augmented-reality glasses are an innovation that capitalizes upon the invention of glasses in the past. There are those who, like me, are visually challenged and always need a pair of glasses to wear on a daily basis. Now, with Google Glasses, consumers will be able to do ordinary things (like set appointments, order concert tickets, send texts and emails, and post new FB, Google +, and Twitter statuses) better while on the go. Telling your glasses to “send a new Facebook post” is more effective than to walk around with your hands touching the virtual keyboard on a smartphone screen. With this technology, Google will eliminate the need to use your hands on small display screens, where you type an email and rely on autocorrect because of large fingers or fast typing.

Assessing all this, it seems reasonable that the iPod would be replaced by the iWatch. While iPods are not selling like iPhones and iPads today, many runners and fitness gurus rely upon the iPod Nano and the iPod Touch to play their collection of music while jogging, hiking, playing basketball, and other sports and outdoor activities. This is the reason why the iPod Nano was so popular as a wristwatch concept back before the iPod Touch emerged from Apple’s production line. Now, you need not worry about your iPod Nano, iPod Touch, or iPhone being the target of thieves; they’ll have to pry it off your arm to steal it now!

I was once a skeptic of the iWatch, but I am no longer. I have a tendency, as do many consumers, to want to keep items such as the watch in the past and immortalize them. At the same time, who knows how much benefit the watch can provide consumers in the future?