iWatch UK release date, specs and price rumours: when is the iWatch coming to the UK?
Apple is gearing up to release its first wearable device, the iWatch, this autumn, according to multiple reports. Here’s where we round-up all the rumours surrounding the iWatch release date, specs and price in the UK
Apple is strongly suspected to be joining the wearbles tech race this year with its own smartwatch.
It's widely thought to be called the iWatch - if it's not called that, we'll be surprised - and expected to arrive this autumn with a focus on health and fitness. Here’s where we round-up all the latest news and rumours - both reasonable and a bit more out there - surrounding the iWatch, and assess the reports on the release date, specs and price in the UK.
Apple iWatch: latest news and rumours
22 July: "iTime" patent awarded in US
After a three year wait, Apple has been awarded a patent for a "wrist-worn electronic device", labelled as the iTime in one illustration.
It includes a removable screen unit, a wireless communication transceiver in the wrist band, accelerometer or haptic device, antenna, GPS receiver, media storage and playback, and touchscreen.
It can also pair with a second electronic device and provide notifications such as incoming calls, which can also be accepted or rejected from the watch.
An illustration also shows the device pairing with a desktop computer and a "mobile computer".
18 July: $300 price at release
Morgan Stanley analyst Kate Huberty has predicted the iWatch will cost $300 at launch and could sell as many as 60 million units in its first year.
A $300 price point before tax would put it on a par with the Galaxy Gear and Gear 2 at launch, although it's likely to cost more in the UK.
14 July: Production delayed until November
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has claimed there will be a split release of the iWatch, due to additional complexities in making the device.
According to Kuo, only about three million devices will be released at the iWatch's launch in early autumn, with mass production being held back until November. The 5.5in iPhone 6 could also be affected.
7 July: Apple poaches Tag Heuer exec
Apple has hired Patrick Pruniaux away from Tag Heuer to work on the iWatch, the watchmaker's parent company LVHM confirmed. Pruniaux was Tag Heuer's vice president of sales and retail.
2 June: What we learned from WWDC about the iWatch
New features launched at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June, particularly the Health app, have only intensified speculation that a new wearable is imminent.
Apple has been uncharacteristically slow on the wearables uptake, with rivals Samsung already on its second generation of Galaxy Gear smartwatches. Even health trackers such as the Jawbone Up and Fitbit Flex have three years on the huge Californian technology icon. However, if some of these rumours surrounding the iWatch prove to be true, the new Apple smartphone could well be worth the wait.
6 May: Apple hires more health-tech experts
Apple has been hiring a team of medical technology executives, suggesting the iWatch will focus on health and fitness. Reports suggest Apple has snapped up at least half a dozen prominent biomedicine researchers, with much of the focus on sensor technologies.
Continue reading for:
- iWatch release date: what we knows so far
- iWatch iWatch health monitoring rumours
- Display concepts for the iWatch
- Siri and the iWatch
- iWatch battery life and wireless charging rumours
- Smart Home integration
- Apple iWatch: camera, microphone and speakers
Apple iWatch what we know so far: release date
There is no official release date yet for the iWatch, however Apple only normally drops an invite to its hardware launch events a week before, so we'll get some warning.
It's widely expected that the iWatch will be released alongside the iPhone 6, and 19 September seems like a reasonable assumption, as the last two models of the iPhone have been released on the Thursday of the third week of September.
Not everyone agrees with this iWatch release date though, as Nikkei reports there will be a separate October launch, citing "industry sources". Its sources claim Apple is confident it will sell three to five million first generation iWatches.
Apple iWatch release date, specs and price: health monitoring
Rumours the iWatch will be a health-monitoring device have been persistent, and have been bolstered by the unveiling of Health and HealthKit at WWDC.
Health lets users view all their collected health monitoring data, such as exercise, nutrition and sleep, in a single app.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, it's designed to break down data silos by drawing in data from many different apps and services.
Intriguingly, Cook specifically referenced Nike during his presentation. While Nike+ has been closely integrated with iOS since it started, the sports company recently ditched its own Nike+ Fuelband activity tracker in April this year. Could this be a sign that the Nike+ system will use iWatch hardware instead?
One specific rumour related to the iWatch is that it will monitor users' blood pressure, pulse rate and may even be able to predict heart attacks.
Again, cardiovascular health was referenced directly by Cook in his WWDC keynote, including blood pressure and pulse rate.
Apple iWatch release date, specs and price: display
The shape of the iWatch display remains disputed, with rumours suggesting it will be either wraparound device, or a standard watch with a round or square face - which is rather all of the options.
A wraparound design has been the longest standing rumour and the one that most concept artists have been working towards. This rumour has been boosted by reports LG will be exclusively producing the display.
This is important, as LG has already shown off its ability to produce curved displays with the LG G Flex phone.
The round-face rumour comes from analyst Brian Blair, of Rosenblatt Securities, who told Business Insider "supply chain sources" in Taiwan had indicated the iWatch will look like a normal watch.
The newest rumour is that the device will have a square or rectangular display, and quite a big one at that.
What we think
Darien Graham-Smith, deputy editor: Apple’s signature aesthetic has always been about elegance. With the iPhone in particular, it’s consistently stuck to a compact design, in notable contrast to the ballooning screen sizes of its rivals.
It would be a surprise therefore if the company took the opposite tack when it came to smartwatches. Then again, Apple has surprised us plenty of times in the past: perhaps if they could make it thin enough, and get it to comfortably follow the contours of the wearer’s wrist, a big-screen wearable could work. For now though I’m firmly in the sceptic camp.
According to Reuters, the screen will be 2.5in diagonal - much larger than the 1.3in to 1.5in figures that have previously been suggested and about an inch bigger than the Galaxy Gear 2 and subsequent devices running Android Wear.
It is possible that the reason we are hearing so many different rumours about the device's looks are that, according to the Wall Street Journal, the company is planning to launch not one but many wrist-mounted devices.
Another possibility is deliberate obfuscation. It's not unknown for companies to deliberately sow false rumours about upcoming products to flush out leaks and protect the real product at the same time.
Apple iWatch release date, specs and price: Siri
Another feature debuted at WWDC this year was an "always listening" function for Siri, iOS' virtual PA.
Users are able to activate Siri by uttering the phrase "hey, Siri", before giving the software a command. Craig Federighi, SVP of software engineering at Apple, gave the example of using the iPhone hands free in a car, but it would also be very useful on a watch.
Apple iWatch release date, specs and price: wireless charging and battery
According to rumours, Apple is trying to come up with a way to charge the iWatch wirelessly.
The New York Times reports Apple is working on three technologies in particular - solar charging, radio spectrum charging (WiFi, TV, mobile signals etc), and magnetic induction, similar to the technology already available in Nokia phones.
Kinetic charging is also a possibility; when the wearer moves their arms, it charges the battery.
However, as such technologies are new, it may be a case of hooking the device up to a standard charger for now.
Apple iWatch release date: Smart Home integration
During the WWDC keynote, Federighi unveiled HomeKit, a system that will allow users to control connected home features such as garage doors, lights, heating and even their front door with their iPhone, iPad or iPod - providing they are certified for the system.
Given HomeKit will integrate with all these devices, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that it would integrate with the iWatch as well.
Apple iWatch: camera, microphone and speakers
There has been no word at all on what kind of camera, microphone and speakers the iWatch will feature - if indeed it features them at all.
However, as rivals like the Galaxy Gear 2 do have such features, and given so many of the sensors - including cardiovascular monitoring - rely on them, it's unlikely the iWatch will appear without them.