Apple Is Making an “iWatch” [WSJ]

New Work Times tech blog backs up the story mentioning Corning Willow Glass

By on February 11th, 2013 07:54 GMT

Two major media outlets this weekend issued almost identical stories regarding a potential iWatch product from Apple. The device is said to be in testing and Corning is reportedly supplying the bendable glass.

You know something’s cooking when both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times report the exact same rumor involving a new product from Apple.

WSJ for its part says Apple is “experimenting” with designs at the moment, but suggests that the company is determined to start mass production when testing ends.

The watch-like device would borrow functions from smartphones, according to people briefed on the matter.

Moreover, Apple has even opened up discussions with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., regarding mass production, one of these people said.

The Cupertino giant reportedly sees the iWatch as a big opportunity to expand its product categories beyond the smartphone and the tablet.

The NYT says pretty much the same thing – “...Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices” – adding that the company is using “curved glass,” according to people familiar with the company’s testing.

The watch is believed to run a variant of iOS, the company’s mobile operating system, with the ability to communicate wirelessly to existing iDevices, like the iPhone and the iPad, via Bluetooth.

Two people who were briefed on the matter said Apple’s iWatch will “stand apart from competitors based on the company’s understanding of how such glass can curve around the human body”

The watch could also be used to make payments via Passbook, the newspaper speculates.

The report brings up Corning, a company which designs and manufactures advanced types of glass. The iPhone already uses the company’s Gorilla Glass, a scratch-resistant durable material that looks no different than ordinary glass.

Corning has reportedly “solved the difficult engineering challenge” of creating Willow Glass, a bendable type of glass that Apple is said to be prototyping in the iWatch.

Corning Glass Technologies CTO, Pete Bocko said the company had been developing the flexible glass for more than a decade. In a telephone interview, he said the technology is finally usable in real products.

“You can certainly make it wrap around a cylindrical object and that could be someone’s wrist,” Mr. Bocko said, asked about a potential wearable product from Apple. “Right now, if I tried to make something that looked like a watch, that could be done using this flexible glass.”

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