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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Apple hiring smartwatch talent

AFP   July 16, 2013
First Published: 10:28 IST(16/7/2013) | Last Updated: 10:31 IST(16/7/2013)

Sources claim Apple is looking for help in getting its first wearable technology device ready for a 2014 launch.

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An article in the Financial Times claims that Apple has been encountering "hard engineering problems that they're unable to solve" and as a result is set to start recruiting new blood with wearable technology experience in order to get the so-called ‘iWatch' project back on track. According to sources quoted by the publication, Apple is aiming to get the product out by the end of 2014.

Most rumors surrounding the highly-buzzed device have pointed to a 2013 launch date as have similar reports focused on Apple's closest competitors, i.e., Microsoft, Samsung, Google and, to a lesser extent, LG, all of which have been officially or unofficially confirmed as developing similar devices for a 2013 launch.

If the report turns out to be accurate -- and the FT has a pretty good track record, being one of the first publications to report on iTunes radio and the obstacles it was encountering -- Apple will also have the benefits of seeing what the competition is up to and tweaking its device to suit. However, with the current rate of consumer technological advances, the wearable computing may already be mainstream by the time the iWatch launches.

Speaking at the opening keynote debate about wearable technology at this month's VentureBeat MobileBeat 2013 conference, the consensus was that Google Glass is just the beginning and that devices would be inserted inside the body within the next ten years.

Jef Holove, chief executive of Basis Science, maker of the Basis wrist-worn health tracker said: "We're in the Palm Pilot stage of wearables," meaning that the device category is yet to have its iPhone moment and that when it does, the industry will explode, in much the way the smartphone market did when Apple launched its first phone back in 2007. Many are convinced that a consumer-ready version of Google Glass could be this gateway device, while others believe that as with the iPhone, the Apple iWatch will be the gadget that legitimizes wearable technology and makes body-worn computers desirable.

However, during the discussion, which also featured Samsung's chief strategy officer, Young Sohn, and Gary Clayton, the chief creative officer at voice recognition firm Nuance, Holove also stressed that an iconic device is just one part of the puzzle. "We have to start with concrete use cases that solve real problems," he said of wearable devices.


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