Apple might just be working on the product we all remember from those Dick Tracy movies — a watch that has some phone-like capabilities. According to a report in The New York Times on Sunday, Apple is testing or “experimenting” with a “wristwatch-like device made of curved glass.”
While The New York Times does not name its sources, it says those sources have shared that Apple plans to differentiate itself from the competition with a new glass technology and its “understanding of how such glass can curve around the human body.” The New York Times points out that Corning, the maker of very durable Gorilla Glass, which covers the iPhone, has been experimenting with bendable glass over the last few years.
Following the Times’ report, The Wall Street Journal corroborated that Apple is working on a watch that would “perform some functions of a smartphone.” The Journal reports that Apple has discussed the plans with its major manufacturing partner in China. Apple did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment about the watch rumors.
The New York Times and Journal reports come after Chinese technology site Tech 163 reported earlier this year that Apple was talking to supply partners about a smart watch with a 1.5-inch OLED screen that would pair to an iPhone via Bluetooth. The last version of the iPod Nano, which had a 1.5-inch display, was turned into a watch by many early adopters; Apple even sold watch bands in its stores that turned the music player into a wearable accessory. The newest version of the Nano is longer and no longer lends itself to being a wristwatch.
Apple wouldn’t be the first to create a watch that works with a smartphone or a smartwatch. Sony and Motorola have created small devices that you can wear on your wrist that show you notifications from your phone.
Last year Pebble Technology put its Pebble smartwatch, which works with the iPhone and Android phones, on Kickstarter and raised more than $10 million. The watch just started shipping to backers and allows you to see your text messages, emails and incoming calls right on your wrist.
Other smart watches, like the Bia, have started to gain steam as well through crowd sourced fundraising sites.
Other companies like Jawbone, Nike and FitBit have created bracelets with built-in computers that provide information about your fitness and movement; the devices pair with the iPhone or Android phones to tell you more about your activity levels. The New York Times points out that Apple CEO Tim Cook wears Nike’s Fuelband.
Google, Apple’s main competitor in the smartphone space, also plans to release its own type of wearable computers soon that work with its Android phones. However, this computer you wear in front of your eyes — not on your wrist. Google’s Glass or its Internet-connected glasses pair with an Android phone and show digital information right in front of your eyes, projected over the physical world.
Rumors of Apple’s watch, or iWatch as many have called it, join a number of other rumored Apple products at the moment, including an iPhone with a larger screen and a standalone TV set. As they say, only time will tell.