A US analyst who spoke to Asian suppliers about the health of Apple's supply chain has heard that Cupertino's long-rumored iWatch won't be primarily an extension of your smartphone or tablet, unlike Samsung's big-as-your-head Galaxy Gear smartwatch.
Instead the time-piece will be a "multi-purpose gateway" into controlling things around the home, from lights to heating, we're told.
"As an Apple supplier," Cantor Fitzgerald's Brian White wrote to his clients, Barron's reports, "our contact offered insight into the 'iWatch' and described this potential new device as much more than an extension of your iPhone but as a multi-purpose gateway in allowing consumers to control their home (i.e., heating/cooling, lights, audio, video, etc)."
If White's source is correct, such abilities could be a big step towards answering the question that dogs many iWatch prognosticators and rumor mongers – namely, "what the hell good is it?"
As a stylin', always-on, wrist-mounted home-control device, the iWatch could be much more than just a place to check your emails and tweets without pulling your iPhone out of your pocket, it would become a place to monitor and control your environment – without pulling your iPhone out of your pocket.
Again, if White's source is correct, we might imagine the iWatch using Apple's iBeacon tech, which is essentially a software interface introduced in iOS 7 that sits on top of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), a communication system that the Bluetooth overseers claim will enable "devices that can operate for months or even years on tiny, coin-cell batteries."
If so, Apple would not only benefit from iWatch sales, but would also have the opportunity to peddle BLE-enabled devices to interface with or replace the aforementioned heating, cooling, lighting, audio, and video devices – and, of course, the all-important things such as cookers and blenders, etc.
White had written earlier that the iWatch would ship before the end of next year, "and we continue to stand by this view." ®
In addition to his iWatch report, White also spoke of the next iteration of the iPhone. His source told him that a bigger iPhone is, indeed, in the works, and will launch in the second or third quarter of 2014.