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Apple iWatch: Curved-Glass is on the road to smart iCars!

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Nick Bilton writes:

Last year, Corning, the maker of the ultra-tough Gorilla Glass that is used in the iPhone, announced that it had solved the difficult engineering challenge of creating bendable glass, called Willow Glass, that can flop as easily as a piece of paper in the wind without breaking.

Pete Bocko, the chief technology officer for Corning Glass Technologies, who worked on Willow Glass, said via telephone that the company had been developing the thin, flexible glass for more than a decade, and that the technology had finally arrived.

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

But Mr. Bocko warns that it is still quite an engineering feat to create a foldable device. “The human body moves in unpredictable ways,” he said. “It’s one of the toughest mechanical challenges.”

Corning's Willow Glass can wrap around a cylindrical object, like someone's wrist.

CorningCorning’s Willow Glass can wrap around a cylindrical object, like someone’s wrist.

To add to the excitement of an Apple watch, late last year the Chinese gadget site Tech.163 reported that the company had begun development of a watch featuring Bluetooth and a 1.5-inch display.

“Apple’s certainly made a lot of hiring in that area,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester analyst who specializes in wearable computing and smartphones. “Apple is already in the wearable space through its ecosystem partners that make accessories that connect to the iPhone,” she said, adding: “This makes Apple potentially the biggest player of the wearables market in a sort of invisible way.”

“Over the long term wearable computing is inevitable for Apple; devices are diversifying and the human body is a rich canvas for the computer,” Ms. Epps said. “But I’m not sure how close we are to a new piece of Apple hardware that is worn on the body.”

Investors would most likely embrace an iWatch, with some already saying that wearable computing could replace the smartphone over the next decade.

“We believe technology could progress to a point where consumers have a tablet plus wearable computers, like watches or glasses, that enable simple things like voice calls, texting, quick searches, navigation,” Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, said in a report last month. “These devices are likely to be cheaper than an iPhone and could ultimately be Apple’s best answer to addressing emerging markets.”

Mr. Cook is clearly interested in wearables. In the past he has been seen wearing a Nike FuelBand, which tracks a user’s daily exertion. The FuelBand data is shared wirelessly with an iPhone app.

Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president for technologies, who previously ran hardware engineering, has also been particularly interested in wearables, an Apple employee said. Mr. Mansfield is engrossed by devices that connect to the iPhone, through Bluetooth, sharing information back and forth from the human body to the phone, including the Nike FuelBand and Jawbone Up.

If smartphones do become smart watches and smart glasses, Apple seems to have the technology to make standout wearable computers.

Last year the company filed patents for displays that sit over the eye and stream information to the retina. Given that the iPod Nano is about the size of an overfed ant, the company clearly knows how to make small devices, too.

Shut up and take my money!!!

NYT: Apple Is Developing A Curved-Glass Smart Watch - Business Insider

Jay Yarow observes that Steve Jobs wanted to make cars:

Here's a nugget of news buried in Nick Bilton's story on Apple potentially making an iWatch:

In a meeting in his office before he died, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and former chief executive, told John Markoff of The New York Times that if he had more energy, he would have liked to take on Detroit with an Apple car.

This isn't the first time we've heard about Jobs interest in making a car. Apple board member Mickey Drexler said Jobs' dream was to make an iCar.

While it would seem unlikely for Apple to make a car, wouldn't just automatically dismiss the idea. Two of Apple's most important executives are car guys.

is on the board of Ferrari.

Phil Schiller, who is in charge of marketing is all about cars. His Twitter bio is: Apple, Sports, Cars, Science, and Rock And Roll. He used to tweet photos of cars all the time.

With Google exploring self-driving cars, maybe somewhere down the road Apple decides to test a completely new market...

See also:

The iWatch Could Be The First Step In Apple's Plan To Kill The iPhone

Apple Considered Making A Car Before The iPhone, Says SVP Phil Schiller

steve jobs

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