Apple’s iWatch to Launch with Multiple Models, Sensors this Fall

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Apple's rumored smartwatch will launch in October, and will be available in multiple sizes and models. That's according to insider sources claiming to be privy to the iPhone and iPad maker's plans.

Those sources said the iWatch will include more than ten built-in sensors for tracking health and fitness, according to the Wall Street Journal. That's in line with previous reports claiming Apple's wrist top device will include health tracking gear, and makes for a nice pairing with the HealthKit features built into this fall's iOS 8 release.

Apple showed off iOS 8 during it annual Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this month. The new version of the iPhone and iPad operating system will include a unified interface for monitoring health and fitness tracking devices, an interface for managing home automation gear, the ability to jump from device to device and continue to work on a single document, and more.

A report from yesterday backed up the October launch time frame and added the device will sport a 2.5-inch curved display. Along with health and fitness tracking, the those sources claimed the iWatch would also display notifications when users have incoming phone calls, text messages and email messages.

As if there aren't enough iWatch rumors already, G4 Games said the device was ready to go, but manufacturing has apparently delayed while awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. That report lists blood pressure, heart rate, and blood glucose sensors to offer far more detailed information than other health and fitness trackers.

Assuming Apple is waiting on FDA approval, the iWatch will be more than a casual step tracker and heart rate monitor. The FDA approval process can be time consuming, and submitting the device to the agency implies Apple expects it to be used as medical device with highly accurate readings.

Apple isn't talking about what it has planned for the wearable fitness market, but the rumors have become consistent enough to imply that it includes a wrist-top system shipping in October. Companies like Samsung have been hoping to take the market before Apple ships, but so far haven't been able to produce compelling products or lock in customers.

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An October iWatch launch is looking more believable every day, and at this point it seems all but confirmed. What we don't know is exactly what form the device will take, how much it will cost, and what sizes it will be available in.

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The FDA approval bit, if it happens, is not to be underestimated as a market differentiator and, not unlike 64-bit processing in a handheld device, will literally blow the competition out of the water and onto the beach. In pieces.

Having participating in a number of licensing clinical trials, the outcome of which is sent to the US FDA for approval, this is neither a mean feat nor a simple step, and comes down to extensive documentation of proven benefit for the end user, or performance as indicated, without substantial or even statistically significant risk, or however defined ‘unacceptable risk’ to the end user.

It will permit Apple, and their third party developers, to make specific but authoritative claims as to the benefits, limitations and risks of their device and supported apps for clients, and provide a competitive edge as a medical platform for clinical-related health apps.

This will simply place the device head and shoulders above the competition as a platform for such apps and services, and make it the de facto choice for health professionals, and likely the professional fitness industry.

Pay attention to this space, if confirmed. It will alter the game entirely.

Jeff Gamet

I’m with you, wab95. Gaining FDA approval could be huge for Apple. Growing up with an FDA investigator in the family I know just how stringent the process can be and what a big deal it is for companies that manage to get that coveted approval.

Apple disrupted the music industry, the tablet market and the smartphone market. Disrupting the health market would be a huge thing for the company and consumers.


IMO, FDA approval is a double-edged sword. On the plus side, it will create some pretty tough barriers to entry for competitors. This won’t become another iOS vs. Android battle if the FDA gets into the equation. But that’s going to make it that much harder for Apple to put newer features into subsequent versions. Also, it’s going to be harder to keep the information under wraps because FDA is a federal government agency. My gut feeling is that Apple will try to avoid features that will require FDA approval.

Another thing that’s not clear to me is the upgrade cycle. People upgrade their smartphones every 1-2 years. I don’t know if people are going to do the same with watches. Are they going to buy a new watch every year?

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