Posts tagged iWatch

Apple Pay officially launched in the UK

Apple Pay CardsApple pay has today been officially launched for use in the UK and will be accepted at any store which currently accepts contactless payments.

The technology is currently only available on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus however owners of older models can use their iWatch (Apple Watch) to enable NFC payments along with touch ID.

According to apple pay’s UK website the service currently is only available to customers of AMEX, MBNA, Nationwide, Natwest, RBS, Santander and Ulster Bank however other banks on the Coming Soon list include Halifax, First Direct, HSBC, Lloyds, TSB, M&S Bank and Bank of Scotland.

Apple is also apparently trying to encourage merchants to accept and promote Apple Pay by enabling user feedback on the apple website, with a few refrences and links saying things such as “if you have trouble using Apple Pay in store, let us know”

Have you used Apple Pay yet? Did the cashier get confused when you tried to slap your phone or watch on her PDQ terminal? Let us know in the comments!

UPDATE: As of Tuesday 28th July Apple Pay now also supports First Direct and HSBC with Barclays reporting that support is “Imminent”

Apple developing products for HomeKit

HomeKit-iconRecent leaks suggest that Apple is working on a HomeKit standard for home automation with iOS 8.

Various details are surfacing about components and technological developments suggesting that apple is working on a number of devices linked with their new announcement of HomeKit. Some may wonder why Apple did not purchase Nest before Google did however it has been revealed that it is unlikely apple will go down the same route and may instead choose to follow different avenues of home automation similar to how Bose has created home audio systems.

The sources say that Apple is unlikely to move forward with devices to compete directly with Google’s Nest as the Cupertino-company feels it can build products that can gain usage wider than that of thermostats and smoke detectors. It is likely that Apple is building advanced speaker systems or control panels for homes, the sources say. It is possible that Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats Electronics and the audio company’s existing speaker systems play into this vision.

Apple is expected to expand its product portfolio later on this year with the iWatch and with the addition of HomeKit apple really is looking like it is getting ready to take over the world, technologically at least.

Apple to start its own Health & Fitness Platform

iwatch-concept-nikeApple is allegedly looking at doing more with the iWatch wearable device than first thought by creating a new health and fitness ecosystem modelled on its successful iOS App Store. Similar to the iOS App Store, this new platform may allow companies to develop their own mobile medical applications that could tie into Apple’s iWatch wearable device.

One mobile health executive, who asked not to be named, told Reuters he recently sat down with an Apple executive from the iWatch team. He said the company has aspirations beyond wearable devices, and is considering a full health and fitness services platform modelled on its apps store.

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Said to be launching as part of iOS 8 later this year, a new Healthbook app is expected to serve as a data-store for health-related information acquired from a variety of sensors on the watch such as resting heart rates, oxygen levels, distance & pace from GPS tracks of runs or activities and much more. Based on the vast amount of data the app appears to be able to track, it is unsurprising that Apple will be looking to open up the ecosystem to third parties to help users fill out all of the various content areas.

One company that could definitely benefit from an Apple health and fitness ecosystem is Nike, which has scaled back its own hardware development of the Fuelband to focus on expanding its software-based NikeFuel platform. Though Nike CEO Mark Parker would not directly comment on any specific plans with Apple, Parker did say in a recent interview that Apple is a long time partner and that he is “excited about where that relationship will go forward.”

Worldwide Developers Conference 2014

wwdc14The WorldWide Developers Conference or WWDC has been announced for the 2nd June 2014 in San francisco. At a glance WWDC 2014 will open its doors on the 2nd June with a keynote speech from Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. OS X 10.10 is overall the mostly likely focus of the event, but there are also a number of other possible topics, including the upcoming iOS 8 and the slight possibility of some new hardware however the new Apple TV and the iWatch are reportedly not yet ready for production.

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iOS 8

There is very little information currently available on any of the topics to be discussed at WWDC however a new operating system for mobile devices is almost a certainty. healthbookleakedscreenshotThe update is said to focus on refining the major visual updates that were introduced with iOS 7 and adding new functionality to the operating system, of which the biggest new feature seems to be the new HealthBook app which appears to track all sorts of biological information from heart rates to oxygen saturation and blood sugar, presumably there may also be some new hardware linked to this which will be required for some of the functionality. Rumours have also surfaced which suggest that Apple may be looking into the mobile payment industry with the use of TouchID verification when performing NFC enabled transactions at supported contactless outlets. iTunes Radio may be moved out of iTunes Music and into its own app with iOS 8. Apple is also said to be preparing a new song naming feature for iOS in partnership with Shazam who currently have an app in the app store which performs this task. Such a service would be built directly into iOS 8, integrating with apps and Siri to allow users to identify songs playing on the radio or via other sources.   [ad 1] Minor improvements to integrated features may also be included such as improvements to Siri by enabling an API style integration with third party apps and Maps getting the upgrade to include public transport directions have also been rumoured to be included in this update although as always, nothing has been confirmed.

OSX 10.10

There is even less information available on this subject than there is on iOS 8 however what we do expect is a lot of new features or possible a complete redesign as the last update (OSX Mavericks) introduced only a handful of features compared to previous releases. Hopefully apple wont make the same mistakes Microsoft did with Windows 8.0 and alienate a large number of their users by making the design “too” flat!

Unlikely Announcements

According to a recent interview with a source who has insider knowledge it seems we are unlikely to see a new Apple TV or the iWatch being launched this year.

Tim Cook will not use WWDC to unveil Apple’s mythical wearable device. Nor will he use it to show off a new Apple TV, or even preview the new software the company is developing for it. Which makes perfect sense, really. There’s little point in Apple unveiling a new OS in advance of a significant hardware update.

As always apple may be planning a big surprise and trying to catch everyone out but usually there are some inevitable leaks and this seems to be one of them, disappointing for all of us who are looking for a new SmartWatch with real style!

Apple in talks with health tracker company Basis

basisBasis the company behind the “worlds most advanced health tracker” has put itself up for sale and is currently in talks with all the major technological companies about a takeover. The companies interested include Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft.

The company’s goals seem to be in line with the ethos of Apple and on their website they say

When creating Basis, we dedicated ourselves to making the design as advanced as the technology inside. We knew if it was too complicated, or not beautiful enough to wear—it’d be useless. We pushed the limits of technology, without pushing the limits of what’s useful.

While it is currently unknown how much interest apple has in this hardware and weather there is currently an internal iWatch project is still unknown however one thing is for sure, this would certainly speed up the development process.

the current list of features on the Basis watch includes the ability to monitor health-related metrics such such as heart rate, sleep activity, movement, perspiration levels, and skin temperature using a new optical sensor. This would be the perfect hardware to integrate with the recent rumors of a “Health book” style app which is said to be included with iOS 8.

Over the past few months, Apple has also hired a number of health experts in fields related to heart rate monitoring and fitness tracking. Two executives from pulse-oximetry company Masimo joined Apple, which includes its former Chief Medical Officer. Other health-related hires have also been from C8 MediSensors, a company that develops non-invasive blood monitoring sensors.

Overall details on the whole iWatch project are scarce as there has been no official announcement on the topic, and this latest rumor doesn’t even have a ballpark figure for the takeover however we do have a quote from a reliable source saying that the bid would be “sub hundred million” wether this is actually the case with all the recent competition it yet to be seen.

The price we’ve heard for any possible activity is “sub-hundred million” which could mean a small return for investors like Norwest Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund and Intel Capital, who have poured over $30 million into the company.

It is still unknown when the latest iPhone will be released however it is most likely to be this Summer / Autumn along with a new version of IOS and if all goes to plan, a revolutionary iWatch.

Samsung S9110 - "The World's Slimmest Watchphone"

Samsung confirms its working on a SmartWatch

Samsung has confirmed that they are indeed working on a SmartWatch project which would be similar in concept to the Apple iWatch as we previously wrote about.

Samsung S9110 - "The World's Slimmest Watchphone"

Samsung S9110 – “The World’s Slimmest Watchphone”

We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, said during an interview in Seoul. “We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.”

Lee had no comment on what features the watch may have, how much it would cost and when it would go on sale.

Both watches are scheduled to be released later on this year and it appears as if the two rival companies will be going head to head on this one with both expected to be around a similar price mark.

Lots of rumours are flying around at the moment with two of the largest handset manufacturers now going head to head in a new market however it is generally thought that Samsung will be able to produce a cheaper device as the company own’s its own chip set and display manufacturing facilities which are thought to be two of the most expensive components inside a SmartWatch.

[ad 1]Apple has been quoted to currently have around 100 employees working on the SmartWatch project looking into features such as a curved glass screen, integrated bio-sensors such as pulse or temperature, and GPS mapping functionality. The watch is said to be running a full version of iOS rather than a stripped down version like on the iPod nano which means app development should be a lot better for this device.

Pebble smart-watch is due at the end of the month

The Pebble Kickstarter project which broke records when it was announce has finally set a date out for its official launch, the 23rd January 2013. The “Pebble” is a futuristic watch which connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0 and is capable of displaying texts, alerts and notifications on its low power consumption e-paper display along with features such as a magnetic compass and vibration on alerts.

pebble

The pebble has broken records before it was even officially started by generating a massive $10 million on the start up capital generating website KickStarter with contributions from over 85,000 separate individuals who are interested in investing in the product.

One of the main advantages of this watch over the competition is that is has an open API meaning that app developers can easily integrate their apps with this device and display information on the watch face relevant to the activity the app performs, for example a Nike+ running tracking app may display current pace and distance on the watch face, meaning you no longer have to fumble around in your pockets to look at your phone to see how far you have gone!

[ad 1]Pebble is actually compatible with iOS and android devices equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and iOS 5 and 6 however for most features iOS 6 is required. This is actually due to iOS 5 not allowing devices access to the text messaging system on the phones rather than a hardware issue, however with iOS6 apple granted Bluetooth devices access to the phones SMS alerts, along with anything else you may expect to find in the notification center of your device.

 

The product is said to currently be shipping to customers with a pre-order within 7-8 weeks after its official launch on the 23rd January, and then after that time it will be available to the general public.

Apple is rumoured to also be working on an iWatch which will be similar in appearance to the ipod nano when paired with the optional watch strap case.

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