Apple released a new earning report last week, and everything seems pretty normal. But our friends over at Statista noticed that Apple reported a R&D intensity–the ratio between the company’s revenue and R&D expenditure–of 4.28%, the highest in 8 years for the company. Interestingly, the last time Apple hit a R&D intensity of more than 4% was back in 2006, right before it launched the revolutionary iPhone. If anything, this statistic firmly points to a new product line extension, most likely the impending launch of Apple wearable. Beacon technology and DRM are among other likely candidates that cut into Apple’s research fund, but recent reports seem all but confirmed that Apple is betting big on iWatch. Would the wearable market blow up like the tablet market did when Apple introduced iPad? The big spender seems pretty confident on that.
Apple has reportedly poached an sales executive from luxury watch brand Tag Heuer to help its upcoming launch of iWatch, which is rumored to be set for an October release. While Google is getting a head start over Apple in the smartwatch race, this move seems to indicate Apple’s intention to capture the high-end of the nascent wearable market by combining the sleek, elevated product design they are known for with its beloved iOS-exclusive app. Whether this positioning of iWatch as a premium device would work out for Apple remains to be seen, but with Apple in the ring, we sure are in for a real smartwatch battle later in the year.
As hardware companies begin to jump onto the smartwatch trend, it’s only a matter of time until Apple launches its own. Consistent with Apple’s traditional emphasis on elevated product design, it appears the hardware giant has begun tackling a major pain point of wearable tech: power. A new report from the New York Times reveals that wireless induction charging, and methods for incorporating solar panels into displays, are in the testing phase for eventual inclusion in an Apple wearable. These technologies are unlikely to be included in an Apple smartwatch, should it be released later this year, but they address a major concern for wearable tech, and could make widespread adoption of smartwatches a closer reality upon their implementation.
The Lab is heading down the rumor mill along with the tech community after the NYT reported that Apple is developing a smart watch. The watch will likely feature all of Apple’s flagship services like Siri, apps and integrate with other Apple products. What’s interesting is that the Apple sources feel that form factor will be the biggest differentiator as they experiment with curved glass that fits to the wrist. If the rumors are true, Apple would leapfrog any competitors in the wearable computing market and dwarf the just released Pebble watch.