Apple iWatch to come in two sizes, analyst claims

Apple's "iWatch" will come with OLED displays in two sizes, for men and women, according to an analyst who specializes in the Asian display market. So far, there's no indication that the colors will be blue or pink.

The iWatch will be available separately for men and women, with a 1.7-inch screen for the former and 1.3-inch screen for the latter, according to David Hsieh, a vice president with NPD DisplaySearch, speaking at a conference this week in Taiwan. He told the audience that his information was from "Apple sources," according to the Korea Herald story that reported his remarks Tuesday.

[iPHONE 6:Rumor roundup for week ending Nov. 8]

The unannounced-but-widely-expected iWatch is supposed to be a new product category that of "wearable computer" from Apple. Other companies have been trying to find something more than a niche in a market that doesn't quite exist. Samsung's recently unveiled Galaxy Gear watch generally has met with at best tepid reviews. Nike's more specialized FuelBand is a wrist-worn device for tracking a variety of workout activities.

In terms of wearables, much has been made of general comments by Apple CEO Tim Cook in May at the AllThingsD conference, when he was asked about the market's potential.

"There are lots of gadgets in this space right now, but there's nothing great out there," Cook said. "But none of them are going to convince a kid that hasn't worn glasses or a band to wear one. ... There are a lot of problems to solve in this space. ... It's ripe for exploration. I think there will be tons of companies playing in this space."

Asked whether Apple will be one of those exploring companies, Cook only said "I see [wearables] as a very key branch of the tree." He said that while Google Glass, a computer and display shaped like a pair of sunglasses, was interesting, "I think from a mainstream point of view [glasses as wearable computing devices] are difficult to see. I think the wrist is interesting. The wrist is natural."

The Korea Herald story also implied that Apple's focus on wearables has caused the company to sideline its long-rumored-but-never-confirmed work on an Apple TV. The basis for that is a quote by another DisplaySearch executive, Paul Gagnon, who didn't quite say that: "It appears that Apple's long-rumored TV plans, which were far from concrete anyway, have been put on hold again, possibly to be replaced by a rollout of wearable devices."

The Herald summed up a variety of iWatch rumors and inferences drawn from Apple patents or patent applications: that iWatch will be "lighter and more energy-efficient than its rivals," make use of a low-energy Bluetooth radio, and include "biometric sensors that can collect health management information."

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwEmail: john_cox@nww.com

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