Wearable computing seems to be the in thing these days. With Google and Valve already working on their own versions of the tech, it looks like Apple will be following suit. According to ZDNET, Pipe Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicts that the Cupertino-based company may be the among those who bring wearable computing to the masses.

The analyst states that while unsure about the timing for launch, Apple will eventually make some sort of wearable computer. An iOS-based smartwatch may be a part of this shift to wearable computing. The company could also expand its MFi programme, which allows hardware manufacturers to make products that connect to iOS devices.

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Munster said, “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, etc. through voice control.” He also noted that in the long term, screens in glasses or projectors could replace the necessity of a screen from a smartphone or tablet. Ultimately, the technology might end up becoming cheaper than an iPhone.

Apple is supposedly developing a smartwatch that connects Apple devices to it via Bluetooth. The company is purported to have partnered with Intel to develop a smart watch that has a 1.5-inch PMOLED display made by RiTDisplay with ITO-coated glass.

The iOS watch is to be Bluetooth-powered and will connect all your iOS devices to it. The ‘iWatch’ will be built in tandem with Intel, which gives rise to speculation that this rumour may be completely or partially untrue. Apple has been using ARM microchips in all their current iOS devices and partnering with Intel for this one just sticks out like a sore thumb.

Apple’s iPod Nano has somewhat of a foothold in the watch segment as it doubles up nicely as a watch when attached to a wrist band. The Nano shows the time and can obviously play music as well, while keeping time of your workout sessions, a function it is most used for. The 2012 version of the Nano was comparatively large, though, and couldn’t be used as a wristwatch anymore.

But its not just Apple thinking about smart watches. Back in 2011, James Brooks Miller and Richard Carl Gossweiler III filed a patent on behalf of Google for a smart watch. In October, the patent was finally approved for Google, and the company could now attempt to make its own smart watch, much in the vein of Sony’s SmartWatch. Going by the description of the device on the patent filing, it would sport two screens, one at the top and one that you get when you flip open the top.

The Google patent reads, “A smart-watch can include a wristband, a base, and a flip up portion. The base can be coupled to the wristband and include a housing, a processor, a wireless transceiver, and a tactile user interface. The wireless transceiver can be configured to connect to a wireless network. The tactile user interface can be configured to provide interaction between a user and the smart-watch. The flip up portion can be displaceable between an open position exposing the base and a closed position concealing the base. Further, the flip up portion can include: a top display exposed when the flip up portion is in the closed position, and an inside display opposite the top display. The inside display can be concealed when the flip up portion is in the closed position and be exposed when the flip up portion is in the open position”. More details about the patent are available here.

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