With hardware getting smaller and sensor technology proliferating, many companies are looking toward wearable computers, and Apple is rumored to be testing a "smart" wristwach-like device. It is expected that it would have some familiar functions, such as Passbook payment software, and integrate with the iPhone and iPad.
In particular, Taiwan-based tech manufacturer Foxconn has been working to make displays more power-efficient and working with chip manufacturers to strip down their products. The technologies are aimed at multiple Foxconn customers, a source told the New York Times. Display manufacturer Corning Glass Technologies, which makes the iPhone's Gorilla Glass, showcased its flexible display technology last year. Pete Bocko, Corning's CTO, told the Times that the technology could be adapted for wristwatch application.
The rumored "iWatch" wouldn't be Apple's first attempt at a wristwatch device — the sixth-generation iPod Nano was roughly the size of the face of a wristwatch, and Apple treated it as such, selling watch bands for the device online. That Nano iteration even had an analog clock face setting for when it wasn't in use. But Apple abandoned the idea, opting instead for a larger display on later Nano models.
Other companies are also moving into the wearable tech market, including Nike with its activity monitor and Google with its digital glasses. Microsoft even unveiled a smart watch concept at the 2003 Consumer Electronics Show that a few watchmakers attempted unsuccessfully to sell.