According to the New York Time’s Nick Bilton, Apple has reportedly spent the last year developing and testing wearable devices that will augment and extend the functionality of smartphones.
The prototyped wearable device would send and receive data from your smartphone. In this senario, the smartphone could stay behind the scenes and users would interact primarily with these wearable peripherals.
A person with knowledge of the company’s plans told me that a “very small group of Apple employees” had been conceptualizing and even prototyping some wearable devices. [...] Apple has also experimented with prototype products that could relay information back to the iPhone. These conceptual products could also display information on other Apple devices, like an iPod, which Apple is already encouraging us to wear on our wrists by selling Nanos with watch faces.
One prototyped device is described as a “curved-glass iPod” that wraps around the wrist and responds to commands using Siri. Bluetooth 4.0 increases the possibility of such a device. Whereas Bluetooth 2.0 can take up to six-seconds to pair, Bluetooth 4.0 does the task in six-milliseconds. It also offers the convenience of an extremely low-power and low-latency wireless transfer.
A year ago, Apple hired wearable computer expert Richard DeVaul. He is believed to be developing prototypes under the guidance of Jonathan Ive. However, he only lasted 18 months at Apple before moving on to Google where he is presumably working on similar projects. There’s no timeframe for this next step in smartphone evolution.