Welcome to another And Finally, where we round up the whispers, conjectures, and the down-right unsubstantiated of the week.
But elsewhere, there’s signs that the wearable tech world – and its drive towards health and wellbeing – is marching on. Here’s what you might have missed.
Apple to launch AR headset in 2020
Apple’s long been mooted to be getting into the AR specs game – and a new report (via 9to5Mac) suggests we might not have to wait much longer. The Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has stated that production of the headset could start late this year, and go on sale in early 2020.
So what will the specs do? There’s no real detail but Ming-Chi Kuo compares functionality to that of the Apple Watch – putting information in front of your eyes, with the iPhone doing the heavy lifting. A 2019 unveiling with a 2020 on-sale date fits into timelines from other snippets of information over the past few years, with rumours of AR glasses from Apple going back as far as 2016.
LG to slim smartwatches with speaker screen tech
LG has filed for a new trademark for a “Display Speaker” – the name for its Crystal Sound OLED tech, which debuted on the G8 ThinQ smartphone, which looks certain to come to future smartwatches.
The trademark has been dug up by Dutch site LetsGoDigital, for the OLED display technology which can amplify sound, essentially turning the screen into a speaker. But the trademark describes the use case being applied to watches as well as smartphones, which is why it’s piqued our interest.
But why on earth would a vibrating screen be beneficial? Well, in a smartwatch space is at a serious premium, which is why we don’t have connected timepieces which look like standard, dumb watches just yet. If LG could save the space of adding a speaker, there’s a chance it could shave off some crucial mm.
Don’t forget to check out our guide to the best smartwatches money can buy in 2019, including Fitbit’s budget Versa Lite Edition.
watchOS 6 imagined
Rendering potential products is a harmless bit of fun – but software revisions? Well, that hasn’t stopped Matt Birchler rendering what he thinks watchOS 6 might offer up, and while inherently a pointless exercise, it provides us Apple Watch nerds an interesting way to debate about what we’d like to see.
So what’s Birchler dreamed up for his renderings? Well grid systems for the dock to take advantage of the larger 44mm screen – which we could see working, although the data presented here seems ambitious. He’s worked up what a sleep tracking ring may look like, which Apple has tipped could make an appearance in 2020 (although it’s will never, ever be labelled ‘Snoozles’).
Take a look through his work – and don’t forget to check out our musings on what the Apple Watch Series 5 could hold. And when will we see watchOS 6. Well, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear about it at WWDC this June.
Samsung Health partners with Calm
Samsung Health and Calm – the mindfulness and mental health app – have teamed up, with the Korean smartwatch and smartphone giant offering Calm as part of its digital health offering. Calm offers audio-based guided sessions designed to reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia – it’s already garnered a $1bn valuation. VentureBeat reports that Samsung is offering users the chance to sign up to the $5 per month program straight through Samsung Health – and control sessions via their Galaxy smartwatch.
Check out our guide to how wearables are taking the fight to mindfulness and mental health issues – and if you’re looking to get Calm, check out our review of the all-new Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.
bPay pain as service struggles
Wearable payments brand bPay – from Barclays – looks to be getting a rebrand. Bloomberg is reporting the service will be rolled together with Pingit – some kind of peer to peer payments system that we’ve never heard of. bPay was designed to be a wearable payment service, and came with an unsightly, dedicated wristband – and Bloomberg reports that it’s “struggled to attract users.”
bPay launched in 2014, and was a precursor for the technology that’s widely available now. Most smartwatches have NFC technology for Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, Garmin Pay, Fitbit Pay – whatever Pay you like. And that’s ended up being a pay-n in the neck for bPay.
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