Apple nears introduction of smartwatch, bigger iPhones
SAN FRANCISCO — When Apple wants to make a big splash, it returns to its history.
Thirty years ago at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts, a roomy auditorium in Cupertino, California, Steve Jobs introduced the original Macintosh. On Tuesday, Apple is set to come back to the center to unveil a set of long-anticipated products: two iPhones with larger screens, and a wearable computer that the media has nicknamed the iWatch.
The so-called smartwatch will be the first brand-new product unveiled under Apple’s new chief, Timothy D. Cook, who took the helm after Jobs died nearly three years ago.
It is expected to come in two sizes and combine functions like health and fitness monitoring with mobile computing tasks like displaying maps, said people knowledgeable about the product. It will have a unique, flexible screen and, like the new phones, will support technology that allows people to pay for things wirelessly.
“I believe it’s going to be historic,” said Tim Bajarin, a consumer technology analyst for Creative Strategies who attended the original Mac event in 1984. He added about the much-anticipated Apple watch: “The design of this product is all Tim’s fingerprints.”
With its first wearable computer, Apple will enter a growing market for fitness-tracking accessories and smartwatches filled with gadgets from Samsung Electronics, Fitbit and Nike. And with the two larger phones, the iPhone will fight back against Samsung, whose big-screen Galaxy smartphones have wrestled sales away from Apple over the past few years.
While the iPhones are expected to be released in the coming weeks, the watch is unlikely to be in stores until next year, several people said. The price of the new devices is not yet clear.
Apple, which is highly secretive, has not officially commented on any of the new products. But multiple employees for Apple and its partners who were briefed on the products shared some details on the condition that they not be identified.