NBA Players Are Testing The New iWatch

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While every tech company is excitedly sharing the details of their latest smartwatch, the sleeping giant Apple is taking its time and keeping its development process under wraps—including that NBA players are helping put their latest iWatch through the paces.

 
 

An unnamed Apple employee told 9toMac that athletes from various professional leagues have been tapped to help test the gadget’s fitness capabilities. Thus far, rumours have indicated that fitness monitors will constitute a large portion of the iWatch’s features, which may include some of the advanced sensors that Apple has been working on. These include biometric readers that measure hydration levels, blood pressure, sweat intensity and red blood cell count in addition to more common measurements such as calories burned, steps taken and heart rate.

Kobe Bryant may be one of the lucky fellows to be the first to get their hands (wrist?) on the smartwatch. He was spotted meeting with Apple’s design chief last month to talk about “upcoming products,” out of the blue. Coincidence? Probably not.

 
 

With iOS 8 slated to include Health—a unified fitness dashboard that collects a scary amount of data and will come as a pre-installed app on future devices—testing iWatch’s fitness capabilities is likely a big priority for the company. And let’s not forget Apple’s partnership with Nike. Kobe’s already on board with the brand, and it was recently announced that Cupertino will take the reins on the duo’s future fitness endeavours after the sports apparel company ditched its flagship FuelBand hardware.

The report states that athletes are giving prototypes a go in “intense training environments” to see how well they perform.

The iWatch’s final design is still far away from being revealed, but sources say that it will be marketed heavily as a fashion accessory as opposed to a gadget. As such, it’s expected to feature a rectangular face, which sounds like a far cry from the sleek, FuelBand-like concepts we’ve seen floating around on the internet. Additionally, we may be seeing men’s and women’s versions.

Previous rumours suggest several sizes will be available, which makes sense as not everyone has wrists the size of Kobe’s. The watches are expected to ship in a combination of 1.4-, 1.5- and 1.6-inch varieties. They are expected to be able to make phone calls independently of a phone and tap into Apple’s map and location-based apps, and will tether to iOS devices via Bluetooth. Interestingly, they are also expected to connect to one’s smarthome devices by wifi.

The iWatch may be going truly wireless. The gadget will be powered by a lithium ion battery, but the twist is that Apple has been rumoured to be investigating using magnetic induction (otherwise known as wireless charging) to replace traditional methods that use cables.

Finally, as far as a release date is concerned, strong reports claim that the watch is already on its way to mass production within the next few months, meaning it will likely be officially revealed at an Apple event in October (an event at which Apple has previous said it will reveal a “wearable product”). A new iPhone and iPad are also supposedly being shown.

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