updated 08:25 am EST, Mon December 19, 2011
Apple and Google work on iOS and Android wearables
Both Apple and Google are working on wearable devices that would be be companions to or even replacements for their smartphone platforms. Leaks from inside Apple claimed to the New York Times that a "very small group" of those on its campus were using prototypes that could send information back to an iPhone or other device. One of the more exotic ideas was a supposed curved-glass iPod that would use Siri for some of its commands.
Google, meanwhile, was reportedly using its Google X labs to develop worn devices that would send information back to an Android device. The company had supposedly hired from Apple, Nokia's researchers, and directly from universities to get those experienced in wearable computing.
The concept of wearable technology, including companion devices, not only isn't new but is already shipping. The long-delayed InPulse watch just recently began shipping, while Sony Ericsson has been on the market for some time with its LiveView companion. None of them have been directly made by the OS developer, however, and wouldn't necessarily be as tightly integrated as Apple or Google could make.
A wearable iPod for Apple would be an extension of an unintentional product path. Starting from the sixth-generation iPod nano, the small size and clip has led some to treat it as a watch, with a burgeoning if still small accessory market catering to dedicated wristbands and Apple itself adding clock faces. Adding Siri would go beyond this, since it would require the device have a 3G or 4G connection to always have Siri available.