The company is developing a smart watch that would run on the same iOS operating system that powers iPhones, iPads and some iPods, according to a report in The New York Times.
The watches would include a curved glass screen, according to the Times report, citing “people familiar with the company’s explorations.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Last year, Corning, which makes the Gorilla Glass used for iPads and iPhones, unveiled a thinner, more touch-sensitive version of their product that could make it easier to produce a watch with curves.
And, yes, assuming it includes chat-feature Facetime, Dick Tracy fans could actually live out those decades-old dreams of having a video-enabled Two-Way Wrist Radio.
What other features might such a watch have? Observers have speculated about monitoring of the wearer’s vital signs or turn-by-turn directions, spoken by Siri, Apple’s “voice assistant.”
Of course, such reports are no sure thing. Over the years, Apple has reportedly poked around into products ranging from cars to cameras without any commercially available product ever coming from it. An Apple TV has been in the rumor stages for years now, and while many observers still expect one to surface eventually, there have been no signs yet.
If the plans are indeed sincere, Apple may be taking a cue from the interest the market already has shown in such a product.
Pebble, a watch that uses Bluetooth technology to link up with the user’s smartphone, racked up a record $10.2 million on Kickstarter last year.
TikTok and LunaTik, two styles of a wrist-strap gadget that turns an iPod Nano into a smart watch, raked in another $942,000.
At least one analyst told the Times that the move makes sense, although it might be a while before an “iWatch” hits the shelves.
“Over the long term, wearable computing is inevitable for Apple; devices are diversifying, and the human body is a rich canvas for the computer,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester Research analyst who specializes in mobile technology.
“But I’m not sure how close we are to a new piece of Apple hardware that is worn on the body.”