Apple had quietly acquired Passif, a power efficient semiconductor company located in California, in a move that could help the iPhone-maker move into the smartwatch space with its much anticipated iWatch debut. The power efficiency of Passif could help Apple develop a smartwatch, either as a standalone product or more likely one that connects into Apple’s robust ecosystem of iPhone and iPad devices, with long enough battery life for the wearable computing technology to be useful to consumers.
Details of the deal were not disclosed, but was reported by Jessica Lessin, a former reporter of the Wall Street Journal, on her personal blog.
One of Passif’s projects include a low powered radio that works with the Bluetooth Low Energy, or Bluetooth LE, protocol of Bluetooth 4.0.
Potentially, Passif could deliver the necessary components for Apple to launch the iWatch. The company had filed for trademarks for the iWatch name in a number of countries.
Though it’s believed that iWatch could launch as early as this fall when Apple debuts its new iDevice lineup, which is scheduled to include the iPhone 5S, iPod Touch, iPhone 5C, as well as new iPad and iPad mini models, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo speculates that such an announcement won’t happen until late 2014. Apple rival Samsung could deliver its competing Galaxy Watch as early as next month.
Other recent moves that Apple had made that may be related to the iWatch include hiring the head designer for fashion house Yves St. Laurent as well as hiring people with medical sensor knowledge, which could suggest that Apple is eyeing embedded sensors for health purposes, like pulse and heart rate.
Apple is also rumored to have dedicated at least a 100-person team for the development of the iWatch.