Did Tim Cook Announce an iWatch Voice Messaging Feature?

The rumors about Apple’s upcoming smartwatch abound and in early July a brand new one hit the proverbial mill: Steve Milunovich, analyst, USB, met up with Tim Cook, who hinted at an iWatch voice messaging feature. The encounter between the two took place behind closed doors, but was followed by a note sent by the analyst to the company’s investors and published in Fortune magazine. According to Milunovich, Apple CEO Tim Cook insisted on the importance of voice messages during their meeting. This, in turn, has led the analyst to surmise that the iWatch will come with a built-in voice messaging app. Here’s what he told Fortune after the meeting:

“When we visited with Tim Cook, he said that walking down streets in China one sees people speaking into their phones sending voice rather than text messages. Porting this capability to the watch makes sense as it is easier to send a voice message from a device already on the wrist than pulling out a phone. It also could aid penetration of China, which Cook said has a ways to go.”

What to expect from this alleged iWatch voice messaging feature

Prior to Milunovich’s statement, many had been wondering how Apple planned to integrate messaging into its upcoming smartwatch. After all, even though Apple is en route to expanding the screen real estate of its flagship smartphone, the iWatch will come with a small screen, in all likelihood. There has been talk of integrating Siri’s voice recognition abilities into the device – according to some reports, iWatch users will dictate voice messages to the device’s virtual assistant, see them transcribed, then sent them to their recipients of choice. However, the iOS 8 and Cook’s latest statements point in the direction of voice messaging taking precedence over text messaging.

The iOS8 comes with a new feature that seeks to encourage the use of voice messaging. There’s a microphone icon situated right next to the text box in the Messages app, on the right-hand side of the screen. Users can tap the icon, record and then send a brief voice message. And, in all likelihood, the smartwatch from Apple will run on a tailored version of the iOS 8.

iWatch release date still undisclosed

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Though there have been plenty of rumors, reports, and speculations regarding the release of Apple’s upcoming device, its release date remains unknown as of yet. Some reports talk of an October launch date and also inform that the company will soon start production of the device. Japanese site Nikkei cited sources close to the company in early June, announcing Apple’s plans for a special launch event.

“People familiar with Apple’s plans tell Code/red the company hopes to schedule a special event that month to show off the device, which is designed to make good use of the HealthKit health and fitness information-gathering app it recently showed off at WWDC. Could things change between now and fall? That’s certainly possible. But right now October is the target date.”

Many other details regarding the iWatch remain unknown, too. Nikkei also reports that the device will feature a curved OLED touchscreen. Since Apple’s plan with the smartwatch is to target health-conscious consumers, it’s highly likely that that it will include numerous sensors for health and fitness purposes. It’s going to be able to track the number of calories a user consumes in a single day, sleeping patterns, the level of oxygen in one’s blood, and, of course, physical activity. Aside from voice messaging, the device will likely also integrate another iOS 8-specific app: the Health app. Reports also state that the iWatch will come in different sizes and colors, as well as with various price tags.