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Intel could score a win with rumored Apple wrist watch

Reports that Apple (AAPL) is preparing to launch a Bluetooth wrist watch picked up steam over the weekend, as sources in Cupertino and Taiwan both spoke to the U.S. press about work on wearable smart devices. The Apple smart watch rumor surfaced in December when a Chinese news source reported that Apple was working on such a device with Intel (INTC).

A win with an Apple mobile device would be a coup for the world’s largest chipmaker. Intel started supplying chipsets for Apple’s Macintosh computers about 7 years ago, but Apple has relied on ARM-based technology for the iPhone and iPad. Now ARM and Intel are in a race to create the world’s smallest mobile processor, with Intel promising a 22nm chip this year, and ARM aiming for 14nm in a partnership with IBM (IBM).

Corning (GLW) could be another beneficiary of an Apple wristwatch. The company’s bendable Willow Glass is a logical choice for a smart watch, and Corning already has a relationship with Apple as the glass supplier for the iPhone.

Apple is not commenting on the wristwatch reports, but there are several reasons to think they hold credence. Building out the iOS ecosystem creates “stickiness” for the iPhone and iPad — an iPhone user is much less likely to switch to Android or Windows if s/he’s invested in a smart watch that talks to the phone. The iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 are both Bluetooth 4.0-enabled, as are the iPad and the iPad mini.

Consumer interest in smart watches also makes the product a logical one for Apple. The company’s Silicon Valley neighbor Pebble has raised more than $10 million on Kickstarter to produce a smart watch, which is currently in production. That device connects to both iOS and Android devices.

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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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