Curved glass iPod-bangle in Apple labs tip insiders

Apple's engineers are experimenting with wearable devices, insiders claim, including a curved glass iPod intended to be worn on the wrist and controlled using Siri voice commands. The "very small group of Apple employees" are part of an industry-wide push for wearable tech, the NYTimes reports, using the now-ubiquitous smartphone as a data-crunching hub.

The relative size of the team Apple has working on the iPod-bangle project is probably an indicator that it's not high on the company's agenda for release. Still, the iPod nano has at least in part jumped the gap to become a legitimate "wearable" itself: with the latest model, Apple added a variety of user-selectable watch faces, meaning the iPod can be used with one of various third-party wrist straps as a timepiece replacement. It's not clear what wireless technology Apple might use, though the company did add Bluetooth 4.0 support (aka "Bluetooth Smart Ready") in its recent iPhone 4S.

There are also systems like ANT+ and Nike+ which use low-power wireless connections to join sensors such as pedometers to smartphones and PMPs. Garmin released an ANT+ compatible watch earlier this year, the FR70, which uses the wireless tech to track heart rate during exercise with a bundled sensor.

Apple has competition, however, with Google also working on its own wearables tech. The search giant's so-called X Labs employs programmers, engineers and others formerly of Microsoft, MIT and Nokia Labs and is working on the "internet of things" or an interconnected mesh of network-enabled gadgets, sensors, devices and more. They, sources claim, would be able to whisper back details to your Android smartphone.

[Image credit: Gopinath Prasana]