CUPERTINO (CBS / AP) — Apple is poised to reveal its next big thing in a crucial attempt to prove its technological tastemakers still have the power to mesmerize the masses.
The trend-setting company is expected to rouse the still-slumbering market for wearable computers with a smartwatch or bracelet equipped to monitor health, help manage homes and even buy merchandise.
Apple is a late arrival to this relatively new niche: several other companies already sell smartwatches that are being greeted with widespread indifference.
If any company can transform the landscape, it’s likely to be Apple Inc. after the company shifted the direction of digital technology with the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Other MP3 music players, smartphones and tablet computers were first to market, but the devices didn’t enthrall consumers until Apple imbued them with a sense of elegance, convenience and wizardry.
“It means more to us to get it right than to be first,” Apple CEO Tim Cook explained to analysts earlier this year.
Apple is likely to provide the first peek at its wearable device at a Tuesday event in the same Silicon Valley auditorium where Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, unveiled the industry-shifting Mac computer 25 years ago.
Rumors have been swirling that U2, one of Jobs’ favorite musical groups, will perform live to promote its new album, as well as Apple’s latest gadgetry, which is likely to include an iPhone with a larger screen.
As usual, Apple hasn’t said what’s on tap, though the company’s top executives have repeatedly promised major breakthroughs without providing any details.
“The location suggests this will be a historic event and the historic aspect will be their movement into a new category,” predicted technology analyst and longtime Apple watcher Tim Bajarin.