Reports: Apple testing curved glass, iOS-powered smart watch

Apple(s AAPL) is reportedly exploring different types of designs of smart watches, both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. The descriptions of the potential product vary slightly: The WSJ says the company is experimenting with “a watch-like device that would perform some functions of a smartphone.” The NYT says Apple is looking at “wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass.”

The watch would run the same iOS platform as the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, according to the Times‘ report. The Journal adds that Apple has talked with its chief manufacturing partner, Foxconn, about manufacturing the device.

Last week, one of the original human interface designers at Apple, Bruce Tognazzini, wrote a detailed post on his personal blog about what he imagined Apple could do with an “iWatch.” He no longer works at Apple, and said he had no knowledge of what Apple’s designers may actually be working on now. Among other things, he pointed out that Apple has been testing and has patented a method of producing curved glass displays.

These latest reports aren’t the first that such a watch or device is under consideration inside Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters. It’s important to note that Apple testing or experimenting with a device is a long ways from it being an actual product. But as wearable computing becomes more mainstream — it’s expected by a $1.5 billion business by next year — it makes sense that a wearable, iOS-based device is something Apple would want to at least explore, especially as the market for iPhones continues to mature.