Buyers looking for a new smartwatch have one more reason to ignore everything else and hold out for Apple’s iWatch, Barrons reports. In addition to rumored sensors that will be able to measure various health-related parameters, the iWatch may also pack an ultraviolet light sensor from Silicon Labs, according to a note to investors from Barclays’s chip analyst Blayne Curtis.
“Silicon Labs recently announced a family of products featuring the industry’s first digital ultraviolet index sensors,” Curtis said. “These chips measure UV exposure to aid those with elevated risk of sunburn or just a general concern about excessive sun exposure, and we believe they may be of appealing to OEMs looking to differentiate in a crowded market.”
The device may also feature functionality similar to the SunSprite, which helps wearers ensure that they get enough exposure to bright sunlight each day.
Barclays says that Silicon Labs could cash in $2 million to $4 million in case it’s sensor will indeed be used by Apple, assuming the company ships between five million and 10 million devices. A recent report from Digitimes revealed that Apple may launch the iWatch at some point in the third quarter, ordering as many as 65 million units for 2014 from suppliers.
UV exposure is not the only thing the sensor can measure, Silicon Labs revealed in its press release in mid February. The chip can also track heart rate, pulse and blood oximetry, and can “provide proximity/gesture control for smartphone and wearable computing products.” Silicon Labs’ chips are just 2x2mm and can also offer ambient light and infrared proximity sensing features.
As for UV tracking, the chip would constantly measure UV light to warn users “before they have reached unhealthy exposure levels while exercising outdoors.”