Apple roundup: Wireless/solar charging, health apps, CDN, AT&T plan

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

The NYT reports Apple (AAPL - unchanged) has been testing the use of wireless (inductive) charging for the iWatch. Apple has also reportedly considered adding "a solar-charging layer" to the iWatch's display, and experimented with motion-based charging that relies on arm movement to generate power.

A handful of smartphones already support inductive charging, and so does Qualcomm's proof-of-concept Toq smartwatch. With watch owners accustomed to rarely needing to replace their batteries, long battery life is bound to be an iWatch R&D priority for Apple. Samsung's Galaxy Gear has often been criticized for offering (on average) only a day of use per charge.

9to5 Mac has reported iOS 8 will feature a Healthbook app that (likely with the help of Apple's M7 motion co-processor and various sensors) will be able to track a user's blood pressure, hydration, and heart rate, as well as monitor fitness stats such as steps taken and calories burned.

The report coincides with one from the NYT stating Apple execs have met with FDA directors to "discuss mobile medical applications." Both reports follow Apple's hiring of medical/fitness experts, and amid expectations the iWatch will offer a variety of health/fitness features.

Apple is reportedly building a content delivery network (CDN) to support app/content downloads. The company has thus far relied on 3rd-party CDNs such as Akamai and Level 3 to handle its surging data traffic load. It's worth noting Apple has set an FY14 capex budget of $11B (+57% Y/Y).

AT&T is making a fresh attempt to lower its phone subsidy expenses (previous) by offering cheaper family plans for users who forgo traditional subsidies. Tim Cook mentioned on the FQ1 CC carrier attempts to lower subsidized upgrades pressured North American iPhone sales.

Shares are outperforming on an ugly day for equities, and tech stocks in particular.