The smartwatch concept has gained a lot of traction lately and many manufacturers seem to have taken a real interest in this market segment. The consumer interest in smartwatches (and wearable tech in general) is definitely on the rise and companies both large and small are working diligently, trying to come up with new, innovative products. The Pebble is a prime example that – if done right – a smartwatch can earn a pretty large fan base. Meanwhile, Sony has announced its second-generation SmartWatch, which is expected to go on sale within the next few months. There are also rumors hinting that Samsung is working on its own product and that Motorola may be tinkering with a second-generation MOTOACTIV – or something along those lines.
Among the sea of leaks and rumors resides a myriad of speculations concerning Apple’s plans on joining this market segment. Since the beginning of the year, a constant flow of rumors regarding the so-called “iWatch” has been coming our way. Today, we discuss some of these latest reports and try to get a glimpse at what the future may hold for us.
Apple iWatch – Trademarking The Brand
The first reports concerning Apple’s plans on releasing a smartwatch surfaced back in February 2013. However, the first real bits of concrete evidence that Apple is actually considering building the iWatch emerged in June, when the Cupertino-based company registered the “iWatch” trademark in Russia. During the same time-frame, Apple reportedly filed for similar trademarks in Mexico, Japan and Taiwan.
The trademarking campaign continued for weeks, but last month reports indicated that Apple may face some difficulties in obtaining the rights for the moniker in certain regions, including the U.S., U.K. and China. Apparently, a company called OMG Electronics already owns exclusive rights to the “iWatch” name in the U.S. In China, both “iWatch” and “iWatching” have been trademarked as well, while in the U.K., a company named Probendi has already filed for exclusivity over the “iWatch” moniker.
Apple iWatch – More Hints
Although the iWatch is still shrouded in a very thick layer of mystery, there’s no denial that Apple is brewing something. If the fact that the company intends on trademarking the name hasn’t convinced some of the more skeptical people out there, then Steve Wozniak’s own words may just do the trick.
Apple’s co-founder has recently discussed the future of Apple in Mexico City. Wozniak has shared many interesting ideas, such as the fact that Apple is still an innovative company but a revolution cannot happen every year. He then stated that Apple is in a “waiting period, waiting for the next big direction.”
More to the point, the company’s co-founder has also hinted at Apple’s plans to launch a smartwatch. Although he hasn’t mentioned the name itself, his message was pretty clear:
“I think, oh my gosh, I just wish I had the old iPhone right here on my wrist and I wish I could ask it questions like a new Siri or tell it to play certain music.”
The iWatch Conundrum
Although Apple’s trademarking campaign has somewhat reassured us that the iWatch is in the works, that doesn’t imply that the product is ready to go into mass production. In fact, Apple has worked on many other wearable devices in the past, all of which have been pretty much abandoned.
Fortunately, this does not appear to be the case with the iWatch. Although previous reports have indicated that the company is facing serious engineering difficulties with the device, it also appears that Apple is ready to invest a fairly large sum of money on this project.
Not only has Apple been on the lookout for new engineers and designers, more recent reports have indicated that Tim Cook is putting together a team of high-profile experts from various fields, including biotech engineers, fitness experts and former execs. According to these reports, Cook is gathering experts who worked on the first iPhone and people who have been involved in the creation of MacBook Air’s battery. The entire iWatch project is reportedly led by Bob Mansfield.
Apple iWatch – Availability Rumors
According to older reports, Glen Yeung of Citigroup has previously told some of his clients that supply chains were waiting for Apple to give the green light for the production of iWatch parts. Allegedly, the decision was to have been made in June.
But given the aforementioned engineering difficulties that Apple is facing, more recent rumors have suggested that the iWatch might not be ready to hit the market before late 2014.
Still, given that Apple has started investing serious money and manpower in this project, that projection may well be off the mark.
Needless to say, it remains unclear whether or not Apple will manage to launch the iWatch by the end of this year, but given that the company is well known for its habit of taking its time with new products, the odds probably do favor a 2014 launch.
What are your thoughts concerning the iWatch and what features would you like to see? Do you think Apple will be able and launch this gadget this year? Let us know in the comments section.