Editors' note: This piece was first published on April 18, 2013, and will be updated periodically.
The rising popularity of wearable tech has led to several rumors speculating that Apple will soon launch its own smartwatch. Presumably called the iWatch, the device will be one of many smartwatches launched by other mobile tech companies, such as Samsung's Galaxy Gear, Sony's Smartwatch 2, and even ZTE's BlueWatch. From bendable glass to an OLED screen, we gather all the dish on Apple's iWatch here in this roundup.
The story thus far
In general, talk about the Apple iWatch has been all over the map. However, we've seen some of the same hunches pop up again and again. For instance, the iWatch moniker has been steadily used as the potential product name, and Apple has been trademarking the label in several countries. (Of course, that could just mean that company is protecting itself in case someone else wants to use that product name.)
In addition, though we've heard much speculation on the watch's screen size, none of them have ever exceeded 1.5 inches diagonally. LG has also been mentioned several times as the manufacturer likely to build the display.
When will we see it?
Unlike speculations of flagship phones, the Apple iWatch doesn't have a predecessor we can deduce a time frame from. It's important to keep in mind that we may never see an iWatch at all, and that Apple may have no interest in developing a smartwatch. That being said, if it were to officially announce such a device, we could hear about it during the company's annual World Wide Developers Conference in June, or perhaps during the next iPhone unveiling, which may happen in either September or October.
April 8, 2014
MacRumors, pulling from a deluge of new iWatch rumors initially speculated in the Taiwanese-based publication, Economic Daily News, reported that the smartwatch might see the light of day come the later part of this year in Q3. Supposedly, the device will be created by Quanta Computer, Richtek technology will be leading the hardware chips, TPK will manufacture the sapphire touch panels for the watch's display, and Samsung has been tapped to supply the processor. Hey, it takes a village, right?
February 6, 2014
Now Hiring: User Studies Exercise Physiologist? So says a recent job posting by Apple, which 9to5Mac got wind of. The post outlines that Apple is looking to run user studies related to "cardiovascular fitness and energy expenditure." The post, which since has been taken down, also says candidates will need to apply "relevant knowledge to the design of products," so a fitness tracker/smartwatch may be in the cards. And remember, if you're ever asked: Always take the blue pill.
February 5, 2014
Ex-Philips Research employee Roy J.E.M. Raymann has supposedly been hired by Apple as an "expert on sleep research." According to 9to5Mac, Raymann may help develop body tracking capabilities for the iWatch. In addition, his LinkedIn page reports that he earned a Ph.D. in the "interaction between sleep and thermoregulation." That sounds pretty intense consid--zZZzZzz...
February 4, 2014
Back in October, an analyst estimated that the iWatch will only do okay, and that Apple will move about 5 to 10 million units. More recently however, Katy Huberty from Morgan Stanley predicted that the smartwatch will do much better than that. In an investors' note, Huberty said the iWatch will generate upwards of $17.5 billion in revenue for Apple in the first year. Now that's a lot of dough.
February 2, 2014
The new iWatch might not be charged by a regular ole' battery. At least, that's what The New York Times is speculating. Apparently, Apple is looking into alternative ways to power up the device, including solar power, magnetic induction (with a wireless charging plate), or even kinetic energy from a user's arm movements, which Apple patented a technology for in 2009.
January 20, 2014
Back in October 2013, there were rumors Apple tapped LG to be the secondary supplier for the iWatch's display. However, G for Games is now speculating that LG has finalized its partnership with Apple and is going to manufacture a 1.52-inch OLED display for the device, with production to begin sometime in late 2014.
Apparently, the reason why there hasn't been an iWatch launch is because of a few manufacturing problems. At least, that's what The Information is reporting. From battery life issues to screen technology, users might have to wait until later this year to see the device -- or at least until Apple straightens these problems out.
October 29, 2013
LG is known for its top-notch displays, and according to the Korea Herald, Apple is a-lookin' and a-likin'. So much so that LG Display has apparently been tapped by Apple to be the secondary supplier for the iWatch's display. Its first choice? According to the news source, that title goes to a Taiwan company called RiTDisplay.
October 11, 2013
Claiming an Apple supplier told him so, industry analyst Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald said that the iWatch could connect to your home as well as your iPhone. As such, you could adjust your house's temperature, turn the lights on and off, or control your home's entertainment system -- all through the iWatch. Given the proliferation of smart home appliances and connected home services, the idea that the iWatch may feature this functionality doesn't seem so far-fetched.
October 7, 2013
Based on a Piper Jaffray survey, analyst Gene Munster estimated that if the iWatch were to cost $350 and could connect to the iPhone, Apple could sell between 5 million and 10 million iWatches during its debut year. Though that sounds like a lot, that really leaves only about 12 percent of current iPhone owners in the US who are willing to buy the smartwatch. Globally, that number lowers to 2 to 4 percent. Given these bleak numbers, however, Munster said that the device could still "potentially lead to a more meaningful new product category in wearable tech."
October 1, 2013
Citing "industry sources," the Korean news site Chosun Ilbo reported that the Apple iWatch may come in three different sizes. Plans of a 1.5-inch, 1.4-inch, and 1.3-inch model are supposedly in the works, as well as a flexible display that was previously rumored back in February.
July 14, 2013
Apple is apparently on a hiring frenzy. Citing "sources familiar with the matter," The Financial Times is reporting that the tech giant is "aggressively" hiring more employees to work on developing the iWatch. This may indicate that the gadget won't be ready for market until late next year.
As the previous rumor stated, Apple trademarked the brand iWatch in Japan. However, both 9to5Mac and MacRumors are reporting that more filings have spread to several other countries, too, including: Mexico, Taiwan, Colombia, and Turkey. All were registered on June 3. It remains unknown, though, if the trademark gets any frequent flier miles from its world tour.
June 30, 2013
First it was Russia. Now Bloomberg has reported that Apple has traveled to the Land of the Rising Sun in order to trademark the moniker "iWatch." Filed with the Japan Patent Office, the report was made public at the end of June, though the actual paperwork was filled out earlier in the month. The product is categorized as a "handheld computer or watch device."
June 7, 2013
Glen Yeung, an analyst from Citi, reported in an investor's note that production for the iWatch is rearing to go and that suppliers are waiting on Apple to give them the go-ahead to start making the iWatch. Furthermore, Yeung predicts that it is "increasingly likely" that the product will launch in the second half of this year, with a "go/no-go" decision finalized around June.
June 5, 2013
Via 9to5Mac, reports from Russian newspaper Izvestia state that Apple has filed for an iWatch trademark at Rospatent, the country's patent and trademark office. If this rumor is true, it still doesn't mean that an iWatch is in the works. As CNET's Don Reisinger pointed out, sometimes companies file trademarks on brands just to "protect itself in the event it launches a product that would use that name."
May 20, 2013
According to Taiwanese news outlet Economic Times (translate), Apple is eyeing 1.5-inch OLED screens manufactured by Ritek. It was also reported that Apple was originally looking at 1.8-inch displays, but deemed them too large. In addition, Economic Times claims that Foxconn, an Apple supplier, has received 1,000 trial orders for the iWatch already.
April 13, 2013
At a meeting held by software company Intuit, Bill Campbell, who is an Apple board member and friend of the late Steve Jobs, hinted that Apple may have its eyes on wearable tech. Not going into specifics, he said that when it comes to future Apple devices, customers should expect "a lot of things going on with the application of technology to really intimate things." According to Bloomberg, Campbell specifically referred to glasses and watches as becoming just as "intimate as the cell phone was."
Piling on to its February rumor, the same people who spoke to Bloomberg about Apple gathering a 100-person team for the iWatch also said that we can expect to see the final product by the end of 2013. Additional speculated features include checking location and map coordinates, as well as a pedometer.
February 21, 2013
Though it dates back to August 2011, a patent filed from Apple under the title " Bi-Stable Spring With Flexible Display" was discovered by AppleInsider. The patent describes a bendable touch-screen that can be rendered into a phone or worn on -- and here's where it gets juicy-- the wrist. And while the document doesn't specifically point out it will be used for a watch, it does state that the glass can carry out tasks like ordering a playlist or "reviewing a list of recent phone calls."
February 12, 2013
According to Bloomberg, Apple is rounding up a team of 100 employees to develop its smartwatch. Citing people who are "familiar with the company," two important members of this team include James Foster, Apple's senior director of engineering, and program manager Achim Pantfoerder, who has 13 Apple patents under his belt.
February 10, 2013
The all-right-that's-at-least-more-legitimate-when-it-comes-to-tech-rumors New York Times reported that Apple is tinkering around with bendable glass in order to develop its iWatch. Fanning the flames of this rumor is the fact that earlier in the year, Corning Glass Technologies, which is featured in the iPhone, announced that it has created flexible Willow glass.
December 27, 2012
Citing a Chinese blog site called Tech163.com, Business Insider reports that Apple is working with Intel to create an iOS-toting watch. In addition to Bluetooth capabilities, the device will have a 1.5-inch OLED screen. So, why does this rumor hold more water than all the other fluff that comes out of the tech mill? Perhaps it's because in 2011, Apple released the iPod Nano, which can be fashioned into a watch, and the idea of an iWatch isn't that far-fetched.