Apple Watch reportedly won't launch until spring

In an alleged video message to employees, a top-level Apple exec said: "We've got a new watch launch coming in the spring."

The Apple Watch may lie dormant all winter. James Martin/CNET

The Apple Watch purportedly won't crop up until spring.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of retail and online stores, reportedly spilled the time frame in a video message to company employees -- an alleged transcript of which was shared with 9to5Mac by an anonymous source. In the transcript, Ahrendts specifically said: "We're going into the holidays, we'll go into Chinese New Year, and then we've got a new watch launch coming in the spring."

Officially, Apple has been mum about a specific launch date for its new smartwatch , saying only that it will arrive in early 2015. Some reports have speculated that Apple hoped to launch the watch for Valentine's Day.

The Chinese New Year starts February 19, and spring officially begins March 20. Assuming the transcript is accurate, that means we could see the watch appear as soon as late March. But Apple announced the watch at its iPhone launch event on September 9, so the company certainly doesn't want to wait too long for the smartwatch to materialize.

Also, the longer Apple waits, the more competition it faces. Last week, Microsoft announced a wearable computing device known as the Microsoft Band . The Apple Watch will combine the functions of both a smartwatch and a health tracker. By contrast, Microsoft's product is designed mostly as a fitness tracker though it pairs with your smartphone to alert you to phone calls, emails, texts, and other notifications.

The Microsoft Band sells for $200, while the Apple Watch will cost US consumers at least $349. The Microsoft Band is compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices, so it can reach a larger potential audience than can the Apple Watch, which is meant only for the iOS crowd. And the Microsoft Band is available now, another factor that will appeal to consumers who are searching for a wearable device during the holiday-shopping season.

Still, the Apple Watch promises to be more versatile than the Microsoft Band and rival devices. Outfitted with Apple Pay , the watch will enable consumers to pay for items without pulling out their wallets. It also pairs with your iPhone for phone calls, email alerts, and other notifications. The watch will be able to monitor your health activities. And by tapping into Apple's Health app , it has the potential to keep track of all of your health and fitness data.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.