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Apple's iWatch may be unveiled this year, Bloomberg says

The iWatch rumors heat up as consumers await Apple's next new product. A timepiece seems more likely to be a profit machine than that other rumored Apple device, the iTV.

Apple hasn't shown off anything yet, so we took the liberty of creating this mockup of what an iWatch might look like.
Sarah Tew and Christopher MacManus/CNET

Apple's rumored iWatch may get its unveiling sooner than later.

The company is seeking to introduce the device as soon as this year, according to Bloomberg. The wire service previously reported that Apple had roughly 100 people working on the project.

CNET contacted Apple for comment, and we'll update the story when the company responds.

The iWatch may end up being more profitable than Apple's other rumored new business, the television. While the television business is saddled with low margins, a long replacement cycle, and high costs, the watch business boasts higher margins and growth.

The popularity of cell phones has eliminated the need for many to wear watches, but some believe they are coming back thanks to the advent of health monitors and sensors. The Nike Fuelband, for instance, is considered a fashionable watch in addition to a fitness tool.

Bloomberg noted that Apple has filed 79 patents that contain the word "wrist," including one recently for a "wearable accessory device" that would display video, and indeed more patents showing off an iWatch-like device continue to pop up.

The Verge, meanwhile, is reporting that the purported iWatch will run a full version of iOS, rather than a variation on the stripped-down operating system in the iPod Nano, versions of which have been used in watch designs.

An iWatch would help to offset slowing growth in Apple's key iPhone business, which faces increasing competition from the likes of Samsung Electronics. Samsung is set to debut its own flagship Galaxy S4 in less than two weeks, which should eat into Apple's momentum in the smartphone business.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been criticized by some for not bringing out new products fast enough, with many eager to see an iTV. But the iWatch, at least according to the various reports out there, may make it out of the gates first.

This illustration comes from a recent Apple patent application describing a "wearable video device." U.S. PTO/Apple