If it feels like the promise of an Apple smartwatch has been looming forever, that's because it has. And its shadow helped birth the army of other smartwatches that we have today. But now, finally, the near mythical iWatch is rumored to arrive very soon. Here's what we think we know.
What's it called?
Colloquially, Apple's upcoming watch has been referred to as an iWatch, though there's not evidence that this might be its name outside of it following Apple naming conventions. Information about the size of its screen and the bevy of health features it will include suggest it might be actually be more of a "health bangle" anyway. Apple has acquired the trademark to "iWatch" in a number of countries, though that's pretty soft evidence.
Apple has filed patents for a wearable device with swappable screen modules that makes a reference to something called iTime, so that's a possibility as well, though Apple would probably be wiser than to blow the real name in a patent.
For our purposes, we're going to keep calling it the iWatch and hope that Apple has something more clever up its, er, sleeve.
One of the big (rumored) differentiators for the iWatch is design. That is to say, the iWatch is supposed to look good, unlike most of the other, grosser-looking options that are available right now. (Excluding the Pebble Steel and the Moto 360, of course.)
Evidence of this is backed up by a number of hires that Apple has made in the past few years. Hires like former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent Paul Deneve and Senior VP of Retail Angela Ahrendts, who helped revitalize Burberry as CEO without abandoning its heritage. We're talking legit fashion people, as opposed to tech people with an eye for pretty things.
What will all those expensive salaries come up with though? That's a much bigger question. We've seen concepts leftandright, and although some of them look nice, none of them quite has that Apple flair. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a lot of information on what the iWatch will look like. No physical leaks of any sort. In a broader sense that iTime might offer some clues, as it shows a watch-type band with modules that can snap in and out. It's similar to the WIMM One from WIMM Labs, a recent Google acquisition.
These sketches are broad, though, as patent sketches are, and it's meant to cover functionality not design, so it's of little help. Not to mention that patents aren't necessarily indicative of actual products; companies patent things all the time with no intention of ever actually making them. A slightly more substantial and interesting pair of reports came from Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, suggesting respectively that the iWatch could have a 2.5-inch screen, and that it might come in different sizes.
A 2.5-inch screen for a traditionally-shaped watch is nuts. The clunky Galaxy Gear clocked in at a mere 1.63-inches. So if the 2.5 inch screen rumor is true, it suggests something either more like a curved bracelet, or a giant hunk of Apple on your wrist. What does seem like a sure thing is that the iWatch will have an unscratchable sapphire glass watchface, due to recent evidence that Apple is producing "jewelry-grade" slices of the stuff. But other than that, the options are still pretty excitingly open.