Our guide to all the rumours, news and speculation surrounding the Apple iWatch, which is expected to be announced this year and become Apple's first major new product category since the iPad.


It's almost a year since whispers of an Apple smartwatch called iWatch first circulated online, and yet we are yet to see even a single image materialise from the notoriously leaky production line. The closest we've got to the iWatch so far is Samsung's Galaxy Gear - and that failed to capture the imagination of all but the most die-hard tech fans.

Unlike most consumer tech rumours, the sources for iWatch news have consistently been some of the biggest names in the business; Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have all claimed the iWatch exists and is in development.

The story so far

Back in February, 2013, it was reported that Apple had a team of 100 employees working on the iWatch - and that Jony Ive was leading the project. The size of the team suggests that the project has evolved from the experimental stage to development, according to Bloomberg sources who chose to remain anonymous.

The iWatch has been a long-term goal of Ive, who apparently ordered "boxes" of Nike sports watches for his team to look at in the mid-2000s

Former Apple employee and technology consultant Bruce Tognazzini said in a blog post in early 2013: "The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem. Like other breakthrough Apple products, its value will be underestimated at launch, then grow to have a profound impact on our lives and Apple's fortunes."

In May, Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the whole wearable tech market is "ripe to get excited about".

In November, Paul Gagnon of DisplaySearch revealed in a blog post that Apple had shifted its development efforts away from a television and towards the smartwatch.

"According to sources in the TV supply chain, it appears that Apple's long-rumored TV plans, which were far from concrete anyway, have been put on hold again, possibly to be replaced by a rollout of wearable devices," Gagnon said.

Apple iWatch: Design

With no leaked photos, understanding the iWatch's design isn't easy, but a report in November from The Korea Herald claimed Apple is developing the device in two size. A larger men's watch will have a screen size of 1.7in diagonally, while a smaller women's watch will measure 1.3in - this approach makes sense, given the traditional watch industry has offered his and hers sizes for decades.

These sizes compare to the 1.63in Galaxy Gear, released by Samsung last year.

Other design aspects remain unknown for now, but we can expect to see the front dominated by a touchscreen running a slimmed down version of the iPhone's iOS software, although with lashings of glass and aluminium with the same shiny, chamfered edges as the newest iPhone and iPad.

As for the watchstrap, nothing is yet know, but we'd expect to see Apple adopt a similar strategy to Pebble and its second-generation Steel smartwatch, announced at the CES technology trade show in January. Where the original Pebble had a colour and chunky rubber strap, the new model offers a range of more traditional metal bracelets.

Apple iWatch: Software

Bloomberg has claimed the iWatch will let its wearer make calls, see the identity of incoming callers, check map coordinates and view a heart rate monitor - the latter suggesting iWatch will mark a new chapter for Apple as a fitness device company.

Tech website The Verge claimed in March to have spoken to its own sources familiar with Apple's plans for the iWatch, who said the device will run software closer to the iPhone's iOS than the touch-screen iPod nano. "Apple's better on iOS across product lines," The Verge said.

Apple iWatch: Price

At around £300, the Galaxy Gear was seen as overpriced when it launched in October last year, but with Sony's SmartWatch 2 priced at £130, the tiny smartwatch market already has a wide price range into which Apple can slot the iWatch.

As the device would almost certainly be a companion to the owner's iPhone - rather than functioning as a phone on its own - we would expect to see it priced at around £200 to £250, but this being Apple, a premium price matched with premium design wouldn't be a surprise.

Apple iWatch: Release Date

Back in March it was claimed the iWatch would go on sale before the end of 2013. Evidently, this turned out to be wrong, and as we're still yet to see leaked photos of the device, its software, or its packaging, it seems unlikely that Apple will announce the device imminently - unless it has made huge improvements to production line security.

A release date in 2014 is now expected, but to suggest a date more precise than that would be purely a guess. Apple may well choose to sit back and wait for Samsung to announce version 2 of Galaxy Gear - expected in April - before making its move.