Apple planning multiple iWatch versions to launch in the fall

By Alexandra Burlacu | Jun 20, 2014 08:15 AM EDT

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Apple is reportedly planning to launch multiple versions of its smartwatch, dubbed the iWatch, which will likely debut in the fall.

As the wearable market is gaining momentum, more heavyweight players are expected to join the race and Apple is one of them. The company has long been rumored to be working on a high-end iWatch, which is widely expected to arrive this fall with iOS 8 on board.

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According to a new Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report, citing people familiar with the matter, Apple is planning multiple iWatch versions in an effort to counter wearable gadgets from rival companies such as Samsung and Google.

"The new wrist device from Apple will include more than 10 sensors including ones to track health and fitness, these people said. Apple aims to address an overarching criticism of existing smartwatches that they fail to provide functional significantly different from that of a smartphone, said a person familiar with the matter," reveals the WSJ.

Apple recently unveiled its new iOS 8 platform, showing its dedication toward health and fitness-tracking features with its new Health and HealthKit, designed to collect all fitness and health-related data in a single place for easier management. The company has yet to unveil a device of its own to collect that data, however, which further bolsters rumors that an iWatch is on its way.

WSJ's sources further noted that Apple supplier Quanta Computer Inc., based in Taiwan, will start manufacturing the smartwatch in two or three months, and the device could launch in October. Quanta Computer will reportedly start conducting trial runs as soon as next month.

"The smartwatch will likely come in multiple screen sizes, said one person familiar with the matter. Another person at a component supplier said shipments of the smartwatches are estimated to total between 10 million and 15 million units by the end of this year. The exact specifications of Apple's smartwatch are being finalized before mass production starts, said people familiar with the matter," the WSJ further reports.

Not too long ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that his company plans to tap new product categories by the end of the year. With smartwatches and other wearables becoming increasingly popular, the iWatch is one of the most highly-anticipated gadgets of 2014.

Apple archrival Samsung has already launched several smartwatches so far, as well as a fitness wristband, and Apple is widely expected to stay competitive, launching at least one wearable device of its own, if not several.

"I expect Apple to launch multiple smartwatches that come with different designs as watches are fashion accessories. One design doesn't fit all," the publication further cites KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo, who has offered accurate predictions on several occasions in the past.

Nothing is confirmed at this point however, so all iWatch-related news and reports remain in the rumor state for now. As always in such cases, it's best to take everything with a grain of salt until an official announcement. 



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