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Apple iWatch 'more than just experiment'

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Apple's rumoured smartwatch project may be more than just an experiment, after Bloomberg reports that a big team is working on the device.

At the start of the week, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal both claimed that Apple was developing an 'iWatch', featuring a curved glass display, running iOS and able to connect to an iPhone via Bluetooth.

Apple acolytes amass outside the Apple store in Santa Monica, California.

© PA Images / Jae C. Hong/AP



Both newspapers suggested that the project was at the experimentation stage, but Bloomberg has now said that around 100 designers are working on the iWatch, citing "two people familiar with the company's plans".

It added that the team working on the wristwatch-like device - which "may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad" - has grown over the past year.

It now includes "managers, members of the marketing group, and software and hardware engineers who previously worked on the iPhone and iPad", according to the news agency's unnamed sources.

A team of this size is thought to suggest that Apple has moved "beyond the experimentation phase in its development", it continued.

Despite recently reporting record quarterly earnings, Apple is coming under pressure from investors to launch a new revolutionary gadget to continue its incredible growth and keep ahead of rivals, such as Samsung.

Bruce Tognazzini, a former Apple employee who is now a technology consultant, wrote in a blog post last week that the iWatch would "fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem".

He added: "It will facilitate and coordinate not only the activities of all the other computers and devices we use, but a wide array of devices to come.

"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."

Sony SmartWatch
Pebble Smartwatch


Apple has previously dabbled in the market for wearable devices, including experiments with a fitness tracker in the past, but has never brought a product to market.

However, it has now tasked senior director of engineering James Foster and senior manager Achim Pantfoerder with leading the efforts to develop a wristwatch-style computer, Bloomberg's sources said.

Sony launched a smartwatch in 2012 that can connect to a phone, while Pebble - the tech startup that raised more than $10m on Kickstarter - entered the market last month with its e-paper watch that can run apps and change fascias.

With the market still very much open, though, Apple may see this as an area where it can drive forward innovation, while also producing a product that fits within the iPhone and iPad ecosystem.

Tognazzini said in his blog post that Apple must tackle the current "drawbacks" in smartwatch design, including complicated battery charging, "clunky design" and poor user interfaces.

However, he also feels that an Apple iOS smartwatch designed by Apple's design chief Sir Jonathan Ive with a curved screen could look beautiful, and also perform well with integration of voice assistant Siri and Apple's existing wireless charging patents.

Apple declined to comment on the reports.

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