Apple "iWatch" coming in 2013 says Bloomberg [Update]

Apple's stock has recently fallen by almost 30%, down from an all-time high of $703 in late 2012.  Despite recording phenomenal earnings, Apple investors are becoming sceptical of Apple's future plans. Apple is losing their gross margin on the products they sell as components become more expensive and competitors in the industry push Apple to lower their prices.

A new report by Bloomberg has outlined Apple's plans to introduce a smart watch in 2013 which would help reintroduce high margins into Apple's product categories, thus satisfying investors. Oliver Chen, an analyst for Citigroup, has told Bloomberg that Apple has a "$6 billion opportunity" where they could recreate the success of the iPod; reinvent a market that already exists and make it desirable to the general public. In 2013, the entire watch industry is expected to generate $60 billion, which would enable Apple to catch 10%, equivalent to a gross profit of $3.6 billion. Margins on watches are also much higher, with some manufactures getting up to 60%; the iPhone currently nets Apple a 55% margin. 

Apple is reported to have a 100-person team working on their "iWatch", which may replace some of the tasks currently carried out by the iPhone and iPad. Bloomberg reports that Apple is considering the ability for the smart watch to place calls, identify the person making an incoming call, check map coordinates as well as act as a pedometer and heart-rate monitor. As of right now, Apple has filed almost 80 patents which include the word "wrist", one of which includes a flexible screen and a battery charged by kinetic energy. 

Google is currently developing Glass, which will features a small built-in screen which will be viewable in the right eye of the user. However, Glass does not include a 3G radio, effectively chaining it to a smartphone. If Apple included such a radio in their smart watch, they could open up a new brand of "smart" accessory. Jony Ive, Apple's lead designer, has an interest in watch, reports Bloomberg. Not only has he owned many high-end brands himself, he also took his team to a Nike factory for a tour. Google Glass will be unveiled at the end of 2013/early 2014, while Bloomberg is adamant that Apple's smart watch will be available during 2013, possibly at Apple's main WWDC event in June. 

Another problem Apple faces in regards to a watch is design. People are happy to carry around the same smartphone as everyone else, but a watch is even more of a fashion statement. Apple's one-size-fits-all mentality may not work in the watch industry where consumers may want different types of straps or different materials. Apple may be forced to offer various models, something they do not like doing.   

Beyond a few rumoured specs, very little is known about Apple's watch. 

Source: Bloomberg Image via Gizmorati 

Update: The Verge has published a story containing a few more details about Apple's rumoured watch. Sources who spoke to The Verge told them that Apple is aiming for 4-5 days worth of battery for the iWatch, while the current prototypes are only getting two days. Battery life will be important as people are not as religious about charging up their watches as they are with their smartphones. Some high-end watches include solar panels - such as Citizen's Eco Drive series. Apple may be looking at using technology such as this to increase the length of the iWatch's battery.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Only 33% of Windows Phone users are English speakers

Next Story

Microsoft to launch HealthVault consumer Windows 8 app [Update]

77 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I have a watch, it's my phone.

If they can replace my phone with a watch then they have a chance. But then again, how am I going to get a screen big enough to play games, watch tv/movies etc?

I won't say it will be a flob. I'm sure there are plenty of iLovers out there just dying to get another flash apple logo on their person. But the Smartphone has serious utility. I just don't see that coming from a watch.

Shopping for a watch is akin to making a personal fashion statement. One chooses a watch based on the image you'd like to present to the world. It's all about personality! Cheap, classy, expensive, over-the-top, robust, fragile etc. etc. These words are not normally associated with a phone. To create a watch that would sell well across a gazillion different personalities would result in a design that is ultimately uninspired. I cannot possibly see this selling well except for a 'few' diehard-apple fans and the occasional "Dick Tracy" wannabe. I have no desire to talk to a watch and don't need a glorified remote control for my phone/tv/whatnot.

It's good to see apple FAIL so hard...

Obnoxious people will buy this iWatch nonsense. The same people who speak extra loud to Siri, just so people know they have an iPhone. I had a boss like that... so glad I don't work for him anymore.

My watch can go years on one tiny battery. Granted it can't do anything but tell time/date but that's all I need it for. Not sure what to make of this. Just another device to have to deal with. One single device seems ideal. /shrug

the stuff that would be possible with current technology is really limited. i see no real uses for such a watch. there are scenarios in which such a watch could be awesome, but the rest of the technology and services needed for that do not exist yet. i hardly beleive that apple will re-invent the wheel. their days of real invention seem to be fading.

I don't see how they're fading. The iPod came out in 2002 and the iPhone in 2007, that's a 6 year gap. If we take the iPad as the last form of "real invention" from Apple, then they have until 2016 (iPad was released in 2010).

Did you last watch also include an LCD display? Could your last watch search the web? Could your last watch direct you to your destination? Did your last watch have Siri built in?

Now, tell me: does your smartphone last 4-5 days? No.

This is not a step backwards.

maxslaterrobins said,
Did you last watch also include an LCD display? Could your last watch search the web? Could your last watch direct you to your destination? Did your last watch have Siri built in?

Now, tell me: does your smartphone last 4-5 days? No.

This is not a step backwards.

Good grief, why does my watch need to do that?

timster said,
wonder if the iWatch will use standard batteries or will Apple have a proprietary battery specifically designed for it

I don't think any batteries that are currently available will do, so Apple will make it themselves. And, of course, it won't be user-removable.

Dot Matrix said,
Haha. 4-5 day battery? Last watch I wore lasted months on a single button cell. Nice step backwards there, Apple.

I remember there was a time when you could go several days without having to charge a cell phone.

Question.... How many People still wear Watches? No one in may family has worn one in over 10 years. That includes My parents (over 60) and Kids under 18.

I have talked to my Soccer players about this, None of my 42 Players (age 14-19) wear a watch. I also just walked down the hallway at my High School and saw 4, Sure I could of missed some, but over 500 kids in the 1 hallway.

What is the target market?

MikadoWu said,
Question.... How many People still wear Watches? No one in may family has worn one in over 10 years. That includes My parents (over 60) and Kids under 18.

I have talked to my Soccer players about this, None of my 42 Players (age 14-19) wear a watch. I also just walked down the hallway at my High School and saw 4, Sure I could of missed some, but over 500 kids in the 1 hallway.

What is the target market?


You know a lot of weird people. Everyone Ive seen today I have actually asked what time is it (as a study to see who wears watches) and they have looked at their watch. Some did point out I was next to a clock or that I had a watch of my own, but most didn't.

MikadoWu said,
If I have a smart Phone,,,,, Why do I need a Smart Watch? Sorry, I really do not get it.

Because the information is more accessible. Things like maps will be perfect as you can glance at your wrist, rather than having to hold your phone.

Jason Stillion said,
Honest question, how many people still wear watches?
Unless the goal is to switch the phone / computer to your wrist for easy access.

I don't know many people who don't wear watches to be honest but do think its more of a generational thing. I reckon most people over 30 wear one pretty much every day.

As a utility item, depending on just how much functionality was crammed in here, it could sell pretty well.

I'm feeling decidedly unsure - as a watch enthusiast with a variety of old and interesting time pieces, I am not sure I would want to stop wearing one of those to put one of these on my wrist!

I stopped wearing watches a long time ago. It gets in the way and serves no extra functionality. Why carry both my phone and a watch when the phone does the same thing?

One year after I got my first mobile phone (feature phone in 1998), I stopped wearing watches.

DarkNet said,
I stopped wearing watches a long time ago. It gets in the way and serves no extra functionality. Why carry both my phone and a watch when the phone does the same thing?

One year after I got my first mobile phone (feature phone in 1998), I stopped wearing watches.

Because a watch is often a nice statement, or goes well when wearing smart clothing, or can just be an interest / hobby.

Chicane-UK said,

Because a watch is often a nice statement, or goes well when wearing smart clothing, or can just be an interest / hobby.


I would only wear a watch to an interview (which I did in 2005). That's about it. Nobody under the age of 40 wore one on the last few weddings I've been to, so that takes care of that.

DarkNet said,

I would only wear a watch to an interview (which I did in 2005). That's about it. Nobody under the age of 40 wore one on the last few weddings I've been to, so that takes care of that.

To each his own Ever increasing revenues for Swiss watch companies like Omega and Rolex suggest that the watch is still a popular item though as I say, probably not amongst the younger generation.

Chicane-UK said,

To each his own Ever increasing revenues for Swiss watch companies like Omega and Rolex suggest that the watch is still a popular item though as I say, probably not amongst the younger generation.

Definitely right about the younger generation. Although I don't fall into that being 34 years old.

More than an iPod Nano. There is a reason why Apple went to rectangle shape for the Nano in the newer generation instead of leaving it as a square and adding Bluetooth functionality to it. They want you to buy this extra hardware. They don't want you to buy a cheap accessory that you can turn your iPod into a watch and not make any profit on it.

DarkNet said,
More than an iPod Nano. There is a reason why Apple went to rectangle shape for the Nano in the newer generation instead of leaving it as a square and adding Bluetooth functionality to it. They want you to buy this extra hardware. They don't want you to buy a cheap accessory that you can turn your iPod into a watch and not make any profit on it.

How do you know so much about Apple's strategies? The iPod Nano has had loads of forms (http://winsupersite.com/site-f...-nano-through-the-years.jpg), so the change doesn't indicate anything, sorry.

maxslaterrobins said,

How do you know so much about Apple's strategies? The iPod Nano has had loads of forms (http://winsupersite.com/site-f...-nano-through-the-years.jpg), so the change doesn't indicate anything, sorry.

Well I never did say I know anything about their strategy. You ASSumed it. This is merely an educated speculation. Anybody that has a brain and knows the market can come up with it.

1) Has there been talk about turning the Nano into a smartwatch last year? YES! There were a lot of accessories for the Nano to turn into a watch however there is no Bluetooth connectivity to truly make it a smartwatch. So why would Apple make it a rectangle on the latest generation if they have been working on a smarthwatch all this time? Logically, Apple wants to sell you more hardware. If the iPad Nano comes out square with Bluetooth connectivity, then you need just pay $20 for the wristwatch (which is third party and Apple doesn't get big gains from this).

2) Selling the Nano and smartwatch as separate products would be profitable. Why? Well, a lot of people may not want a smartwatch but still want something to listen to music while at the gym. Why pay more for a product that has extra functionality that they wouldn't use thus turning them away from the product all together? The smartwatch can not be priced at the same level or less than the Nano. It would cannibalize the iPod Nano sales.

When the iPad Mini came out, I knew it would be priced between $300 - $350. Because The iPad Mini would cannibalize the iPad, but to put it at the same level as a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire would cannibalize the iPod Touch sales as well. Who would buy an iPod Touch if the Mini does the same thing but on a bigger screen? It's all about maximizing your profits.

Do you doubt that it will be priced more than the Nano?

Thank you for the lesson on business, but Apple changing the design has nothing to do with it. The Nano - even with Bluetooth - is not a smart watch because the software does not make it smart. It is an iPod. The two are exclusive. Apple sells the iPod Touch and iPhone side-by-side and it'll be the same with the Nano/iWatch.

The iWatch could be priced the same as the Nano, and people would just buy the iWatch - it'd be a great deal. But, the two are not the same. You're mistaking physical form factor for functionality; the Nano is just an iPod (in it's square form it couldn't even play video) while the iWatch will be able to do loads of stuff, such as maps and Siri (as the article says).

The iPad Mini wouldn't cannibalise the iPad because they're for different people and are good at different things (believe me, I own both). The iPad Mini is much lighter, so can be used for reading while the iPad (large) is better for movies and games. Have you seen an iPad Mini against an iPod Touch? The difference is blindingly obvious - have you ever tried to put an iPad Mini in your pocket, for instance?

The pricing, compared to the Nano, is irrelevant because they don't compete. The pricing compared to the Pebble is more relevant. When the iPhone came out, no one had very much to compare the price too and the same will be true for the iWatch.

We shall see who is right and who is wrong in a few months or so.

Apple doesn't care what competitors price things at. I can buy a Nexus 10 which has better resolution and pixel density than the iPad for cheaper. I can buy a Nexus 7 for a lot cheaper than the iPad Mini. So the Pebble watch Price doesn't mean much.

Apple is counting on the fact that people will buy it because it is Apple. It will tie in perfectly to their ecosystem.

Microsoft is trying very hard to accomplish this right now. The only reason why they are not succeeding is because well they are not Apple. You can't deny that Microsoft is doing this with the Xbox, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8. But that is another topic.

You also miss the point about iPad Mini vs iPod Touch. Nobody would buy a Touch if it were priced identical or even if the Mini was $50 more. Apple knew that. Why didn't Apple price it closer to a Nexus 7 or a Kindle Fire? You fail to give a reason for that but you keep talking about functionality (fits in a pocket).

One of us will be right and I am confident it will be me. I've made the argument for pricing before for the iPad Mini and people said I didn't know what I was talking about. They were wrong and it was priced in the range I predicted..

I bookmarked this thread to prove a point when it is released. No need to respond to this now or don't expect one from me. Just wait for pricing. I'll bring it up then.

In the meantime read these. Apple is not stupid. They see people want this. The signs were everywhere since last year as earl as CES.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/9...eps-a-smartwatch-revolution

http://techland.time.com/2012/...ing-the-wearable-ipod-nano/

http://pandodaily.com/2012/04/...pple-building-a-smartwatch/

http://www.technobuffalo.com/2...pod-nano-watchband-roundup/

Exactly, most people wearing watches are more interested in the fact that its jewelry and it looks nice. If they cant make something sleek, sexy, and modern (but still has that classic "watch" look to it) its going to have a tough time.

The current mock ups I've seen all look rather cartoonish and not something I'd want on my wrist.

Because there are no actual leaks - no case, no product box - no-one outside of a few knows what it looks like. The rendering at the top is just an idea, based on a patent filed by Apple.

My only thought is that artistic rendition of it looks really unprofessional. I see a lot of businessmen with iPhones, but they still rock the classic watches. I could see this really catching on if they make a more professional model, but how can they make a digital display look the part? I mean its hard to beat that classic minimalist face and the glam (for lack of a better word) of a business watch.

I think that will make or break this product. Most casual people don't wear watches, at least in my experience. Google has a leg up IMO, because people actually wear glasses whether its prescription or sunglasses. (Yes yes they're two completely different products, but they're both starting to push that boundary of phone and person)

It will be interesting to see either way.

Right...and I state that in my comment...

I'm just saying that I think the success on this product relies on if they can get a sleek professional look to it that businessmen would swap out their current watches for.

I've been thinking about getting myself a new watch. Could be interesting depending on price.

Would be cool just to listen to the radio, music etc etc or perhaps even news updates straight to your watch. Maybe.....but then again I do this on my phone anyway.

Competitors are pushing Apple to lower prices? WHERE!!! Please show me. The iPhone is still $650/750/850 from Apple, 699/799/899 and unlock for 999 from retailers. The Air starts at $999. The MacBook Pros still cost the same starting at nearly $1800 for the 15".

The iPod's are all still expensive. The Touch starts at $299. Show me where Apple has lowered prices. I mean really?

The iPads cannibalized MacBooks. Now the iPad Mini is cannibalizing both the iPads and the MacBooks. That's one way how prices are coming down.

Of course. Apple has said before. If they didn't come out with a iPad Mini, another company would fill that spot nicely (Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire anyone?) So it is better that they do it than their real competitors.

I'd be interested to see what comes of this. Being able to see the time as well as your notifications on your wrist would be great. We all know that if it's released by Apple, it'll make a dent in the market. If anything, it could be released as an iPhone accessory similar to the way that iPod Nano watches are used but with Bluetooth connectivity between the watch and the phone, and much much smarter due to a front facing camera and other features.

MidTxWRX said,
I'd be interested to see what comes of this. Being able to see the time as well as your notifications on your wrist would be great. We all know that if it's released by Apple, it'll make a dent in the market. If anything, it could be released as an iPhone accessory similar to the way that iPod Nano watches are used but with Bluetooth connectivity between the watch and the phone, and much much smarter due to a front facing camera and other features.

But what do you do with those notifications? You still have your smartphone in your pocket so you might as well just check that.

Can Apple's marketing clout continue to be so successful? I'm not so sure with this one.

headsoup said,

But what do you do with those notifications? You still have your smartphone in your pocket so you might as well just check that.

Can Apple's marketing clout continue to be so successful? I'm not so sure with this one.

Well it can be a number of notifications. It could be an alarm, a timer, a reminder, a calendar event, an incoming call that can be screened, a text that you can screen and choose if you'd like to reply at the moment or not (or maybe the watch will have a microphone that you can use to dictate to Siri).

I agree though, I'll still have my iPhone out 90% of the time.

That may be the point of the watch..they realize that once the newness of Siri is over, people don't use it much because you've already got the phone out and it's easier to do the same tasks. By now telling people you don't have to pull the phone out to do all these different tasks, they hope to change the dynamic.

If the watch is basically e-ink, with possibly 3 touch locations. Up, Down, Ok. Then give it Bluetooth speakerphone guts. They hope that you direct more of your interaction through Siri and less through apps.

The Up, Down selects between different displays on the phone, one of them being Siri. If you select the Siri screen, you use the Ok button to then activate the speakerphone and interact with Siri. It giving you what drilled down info you want. The other displays are things like txts, you can reply to them by using the up/down/ok on pre-created replies. Or, you know, go over to the Siri display and read off what you want to say. Have a calendar one, maybe a mapping one(look at your watch and it just give you a big compass arrow for example, email, remote control, etc.

I'll pass.. I want to see more innovation in tablets and tv. Yet Another device doesn't excite me unless it was open to hacking

Microsoft had the MSN watch and it flopped, Apple will try it with the iWatch or whatever they will call it and I have my doubts that this will sell in big quantities except for some hardcore Apple fans that buy everything with an Apple logo on it.

Microsoft also showed off a Windows XP tablet way back in 2001 and that flopped too; look what happened when Apple did the iPad years later....

techbeck said,
Meh, watches like this are probably just a toy. Fun for a few then gets old quick.

Agreed. Not much difference in checking your watch versus taking your phone out of your pocket and checking whose calling that way.

techbeck said,
Meh, watches like this are probably just a toy. Fun for a few then gets old quick.

Sounds like what people said about the iPhone.

MidTxWRX said,

Sounds like what people said about the iPhone.

Sounds like what lots are saying about the iPhone now. Getting old.

I don't know. Wearable technology looks like it's going to become very popular. I just general don't like wearing watches. I didn't even buy the Pebble Watch which isn't exclusive to iOS or Android.

DarkNet said,
I don't know. Wearable technology looks like it's going to become very popular. I just general don't like wearing watches. I didn't even buy the Pebble Watch which isn't exclusive to iOS or Android.

Seems like that's where we're headed with Google's Glass and Apple's watch if it comes to light.

If those two enter the wearable technology market, Microsoft is sure to follow.

MidTxWRX said,

If those two enter the wearable technology market, Microsoft is sure to follow.

Hopefully sooner than later other wise they will be late to the game again when it comes to mobile technology.

DarkNet said,

Hopefully sooner than later other wise they will be late to the game again when it comes to mobile technology.

Seems like they always are.

MidTxWRX said,

Seems like they always are.

They were also late to graphical OS, Networking, Web Browsers, Console Gaming, etc and we know how those turned out.

Not sure what to make of this tbh. I can see it becoming a novelty, and more importantly: unless it can replace a smartphone I wouldn't have a use for it.

Neobond said,
Not sure what to make of this tbh. I can see it becoming a novelty, and more importantly: unless it can replace a smartphone I wouldn't have a use for it.


So I'm going to look like a retarded dick tracey when I start screaming into my iWatch and the guy on the other end can't hear me so tells me I'm holding it wrong?

Considering the iPhone in speaker mode works great even when lying on a table a meter away from you I doubt that would be much of problem.