It's no secret Apple have a gadget in the works designed for our wrists, exerting a team of 100 staff led by Jony Ive to work full time on the project, as it has been reported in the past week.
It remains to be seen how such a device could be implemented in Apple's signature user-friendly style, with much debate ensuing over the possibility of the 6th generation iPod nano's UI or indeed a modified version of iOS being used. The Verge has lifted the veil, however, reporting that Apple has "chosen to rework the full iOS to run on the watch instead of building up the iPod nano's proprietary touch operating system", additionally noting that early prototypes have suffered with battery issues, falling far short of the 4-5 day runtime Apple is reportedly aiming towards. Navigating the issue of screen size is reportedly of high concern to the research team as well, where leveraging their voice assistant technology, Siri, may provide the functionality a wearable screen would not provide.
As the Cupertino-based company now has effectively an operations expert as CEO, we can be certain no "iWatch" would reach the shelves unless there's significant profit to be made. Bloomberg cites Citigroup analyst Oliver Chen, who estimates Apple could grasp up to 10% of the pre-existing $60 billion a year global watch industry. Chen goes on to comment: "This can be a $6 billion opportunity for Apple, with plenty of opportunity for upside if they create something totally new like they did with the iPod", also noting that Apple have drawn this success from creating products "consumers didn't even know they needed".
With Glass set for a late 2013 release and the Pebble smartwatch already on sale, Apple have limited time to secure the next big product category as they did with both the iPhone in 2007 and iPad in early 2010.