Rumor Roundup: The Apple iWatch

Apple's long-rumored iWatch has turned from an "if" into a "when," according to a recent reports. The Wire gathered up all of the rumors surrounding the iWatch, to bring you fully up-to-date:

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Apple's long-rumored iWatch has turned from an "if" into a "when," according to a recent Reuters report claiming mass production will begin next month. What can you expect from this new device? The Wire gathered up all of the rumors surrounding the iWatch, to bring you fully up-to-date:

When is it coming out?

Earlier this month, Nikkei reporter Yuichiro Kanemats heard from sources that the iWatch would hit the market in October. A source familiar with Apple's iWatch production told Reuters that manufacturing of the watch would begin in July and the commercial launch would come in early October. Taiwan's Quanta Computer Inc. will begin the mass production. Quanta has previously built Apple laptops and iPods.

An October launch date seems likely, and in line with past Apple release dates.

What's it called?

We don't have an official name, but iWatch seems likely. Apple could always pull a fast one, as they did changing Healthbook to HealthKit at WWDC earlier this summer.

What does it look like?

A source told Reuters the screen display would likely be 2.5 inches and slightly rectangular, with a watch face that protrudes from the band. The touchscreen would have a slightly arched shape.

However, another source told the Wall Street Journal that Apple will release several versions of the iWatch this fall. This opens the possibility for different screen sizes and looks. KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo also believes this will be the case, saying, "I expect Apple to launch multiple smartwatches that come with different designs as watches are fashion accessories. One design doesn't fill all." 

A variety of different screen sizes would also match the iPhone 6 rumors, which is expected to come in two sizes. 

If you're having trouble imagining it, 2.5 inches is huge for a watch. Think iCuff, not iWatch. Here's a "mock up" from Mac Rumors:

An iWatch with a 2.5-inch screen could have a Retina display of 480x640 with 326 ppi. As for the band, not much is known, as it is clearly secondary to the screen. A screen of this size would require at least a two-inch band, making it a bit bulky, and not particularly attractive.

What can it do?

iWatch's main job will be to measure health metrics, a perfect match to the recently launched HealthKit. That means being able to collect heart rate information, read pulse, measure breathing, and also measure fitness activity in a way similar to Nike's FuelBand. It will also be able to send and receive messages and voice chat when linked with an iPhone. Oddly, in Apple's first HealthKit commercial, they showed off every type of wearable tech except one of their own productions, the iWatch. Reports say it will also have wireless charging capability.

How much will it cost?

UBS analyst Steven Milunovich told investors that the projected average selling price for iWatch is $300. Nike FuelBand is between $99 and $149, and the Samsung Galaxy Gear is $199. That would put iWatch at a premium compared to competitors, but considering how loyal Apple fans are, the added cost should not affect sales.

Will this thing sell?

The Reuters source said Apple expects to ship 50 million units within the first year. Milunovich has a more modest prediction, he believes Apple will sell 21 million units in the 2015 fiscal year and 36 million in 2016. Those projections mean iWatch would add $6.5 billion in revenue to fiscal year 2015 and $11 billion in revenue to 2016. The Wall Street Journal source estimates between 10 million and 15 million units will be shipped by the end of this year. As a comparison, Apple sold 71 million iPads in 2013, along with 150 million iPhones.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.