Apple is moving closer to revealing its first smartwatch device, with "sources familiar to the matter" reporting that Apple will release multiple versions in its first foray into wearable device technology.
The iWatch will be launched in autumn this year, although Apple is not the first to produce a smartwatch, with Sony and Samsung both already having launched (unpopular) models.
However, they are generating some enterprise interest. Virgin Atlantic director of information Dave Bulman recently told Computing about the airline's successful trial of Sony Smartwatches, along with Google's own foray into wearable technology, Google Glass smartglasses.
Apple's relatively late entry into wearables - the company is often seen as a technology innovator - could be an advantage in this case, with sources close to the company telling The Wall Street Journal that Apple is designing its smartwatches to address criticisms of current devices. These are sometimes perceived as only performing the functions of a smartphone, but on the wearers wrist rather in their hand.
One area it is believed Apple is looking to offer new uses for smartwatches is in healthcare, with the company having demonstrated it's new health app last month, designed to collect and monitor information about the user's exercise activities. Such information available on a smartwatch could make it a useful tool for monitoring the health of patients in the healthcare sector.
Production of Apple's smartwatch - reportedly known as the iWatch - will begin in Taiwan later this summer, ahead of an October launch, according to reports.
The device is expected to come with the option of different screen sizes so that it can be customised for user preferences and sources reportedly believe that up to 15 million of the devices will be shipped by the end of this year.
Apple has yet to actually officially confirm that it's developing wearable technology, but CEO Tim Cook hinted at it earlier this year when describing the Cupertino firm's product plans for 2014.
"There will be new categories. We are not ready to talk about it, but we're working on some really great stuff," he said.
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