The latest rumors suggest that Apple's first foray into wearable technology will be focused on fitness and authentication.
Apple has been aggressively hiring experts in the fields of non-invasive sensor technology, leading to speculation that the company's upcoming 'iWatch' device will be geared towards biometrics, well-being and health tracking rather than simply displaying the time and alerting the wearer to smartphone notifications.
Earlier this week, the FT reported that Apple had been encountering "hard engineering problems that they're unable to solve" and as a result was recruiting new blood with wearable technology experience in order to get the ‘iWatch' project back on track. According to sources quoted by the publication, Apple is aiming to get the product out by the end of 2014. The latest report, courtesy of 9to5 Mac, suggests that it is also courting experts in healthcare and medical technology.
The company's CEO, Tim Cook, has made no secret of his admiration of the Nike FuelBand -- a wrist-worn device that tracks and records fitness data -- and a host of experts and analysts have separately claimed over the course of 2013 that Apple's smartwatch would use biometrics in order to authenticate the wearer as well as track health.
As more and more of the average consumer's life moves online, the risks of cyber attacks and identity theft also increase. Traditional passwords are not strong or unique enough to continue to provide adequate web protection and so other forms of authentication will soon be needed. Apple's iWatch could do just that by communicating wirelessly with a computer, smartphone or tablet and telling the device that a person really is who he or she claims she is.
But, if the healthcare hiring rumors are completely accurate, the iWatch would also be able to monitor glucose levels, sleep patterns and other vital health information.
In terms of the device's appearance, other recent reports claim that Apple has been working with Corning, maker of Gorilla Glass -- the ultra strong cover adorning most smartphone and tablet screens -- to develop a curved glass bracelet that would boast a small 1.5-2.0-inch multi-touch screen.
However, all that is certain is that to date, the company has filed trademarks for the term "iWatch" in Mexico, Columbia, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey and Japan.