Welcome to our iWatch release date, rumours and leaked images article. Here, we'll keep you up to date with all the speculation about the rumoured iWatch release date, so you'll know exactly when the Apple watch will launch. We'll also bring you the spec and feature rumours that are circulating the web. You'll find all of the iWatch leaked images here too. So check back regularly for the latest iWatch rumours and speculation. Updated on 21 May 2013
Rumours about an iWatch have been circulating since as far back as 2011, when it was believed that Apple had employed several new wearable computing experts to work on such device.
The speculation has been hotting up in recent weeks, with several reports citing various sources who claim that Apple is working on an iWatch for launch within the next year or two.
iWatch release date
The iWatch will launch during the first half of 2013
In December, rumours suggested that Apple and Intel are working on a Bluetooth smartwatch for debut in the first half of the year. Sources claimed that the watch would feature a 1.5 OLED display with ITO-coated glass from RiTdisplay. Some reports have suggested that the iWatch could be shown off for the first time at WWDC 2013.
The iWatch will launch in second half of 2013
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek has said that his checks indicate a greater than 50 per cent chance that Apple will launch an iWatch this year. In May, Foxconn reportedly began trial production of the iWatch. The company is believed to have ordered around 1000 units of the smart watch for a "small-scale trial production."
The iWatch will launch in 2014
In January, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster issued a note to investors suggesting that, while a hypothetical Apple watch is unlikely to debut any sooner than 2014, he does believe that wearable computers could replace the iPhone and smartphones in general over the next 10-plus years.
"We believe technology could progress to a point where consumers have a tablet plus wearable computers, like watches or glasses, that enable the simple things like voice calls, texting, quick searches, navigation etc. through voice control," said Munster. "Long term, screens in glasses or projectors could replace the necessity of a screen from a smartphone or tablet."
Apple CEO Tim Cook has hinted that Apple is working on new product categories ahead of a 2014 launch, too.
The iWatch won't arrive until 2016
One rumour that many hope isn't true is that there could be a three year wait for Apple's iWatch. This speculation is based Corning, which makes the Gorilla Glass usesd in Apple's iPhones, doesn't expect its new flexible Willow Glass to find its way into consumer products until at least 2016. However, some suggest that Apple will need to be quicker than that, and ex CEO John Sculley believes that Apple is experiencing a 'lull in innovation' and needs a 'creative leap', which could arrive in the form of an iWatch.
Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has said that Apple is losing its cool, but that he would welcome an iWatch.
In April, Wozniak added that Apple is working on new products that will "surprise and shock us all"
On 10 February, reports emerged suggesting that Apple is experimenting with watch-like wearable devices with some smartphone capabilities, as the company looks to new product categories for future growth.
The company has discussed the design with manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn, which has been working on technologies that could be used in wearable devices, according to The Wall Street Journal, who cites people briefed on the effort.
In April, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company is working on "amazing" new products for an autumn launch, and that Apple will introduce "exciting new product categories" in 2014, adding further evidence to the iWatch rumours.
Apple has team of 100 people working on iWatch
The report suggests that Apple has been exploring the wearable technology area for some time, and that the company has hired employees with backgrounds in sensors and related technologies in recent years. Not only that, but Bloomberg has also said that Apple has hired a team of 100 people who are currently working on a smart watch. SEE: Will there be an Apple watch?
In April, Apple board memeber Bill Campbell said that, while he is unable to reveal specific details about Apple's plans, consumers should anticipate "a lot of things going on with the application of technology to really intimate things," which many believe could include an iWatch. SEE: The iWatch revolution AND: 8 myths about the smartwatch revolution
In February, at Apple's annual shareholder meeting, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple is working on 'new product categories', again sparking iWatch speculation. He told shareholders that the only thig Apple won't do is release a lousy product.
Another clue that suggests Apple will be interested in entering the wearable technology market with a device like the iWatch is the activity of competitors. Microsoft is rumoured to be working on its own smart watch, Samsung has said that it has been working on a smart watch for some time, and Google is also reportedly building one. SEE: Apple's iWatch doesn't scare smart watch makers Pebble, MetaWatch
If that's not enough to convince you that an iWatch really could be on the cards, Apple has even filed a patent application describing a wearable computer with a flexible display that can snap around the wrist to become a smart watch, as shown in the accompanying illustration below. Another patent filed by Apple this year covers the ability for an iPhone or iPad to share location data with an accessory device such as an iWatch.
AND: The iWatch conundrum
iWatch would be money maker
In March, estimates indicated that Apple could make more from an iWatch than it would from an Apple television set. However, one report has even suggested that the rumoured iWatch might not be a watch at all. Instead, the article, written by Benzinga Insights, suggests that iWatch could be the name that Apple gives to its rumoured television set, dubbed iTV.
The iWatch will run iOS
On the same day as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times published a similar report that says that the watch would operate on Apple's iOS platform.
This would enable developers to create apps for the device, and Apple could also include its own apps in the iWatch, such as turn-by-turn walking directions and Find My iPhone.
The iWatch will use a flexible display
NYT also claimed that Apple's wristwatch would be made of glass that can curve around the human body.
Corning, the maker of the iPhone's Gorilla Glass, has already unveiled Willow Glass, the bendable glass that can wrap around cylindrical objects such as a wrist. The company's chief technology officer Pete Bocko told NYT: "Right now, if I tried to make something that looked like a watch, that could be done using this flexible glass."
In April, an Apple patent filing and job listing hinted that the company is interested in flexible displays for products that could include the iPhone, iPad and the iWatch.
Prior to the NYT and WSJ reports former Apple designer Bruce Tognazzini wrote in a blog post that the iWatch's value will be "underestimated" at launch, but will "grow to have a profound impact on our lived and Apple's fortunes."
Tognazzini has several ideas about the features he thinks Apple's iWatch will have:
The iWatch will charge wirelessly
Tognazzini points to Apple's wireless charging patents when suggesting that Apple will integrate technology into the iWatch to enable it to charge while still on the wrist via a wireless charger positioned several feet away.
The iWatch will be Siri controlled
Tognazzini also thinks that Apple will remove the need for buttons and menu trees in the iWatch by including Siri functionality. He believes that there will be some touch aspects to the device, but that Siri will handle the more complex tasks such as setting a timer or alarm, or forecasting the weather in particular locations.
The iWatch will act as an iPhone or iPad passcode alternative
Apple could use the iWatch to remove the need for passcodes to unlock iOS devices. The iWatch could act as a key that would unlock an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch when in close range of one another.
The iWatch will include a sensors for sports and health
It's likely that Apple will include several sensors in its iWatch that could track steps, pulse, flights of stairs etc. It could also include a proximity sensor to help you find it if you've left it in a drawer or dropped it somewhere in your house, Tognazzini suggests.
The iWatch will have NFC
Near Field Communication (NFC) "belongs in the iWatch, not in the iPhone!" says Tognazzini, who says that such feature would allow users to quickly and easily pay for things.
NFC is rumoured to be coming in the iPhone 6, but Tognazzini highlights that the iPhone could be tricky to locate whereas a watch is always found on the wrist.
The iWatch will be waterproof
Tognazzini expects that the iWatch will be waterproof too, and could be used to track swimming sessions and more.
The iWatch will have music features
It seems likely that Apple will incorporate some sort of music feature into its iWatch, what with the popularity of iTunes. Tognazzini suggests that the device could act as a controller for an iPhone to enable users to choose tracks, rather than storing music itself.
Some companies have previously experimented with wearable technologies, including watches. Microsoft, for example, launched a smart wristwatch around a concept called Smart Personal Object Technology it unveiled in 2002, but withdrew it after a lacklustre performance.
Toshiba also unveiled a prototype smartwatch that can pair with an iOS or Android phone and provide notifications during CES this year. The watch can alert users to calls, emails and calendar notifications, and can pull in news, weather, or GPS directions. It can also recognise the user's pulse pattern to disable the smartwatch's functions should a thief attempt to access it.
Other similar devices already on the market are the Pebble, Nokia and Fossil Bluetooth 4.0 watches, and the Sony SmartWatch that pairs with Android devices. A Bluetooth smartwatch was also demoed by Martian Watches at CES.
iWatch leaked images
There are currently no leaked images of Apple's iWatch, but several designers have come up with concept illustrations and mockups to demonstrate what such device could look like. SEE: On the Apple Watch watch
ADR Studio has created the 3D rendering of a possible iWatch as shown below. Click here for the full gallery.
Swedish designer Anders Kjellberg came up with the iWatch concept below [Via Maypalo].
Finally, Yrving Yorrealba came up with this transparent iWatch design, which he calls the 'iWrist'.
What do you think about the idea of an Apple iWatch? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter.