Apple is "aggressively" hiring new engineers to help its iWatch team solve challenging design problems with the smart watch ahead of an expected 2014 launch.

That's according to the Financial Times, which on Sunday cited "people familiar with Apple's plans" in its report. According to the sources, Apple's own engineers have been faced with "hard engineering problems that they've not been able to solve," during the process of designing the iWatch, so have been forced to embark on a hiring spree in order to complete the project.

The newly hired engineers will presumably join the team of 100 people that Apple is believed to have working on a smart watch.

The hiring spree has sparked concerns that the launch of the highly anticipated iWatch device could still be a year away. However, it does indicate that Apple is pushing for faster development of the device.

The sources noted that Apple CEO Tim Cook could decide not to launch the iWatch at all, and highlighted that several ideas have been scrapped by Apple in the past.

Apple has been filing for the iWatch trademark in several countries, though, and the apparent hiring of several new iWatch team members suggests that the company is putting additional effort into the development of the wearable device.

See: Who owns the iWatch trademark in the UK?

And: Apple faces legal battle over iWatch trademark in US

Above: Further iWatch evidence includes a patent filed by Apple earlier this year

One source also claims that a senior member of the iWatch team decided against resign from Apple, a move that he had been considering, after being given a substantial pay rise.

While investors have been hoping that an iWatch would arrive this year, it seems unlikely that Apple will launch the new product until 2014. In addition to this latest report, other evidence that points to a 2014 launch includes Cook's comments that the company is working on "amazing" new products in "exciting new product categories" that will be unveiled in autumn and across all of 2014.

Earlier this month, Apple confirmed that former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent Paul Deneve has joined the company in a new role, working on "special projects," which many believe could include the iWatch.

See also:

Tim Cook talks wearable computing, snipes at Google Glass

Which way Apple ticks on the iWatch will show how gutsy the firm remains

Apple files iWatch patent