Apple’s iWatch may come earlier than originally thought


Apple may have more up its sleeve for the next product launch, a report says. (Photo by Aly Song of Reuters.)

As if there wasn't already enough hype around the new iPhones Apple is expected to launch next month, a new report from Re/Code claims that the firm will release a much-anticipated smartwatch alongside updates to its smartphone.

Re/Code's John Paczkowski -- who has an excellent track record predicting Apple's launches --  reported originally that the wearable would debut in October. But with Apple expected to host an event on Sept. 9 to show off new products, Paczkowski said, "Things have changed," and the wearable is now due a month earlier than expected.

Apple, notoriously quiet about products before they launch, hasn't confirmed that it's hosting an event on Sept. 9. Nor has the company ever officially confirmed that it's working on a wearable device; the closest it ever came was when Apple chief executive Tim Cook said that Apple thinks the wrist is "interesting" last year. (Such is the stuff that Apple rumors are made on.) Still, analysts say they've seen signs of Apple moving into this area. There's the Nike FuelBand wearable device, which Apple always supported and has even sold in its stores since 2012.  Apple has also announced that it's putting a greater emphasis on fitness and health apps in its upcoming update to iOS -- exactly the sort of programs that people use most with wearables.

If the new reports are true, the watch would be coming at a good time. Apple arch-rival Samsung revealed a new smartwatch -- adding to the five it already has -- on Thursday night. Called the Gear S, the watch features a 2-inch screen that curves around the wrist, eliminating some of the clunkiness that plagued earlier models. Samsung hasn't said how much the Gear S will cost or when it will go on sale.


The Samsung Gear S. (Courtesy of Samsung.)

In addition to the "iWatch" rumors, tech outlets are also heavily pursuing information about what Apple may unveil for its iPads and Macs beyond September's expected event. A report from Bloomberg, citing unnamed "people familiar with the situation," said that Apple's working on a 12.9-inch touchscreen device to launch in 2015-- essentially a big iPad to satisfy consumer appetites for touchscreens of all sizes. MacRumors is also reporting that Apple is looking to make a thinner MacBook Air, with a retina display, also in early 2015.

All Apple rumors need to taken with a grain or two of salt -- heck, maybe the big touchscreen is for the thinner MacBook Air -- but all the excitement does illustrate something very concrete. Apple is facing consumer expectations that possibly are even higher than normal heading into the 2014 holiday season. Apple executive Eddy Cue, who runs the firm's iCloud and iTunes businesses, said publicly in May that Apple's working on the "best product pipeline" he's seen in 25 years. Now consumers are waiting to see if the company delivers on that promise.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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