As rumors swirl around the possibility of a smartwatch designed by Apple, which the tech industry has unofficially dubbed the iWatch, a report from the Financial Times indicated the technology giant is making some aggressive hiring moves as it attempts to create the device.
The article, which quoted unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said the hiring spree had kicked off because of the difficult engineering problems that the Apple team has so far been unable to solve. Regardless of whether the brains behind the project can solve technical issues, the sources indicated that company CEO Tim Cook may yet devise to shelve the whole project, which has been talked about in the press for years.
Earlier reports said the Bluetooth-enabled device would feature a 1.5-inch organic LED screen and be able to communicate with other Apple devices such as the iPad or iPhone. Apple also made several high-profile hires this month that also raised speculation about the company’s wearable technology products.
The company lured away Paul Deneve from the high-fashion brand Yves St Laurent, Bloomberg reported July 3. Deneve was previously also CEO of Lanvin and Nina Ricci. Deneve will report directly to Cook and be a vice president, working on “special projects,” Apple said in a July 2 statement, according to the report. The same report also said Apple is hiring Hulu executive Pete Distad to help with negotiations to acquire content for Apple TV, another long-rumored project that has been shrouded in mystery.
Adding fuel to the iWatch rumor file was a report at the beginning of the month that Apple has filed to trademark “iWatch” in Japan, pushing a product that rumors and unnamed sources have insisted is coming a step closer to being tangible. Japan’s patent office made information about Apple’s June 3 patent application public on June 27, according to a Reuters report, which said the patent would cover computers, computer peripherals and watches, and that it is unknown how long the patent process would take.
Apple is again facing competition from arch rival Samsung when it comes to wearable technology. Samsung Executive Vice President Lee Young Hee confirmed March 19 that Samsung has been working on a watch “for so long” and in the development phase of the project. Apple and Samsung are already fighting for market share with competing tablet and smartphone products.
The five most coveted Apple iWatch features are, in order of preference, email and text capabilities, the ability to receive incoming calls, GPS and maps integration, WiFi technology and weather updates, according a March survey of U.S. consumers by online shopping site BuyVia. The survey found that nearly one-quarter (26 percent) of respondents said they are interested in purchasing the watch, while 38 percent said they are not interested in purchasing, and 36 percent are unsure if they’d purchase it.