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Rumor Roundup: Year of the iWatch


Apple's 'iWatch' Said to Arrive in October 2014 with Wireless Charging (MacRumors)

Some Chinese site claims Apple will release the iWatch in October 2014. However, according to MacRumors "C Technology's rumor track record is mixed." This stab at credibility suffers somewhat a couple paragraphs earlier in this piece, where MacRumors uses a "report" from Digitimes (of all places) as "evidence" the iWatch will be released in mid-2014.

Since this was the only rumor I could find this week, I decided to take a trip down memory lane regarding this perpetually "coming next year" product and consolidate some previous Roundup commentary on the iWatch. Some new comments with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight are appended.

Just to give you an idea of how completely stupid the iWatch rumors have been this year, here's my compilation of the number of times various sources came up in support of this thing's potential existence. Note that this is probably a ground-floor estimate; I don't read absolutely every rumor that surfaces about Apple, because if I did, I wouldn't have enough live brain cells remaining to keep my heart from stopping.

  • "People familiar with the matter" - 5
  • Analyst - 8
  • Digitimes - 2
  • Other Asian publication - 3
  • Rumor blog speculation - 3
  • Legitimate, verified news source - 0

February 2013

Apple Said to Have Team Developing Wristwatch Computer - Bloomberg

Apple purportedly has a team of 100 "product designers" working on an iWatch. Small problem: haven't we heard over and over again that Apple has an extremely small product design team? There's Jonathan Ive, a handful of lieutenants, and... well, that's about it, isn't it? If Apple has 100 "product designers" working throughout the entire company, that's news to me. Maybe if you start lumping in the software teams the number starts getting higher, but in terms of hardware design we're generally given the impression that Apple has a tiny cadre of people in this area.

Disruptions: Apple Is Said to Be Developing a Curved-Glass Smart Watch -

Despite the sensational headline and the supposedly aboveboard authority of the Times, this article doesn't really bring anything new to the table. Two people who are supposedly "familiar with the company's explorations" claim that "Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass."

I'm sure Apple experiments with lots of things, and the patents it applies for bear that out. Whether those products will ever find their way to store shelves is another matter entirely. I still think an "iWatch" is a niche product at best and a ridiculously useless bauble at worst, but that's without ever having seen leaked prototype components, much less a working model.

Naturally, given the provenance of this rumor, the Internet ran wild with it, with several sites making it sound like the iWatch is all but inevitable. You know, just like they have with the Apple HDTV and a pile of other rumorware.

March 2013

Apple's Planned 'IWatch' Could Be More Profitable Than TV - Bloomberg

Bloomberg doubles down on its prediction that the iWatch will launch this year. Of course, lots of people have said the same thing about the Apple HDTV, and that's nowhere to be seen either.

(I guess 2013 technically isn't over yet. Bloomberg still has a chance.)

Apple's watch will run iOS and arrive later this year, say sources | The Verge

The iWatch will supposedly run full iOS, according to The Verge's sources. However, those same sources say battery life issues are stymying Apple's efforts.

(Same comment here; there's still a couple of weeks left before The Verge looks completely stupid for posting this.)

Jony Ive Ordered Boxes Of Nike Watches - Business Insider

Jony Ive supposedly ordered a bunch of Nike watches in the mid-2000s, which Bloomberg takes to mean he's been thinking about the iWatch for a long time.

Hey, I'll bet Ive bought a car when he was 16 years old... BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Jony Ive to design iCar

Apple's HDTV reportedly delayed, iWatch may launch this year (BGR)

Peter Misek is at it again: the Apple HDTV is supposedly "delayed" yet again and due to launch "sometime next year," and he gives the iWatch a 50/50 chance of launching this year.

"Apple HDTV delayed until next year" is the headline that keeps on giving. It's like putting a readerboard sign in front of your restaurant that says "Free donuts tomorrow" -- you never need to pay off on the promise, because technically the board always says the donuts will be free at some future date.

(Peter Misek admittedly only gave the iWatch a 50/50 chance of launching, which is still better odds than any of Peter Misek's predictions about Apple ever coming true.)

April 2013

More signs point to 2013 Apple 'iWatch' launch (BGR)

In this case, "signs" can be defined as some analyst's random ravings about Apple's future plans, with no evidence to support any of his claims.

(Another analyst predicts a 2013 launch for the iWatch. *looks at nonexistent watch, looks up, raises eyebrow, taps foot impatiently*)

May 2013

Apple's 'iWatch' to come in late 2014 with focus on biometrics, analyst says (AppleInsider)

Some analyst says the iWatch won't come until late 2014. These guys have enough trouble accurately predicting what Apple will do three months in the future, much less a year and a half from now. This is also typical analyst behavior: make wild claims about some supposedly forthcoming Apple product for several months, then after no proof of its existence or imminent launch appears, make up some reason why the product was "delayed" until some date comfortably far in the future. Analysts have been playing this same game with the "Apple HDTV" for several years.

(As far as I can tell, this is the turning point between "iWatch will launch in 2013" and "iWatch isn't coming until late next year.")

July 2013

Apple files for 'iWatch' trademark in Japan for watch/handheld product (9to5 Mac)

From the article: "With Apple seemingly amping up the regulation processes for launching a new product, it seems likely that Apple is moving towards a launch for its long-rumored wrist device sometime soon."

Here's an alternate explanation: Apple has pre-emptively trademarked the name "iWatch" to stop Samsung or some other tragically unoriginal hacks from piggybacking off the well known "iDevice" branding by releasing a terrible smartwatch with that exact name.

A look at some flexible batteries that could power iWatch (9to5 Mac)

While this tech is cool, associating it with the so-called "iWatch" is a pretty big stretch. Remind me again how many credible reports have come out indicating Apple is building this thing? No, I said credible reports. No analysts, no "sources from the Asian supply chain," and no "people familiar with the matter." Is it a number greater than zero? (Spoiler alert: no.)

Reportedly leaked Bluetooth roadmap hints at future iPhone, 'iWatch' features (AppleInsider)

From the popular rumor blog destination of Non Sequitur City comes this... "report" is the charitable word for it, I suppose. Bluetooth SIG has mapped out some features it wants to roll out, and somehow that translates to "future Apple products will do all of this stuff."

We get it, guys. You want to be able to claim "FIRST!" when it comes to predicting future Apple products. But at least be sensible about it.

Apple 'Aggressively' Hiring for Smart Watch Project, Looking Toward Late 2014 Launch (MacRumors)

This is neither the first time we've heard that Apple is "aggressively hiring" for this entirely hypothetical product, nor the first time that the always in-motion launch date has slipped farther outward.

Here's a question: if Apple had never released the watch-like fifth-gen iPod nano, would we be buried under a mountain of stupid "iWatch" articles all these years later?

September 2013

Apple projected to ship nearly 65M 'iWatch' units priced at $199 in first year (AppleInsider)

Some analyst floats some nonsense numbers for a completely speculative product. For some reason, this is reported like it's actual news. Attention AppleInsider and the rest of you rumor blogs: please just accept that these so-called "analysts" know precisely Jacques-merde about Apple and stop polluting the Internet with their re-reported nonsense.

Apple iWatch rumored for 2H 2014 launch, priced between $149-$229 (BGR)

Hey, speaking of sources not worth paying the least bit of serious attention to, "Digitimes cites an analyst" --BZZZZT, super-duper-mega-ultra-fail. Next!

October 2013

Apple is reportedly testing iWatch designs with flexible OLED displays (BGR)

"According to a brief report from South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo" -- sounds legit!

"While there is still no firm sign from Cupertino that the company actually has a smartwatch in the works," don't let that stop us from speculating about it. Endlessly! And when this hypothetical, nonsensical product fails to materialize year after year, we can always claim that Apple has encountered manufacturing issues, or licensing problems, or any other excuse to cover up the fact that we have no idea what we're talking about and are completely making all of this up.

November 2013

Apple working to slim its iWatch via intermittent Bluetooth LE connection? (9to5 Mac)

"The question mark in the headline lets us retain our powers of legitimacy!" -9to5 Mac editors

From the article: "One of the barriers to widespread adoption of smartwatches is that existing models are not exactly sleek." That's one of the barriers, yes. Another is that existing models suck. Another barrier is that no one has come up with a justifiable use case for a smartwatch. Like, at all. It sounds like something out of an episode of Pimp My Ride. "Yo dawg, I heard you like touchscreens, so now you got one you can wear on your wrist, and you can read your email without having to take your iPhone out of your pock- dude, where are you going? Come back!"

Also, the "iWatch concept" image that heads this 9to5 Mac story makes me incredibly glad that it's Jonathan Ive who's doing design for Apple and not... not whoever this was. Ugggh.

Rumor: LG nearing deal to supply 'iWatch' OLEDs, Samsung not a candidate (AppleInsider)

Apple has shown zero interest in adopting OLED technology in any of its devices, and the iWatch is nothing more than an analyst's LSD trip. "Hard evidence supporting a near-future debut" for the iWatch "has yet to surface" according to AppleInsider. That's probably because the iWatch is and always has been a profoundly stupid idea.

Analyst: iTV plans put on hold for wearables debut in 2014 (9to5 Mac)

Kudos to 9to5 Mac for revealing the terrible provenance of this story right in the headline, thereby sparing the more seasoned and intelligent readers from bothering to click on it. Analysts don't know a damned thing about Apple's future plans.This particular analyst pulls off a truly spectacular whiff of a strikeout: he claims the Apple HDTV is delayed because Apple is focusing on launching the iWatch next year instead.

Just so we're clear, an Apple product that has never been confirmed to exist and that makes no sense for Apple to produce has apparently been delayed so Apple can focus on a completely different unconfirmed product which also makes no sense for them to build or sell. I'd say money can't buy you analysis like that, but unfortunately, apparently it can.

Report: Apple's iWatch will come in 1.3″ & 1.7″ models to accommodate men & women wrist sizes (9to5 Mac)

From the article: "DisplaySearch has a bit of a hit and miss track record when it comes to Apple product launches."

Mysteriously left out of the article: "But, pageviews, so here's a reprint of their latest vowel movement anyway."

As for the claim itself... this is the kind of article that makes me wish I had a pet bird, just so I could print it out and use it to line the bottom of its cage.

December 2013

Rumor: Apple taps Quanta to build bigger iPad, iWatch in 2014 (AppleInsider)

"The latest rumors on Apple's future products were shared on Monday by DigiTimes" - BZZZT, wrong, next!

Not only does AppleInsider do its readers a disservice by passing on garbage from DigiTimes, it goes on to spike its credibility by not writing a single word about DigiTimes' notoriously poor track record. Not even a single "sometimes reliable" qualifier for old times' sake.

Do you guys seriously think we'll just forget about how godawful DigiTimes' accuracy is if you stop mentioning it?

Okay. After all that, who's still convinced the iWatch is a real thing, one that actually has a legitimate chance of showing up on store shelves? Show of hands.

Those of you with your hands up, please report to level 5, where you will be assigned a section of wall to bang your head against. Forever.

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