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The iWatch/Swatch rumor that was, and then wasn't


Citing an anonymous source, VentureBeat yesterday posted a spurious report claiming that Apple has been working with Swiss-based watch manufacturer Swatch in an effort to release a varied number of iWatch designs.

Apple has been working with at least one partner, Swatch, to release a line of smartwatches in variety of branded styles and price points, a source with knowledge of the situation tells VentureBeat.

While most Apple-watchers and media have been laser-focused on one or two "iWatches" from Apple itself, the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics and media giant may actually be working a number of partners in the watch business.

Apple and its partners will offer a family of smartwatches to suit all tastes "from geek to chic," our source says.

This source also told VentureBeat he "would be shocked" if Apple isn't concurrently partnering up with Timex.

Now meaty Apple rumors about upcoming products are certainly intriguing, but the danger in the oft-cited "source with knowledge" is that the source is too often wrong. This is especially the case when we're dealing with a mythical first-generation product that's likely subject to the most rigorous secrecy measures Apple has at its disposal. While there are a few reasons why the rumored Apple/Swatch partnership should have raised red flags from the get go (not the least of which is an ongoing trademark dispute between the two companies), why not let Swatch speak for itself.

No less than 24 hours after the rumor began spreading like wildfire, Swatch outright denied it.

Reuters reports:

A spokeswoman for Swatch Group said on Thursday the report was unfounded. She said the only business relationship Swatch Group had with mobile phone makers was as a supplier of integrated circuits and other electronic components.

What's more, Swatch CEO Nick Hayek told Reuters yesterday that "he was not interested in teaming up with a tech group to develop a smartwatch."

And oh yes, there's this also this quote from Hayek made about a year ago.

"Personally, I don't believe [an Apple watch] is the next revolution. Replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist is difficult. You can't have an immense display."

It's one thing to make reasonable and educated guesses about future iPhone models, but a device that hasn't even seen the light of day? Well, that's almost as absurd as making sales projections for such a product.

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