People are understandably giddy about Apple's rumored iWatch. Indeed, with so-called "wearable computers" like Google Glass generating so much buzz, some prognosticators believe that laying claim to a relatively young smartwatch industry could be just what Apple needs to prove it isn't over the hill — and might even be the market-defining product that finally allows Tim Cook to step out of Steve Jobs' shadow. "This can be a $6 billion opportunity for Apple, with plenty of opportunity for upside if they create something totally new like they did with the iPod, something consumers didn't even know they needed," analyst Oliver Chen tells Bloomberg.
But what would the iWatch look like and do? Here's a compendium of everything we know about the project so far:
1. Jony Ive is leading the charge
The design wizard behind Apple's signature aesthetic is spearheading the iWatch project, with 100 engineers working under him, reports The Verge. Indispensable during Jobs' reign, Ive has long expressed an interest in creating functional timepieces. "Besides owning many high-end models himself, he had his team visit watch factories and ordered boxes of a sports watch made by Nike Inc. in the mid-2000s," reports Bloomberg.
2. Its glass will "curve" around your wrist
There already is an Apple watch... kind of. More specifically, there exists a bevy of third-party housing bands that transform the iPod Nano into something of a fashion statement for your wrist. The rumored iWatch, however, is said to utilize a curved-glass touchscreen that wraps all the way around, allowing it to boast much of the iPhone's functionality. Earlier reports stated that Corning — the company that supplies phone-makers with the tough and rugged Gorilla Glass for their screens — is pioneering a new design: Willow Glass, which, as its name suggests, can flex and bend under pressure.
3. It might look like a slap bracelet
Apple has reportedly filed some 80 patent applications that include the word "wrist." One in particular that caught the tech press' attention was for a "bi-stable spring with flexible display" that "allows the accessory device to be easily worn in a number of convenient locations." In other words, Apple's rumored iWatch might not be too dissimilar from a '90s slap bracelet that clicks on.
4. It may run a full version of iOS
Both Bloomberg and The Verge report that a full version of iOS on the wristwatch is still a possibility, which, if true, would seemingly dispel the notion that the iWatch is some sort of peripheral like a Bluetooth headset. The iWatch will also reportedly come packing an accelerometer, a pedometer, and other sensors for monitoring health data, including your heart rate, à la the Nike Fuelband.
5. Battery life may be an issue
Technology is always shrinking, except for one crucial component — the battery. That's because lithium-ion batteries — which power everything from your phone to your laptop — rely on size to house the chemical reaction necessary to power your electronics. More size means more juice. That said, a tiny do-everything computer on your arm would understandably be a battery hog, which is why, according to reports, keeping the iWatch charged for more than a few hours continues to be a problem for Ive's design team.
6. You might be able to wear one before the year's end
One insider tells Bloomberg that "Apple seeks to introduce the device as soon as this year." Our best guess? Probably around October, as a companion product for the next iPhone and right before the holiday shopping frenzy.