The race for your wrist: Apple iWatch tipped for release in 2014

by: Nate SwannerAugust 28, 2013

Apple Logo iPad 3 1600

Recent reports suggest the Apple smartwatch will arrive sometime in 2014. ZD Net is reporting that two Taiwanese firms, both of whom build devices for Apple, have received orders “to make the iWatch”.

“Apple is likely to introduce ‘iWatch’ in 2014. From our channel checks, Inventec is the major assembly source for ‘iWatch’, with about 60 percent of order allocation” said Wanli Wang of the banking firm CIMB. These orders, of which Inventec reportedly has 60% of the projected 64 million units, are being split with Quanta computer, who was recently tapped by Apple as a final assembly point in the US for their Mac computers.

We’ve seen companies like Samsung follow Apple’s lead into a market segment before, and eventually overcome Cupertino in market share.

Apple, if all reports are correct, now has two manufacturers for their watch, and a team of 100-plus engineers working on the device. Google is also said to be working on a smartwatch, with Sony and Motorola already established in the wearable marketplace. Samsung is ready to announce their new Galaxy Gear watch, and Kickstarter is ripe with devices like the Pebble and Omate TrueSmart.

Samsung plans to announce what could be a dynamite offering for the wearable segment, and the TrueSmart from Omate is a very robust all-in-one. Google, if they introduce any new watch during their Nexus event this fall, will probably sit near the top of the heap as well. We’ve seen companies like Samsung follow Apple’s lead into a market segment before, and eventually overcome Cupertino in market share. This time, they’ll lead the way.

The difference this time? Apple will follow.

An Apple smartwatch promises to be a thoroughly useful and delightful device, as most of their products are. We can safely assume it will be well built, with a delightful screen, and have plenty of assistance from Apple store employees on best practises for utilizing such a device.

While companies like Samsung and Google historically let Apple set the trend, the tide is turning. Samsung and Omate are ready to stake huge flags in the segment, and Apple will be hard-pressed to gain a foothold beyond their loyal fanbase. Apple products are very tied into their ecosystem bubble, which could harm their chances, should a Samsung or Google offering offer iPhone support.

Same ‘ol song and dance

The similarity this time? Apple doesn’t care. Apple almost never reacts, they only act in the interest of their users. Seemingly comfortable in their own skin, Apple is ready to draw a line in the sand that users can easily decide to traipse over or not. Whereas the culture was once combative, and famously ‘thermonuclear’, Apple is now content to be different.

One thing is certain: Apple won’t care whether we like the iWatch or not.

Even if Apple follows Samsung or Google into the smartwatch segment, what they bring to the table will be decidedly poignant. These are crucial times for Apple, as their limited innovation of late has damaged both their stock price and patina. The iWatch will either be a monumental failure, or a triumphant victory — the first for Tim Cook.

Even though Apple will come to market “late”, they’ll make a grand entrance. For the tech obsessed, waiting to see what Apple brings to the table will be the order of the day, not jumping on board any ship that sets sail first. While offerings like The Galaxy Gear and TrueSmart are Android devices, and really interesting, they may not be the best offering in the segment. Apple may be second this time, but they may also be packing a punch.

One thing is certain: Apple won’t care whether we like the iWatch or not. Their stores will be packed with people clamoring to see it, and 64 million units will flood the streets. Market share or not, they set a trend at Apple. A trend nobody has been able to overcome, even when their devices are first out of the gate.

  • James

    Really want a smart watch but Samsung or Google watches will be best

    • Maher Salti

      well, lets just see what Apple will has to offer as well.. I’m in for innovation and change of direction for tech.. Whoever the vendor might be… :)

      • OmateTrueSmart

        Root for the underdog? Omate TrueSmart… we need all the support we can get to be The People’s Watch, kickstarted / crowd-funded by the people, people’s feedback built-in and a proper enthusiasts’ community on G+

        • Maher Salti

          I’ve seen the kickstarter.. I’m skeptical with it’s performance, is 512mb ram enough?

      • Bryan Z

        I agree I don’t really care who the vendor might be but I have to say I have my challenges with Samsung products I mean they don’t give android enough credit but that’s a whole other topic.

    • picassa

      I prefer a Nokia smartwatch :)

  • V-Phuc

    For once, I don’t care about who sets the trends. Desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone. I think I’m strapped with enough electronics for my lifetime. Why do I want something else that does the same thing as all the things I’ve already mentioned? Smartwatch or smart consumer? I think I choose the latter.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      The Smartwatch can go places your Smartphone cannot, eg. swimming, jogging, a day at the beach… we’ve also got a lot of people who are simply have been waiting for such a smartwatch… sailing hobbyists, bikers, chefs etc

      • abazigal

        Isn’t the smartwatch supposed to tether to your smartphone or something? So either way, it still cannot be too far away from your phone.

        • Bryan Z

          that’s a great point. I was wondering the same thing because in that video you see the guy running but you don’t see the phone. Can you leave your phone at home and just grab your smartwatch with you? or do you still have to carry it in your pocket?

          • abazigal

            The phone clearly won’t have space for a sim card. I think it will work like Google Glass and link to your smartphone and tap on its data plan to check email and stuff (either that or simply mirror whatever files and notifications you have on your phone).

            Consumers won’t be interested in signing for yet another data plan for a 3rd device anyways.

  • Jivester

    I just hope Samsung or Google will make one that looks GREAT, because I am pretty sure Apple will, it should be jewelry if it will have mass appeal, unfortunately that is where Apple continues to dominate…Although I think Motorola has it in them to do the same after getting my X.

    • Bryan Z

      Well the thing here is that Samsung has dominated the low end of the market and therefore is going to have to make a watch for the market they are dominating, Apple dominates the high end of the market so they know they have to deliver a watch in a different manner. Also Apple has their own operating system I’m not sure how well can Samsung integrate their watch with android. Like I said in a comment above I’d personally like to see Google Make a Nexus Watch because it’d be cool and also because I have a nexus 4 :-p

      • abazigal

        Is the low end market going to buy an expensive smart-watch?

        • Bryan Z

          I don’t see it but in the end it’s all about perceived value. For example Samsung was trying to make the S3 seem more valuable than the iPhone because it has NFC but in the end it isn’t (at least from that angle) because to the majority of S3 users NFC is not the reason why they bought the phone. So samsung would have to not do that in and keep the prices cheap enough to keep appealing to the low end of this market.

          If I were samsung I wouldn’t release it this year just to be the first ones I would wait to see what people really perceive as valuable in a smart watch other than just having certain features on your wrist.

  • Tamadrummer94

    I wonder if the wait will deliver us a better product? Smart watch competition is heating up early and I’m really excited to see the contenders in full glory.

    • Bryan Z

      Lol that’s true! oh well that’s Samsung I personally would like to see google make a “Nexus-Watch” or something of that nature

  • OmateTrueSmart

    Cool, glad to deliver a solid watch, we might be the David vs the Goliaths, thanks to Kickstarters backing us, we’ve got a real shot at being the People’s Watch, plus we’ll probably ship first (October for Developers, November for Users) With the TrueSmart our design intention is to look and feel like a watch, works as companion to phone as well as standalone… and with Sapphire Crystal scratch proof, Google Play App store, Android 4.2.2, Dual core, etc Any questions, feel free to ask, we’re here to inform, communicate and interact. Here’s our Kickstarter :

    • Bryan Z

      Looks very cool, I look forward to hearing about it from actual customers before buying one for myself. Good luck!

  • End in sight

    Interesting, but I stopped wearing a watch back in 1993…years before I even had a mobile phone. I know many people like watches, and so all the new offerings are good for them. I for one, however, will never wear a watch again.

    But, I am sad Apple is waiting ’til 2014 on this one. I had hoped that they would launch their ideas soon so that Android could….ahem, borrow…their innovation and improve on it. I love that business model, even though lots of folks attack it. Looks like Apple wants to be second to market like they sometimes used to be back in the days of the Microsoft Wars. (sounds like I am talking about star wars…”back in the clone wars”, etc.) There is always some benefit of being second…

    Plus, I know so many Apple fans who MIGHT read an article about a new non-Apple product (eg: Sony’s new lenses), but they really don’t care to investigate until Apple releases something. Then they wait in line and go nuts. Ah well, I myself bought the Chromecast and I didn’t really even know what it was. $35? And it’s from Google? Sure, take my money and I’ll figure out later what I bought. So I guess I am the same. :~/

    • Bryan Z

      Were you impressed with Chromecast?

      • End in sight

        The real irony of my rash purchase is that I don’t even own a TV.

        But I tried it out at a friend’s house and it seemed cool. It was a bit laggy since the wifi was not as strong as I am used to. But if I buy a TV, I might use it.

  • Tim

    Can someone tell me why the need for a smart watch? Seriously. I stopped wearing watches when my cellphones started showing the time, which was quite a long time ago. All it seems like it will do is save you from reaching into your pocket.

  • Zv3r

    I dont get these watches!?

    Who wears a watch? Out of those people that do, who will wear a smart watch?

  • Piyush

    The author sure loves flame wars , apple was never first in any market like smartphone or tablet but they were who reinvented the smartphone with iPhone and tablet with iPad , its not the first who brings the product its first who does best and they have proved both the time correct.

  • Mvrcel Lgt

    i love my watches being analogue…it’s just that I don’t like having something digital interupting people with its shiny bright light and pulsating notifications that I need to recharge every few days. But that’s just me. I guess smartwatches will have their crowd, loads of them…can’t ever have enough tech, can you?

  • steve blow jobs

    no matter who makes it, the screen will be 2 small for me.