Rumored for years, the long-awaited smartwatch from Apple may finally become reality in a few months.
The Wall Street Journal and Reuters are both reporting that the iWatch, if that is in fact it's name, will be released this fall, likely in October.
The Journal says the watch will come in multiple sizes and have 10 sensors for tasks like health and fitness tracking. Reuters says the watch will have a 2.5-inch screen and be "slightly rectangular." Both outlets cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
There's no reason to doubt the reports, really. Apple's top brass have all gone on the record suggesting a new product from Apple will be released by the end of this year.
So, with the countdown likely begun, we take a look at five features we'd like to see on Apple's smartwatch.
Really be 'smart'
The dirty little secret of smartwatches, at least so far? They aren't really smart in the same way that a smartphone is.
So far, the offerings from Samsung, Sony, LG and the like have operated as extensions of a smartphone, linking up via Bluetooth or wireless to, for the most part, serve you notifications that you could have seen by pulling your phone out of your pocket.
Apple may do something along those lines as well and could still make a successful product. But with their close ties with app developers, we'd love to see Apple make the first smartwatch that lets you leave your phone behind.
If you live in a household where at least a couple of people are competing for socket space to keep their smartphones, tablets, e-readers and the like charged up, things are probably already a tangled mess. Does anybody want one more device to fit in there?
Whether it's a wireless charging pad or some new tech whipped up by Apple especially for its smartwatch, we'd love to be able to just set the watch down on the nightstand and have it powered up and ready to go the next morning. And speaking of:
Nobody wants a watch that they have to charge up as often as they do their phone. At least for now, these things are nice extras, not essential communication tools, and if they become more trouble than they're worth, the love affair won't last long for even the most dedicated fanboys and fangirls.
The smartwatches already on the market average somewhere around two or three days on a charge. The ones that do more, like Samsung's Galaxy Gear, are on the low end of that and those that do less tend to be higher.
Apple is surely planning on releasing a feature-rich device. If it can somehow do that while figuring out how to jam a powerful battery into a tiny watch, it will be a nice selling point.
Apple's smartwatch is no doubt going to link up with your iPhone, and probably an iPad. But like a lot of other major tech companies, Apple wants to edge its way into a lot of other areas of your life, and it sure would be cool to be able to sync those other products with your watch.
Play music on your iPod or iPhone with a tap of the watch. Change channels or pause movies on Apple TV. Beam photos or videos onto your television set via Airplay. All those abilities would be nice.
And Apple is believed to be looking into the growing "Internet of things," or connected objects such as cars and refrigerators. This might be a while (and a couple of smartwatch generations) away. But if you could perform home automation tasks like opening your garage, turning off your lights or locking your doors with a watch, we'd be impressed.
Of course, it would be cool if the presumed iWatch would link up with non-Apple devices, like those running Google's Android system or Microsoft's Windows. But we're not holding our breath on that.
This is Apple. So, there's no reason to think it will depart from a model that's always worked for them.
Unfortunately for budget-conscious consumers, that approach is to roll out finely crafted products at premium prices even while devices with similar features can be had without the Apple logo for less.
But we hope this one is different. Nobody needs a digital watch and, as mentioned above, there's a decent chance that it won't even work unless you already own another, presumably pricey, Apple device. We'd like to see it priced as an affordable accessory for your iPhone in an effort to pull in customers who want, not need, one.
Of course, nobody needed an iPad either. More than 200 million purchases later, it feels like Apple knew what it was doing.