With Apple expected to announce its first smartwatch later on this year, the last few days of digging into the iOS 8 beta has been a partial attempt to unearth any watch-shaped clues. So far, not a lot has been discovered within the software, but this is to be expected given how secretive Apple likes to remain on unannounced products, and a plausible report out of Japan has just shed some more light on the wearable’s form factor, software, design and release date.

The Pebble, which has established a sizeable market during the course of the last year since its release, was the first to really delve into this uncharted territory through its record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, but even though Sony and Samsung have both shown their respective hands, neither of the two perceived giants have managed to impress so far.

iMe 7

iWatch concept

The stage is certainly set for Apple and the iWatch to stake a claim, and according to Japanese publication Nikkei, the device will launch in October and run a variant of iOS 8. Moreover, it will pack a rounded, OLED display, which ties in nicely with previous reports to this effect, and will include a plethora of biometric sensors that will no doubt aid the quest of gathering health-related information from the wearer.

As per a number of older reports, the iWatch will also arrive in two different size configurations, with a 1.3-inch-displaying model apparently geared towards women alongside a larger, male-aimed 1.7-inch variant.

One other interesting tidbit from the Nikkei report notes that Apple “plans monthly commercial output of about 3-5 million units,” pointing out that this is more than “the total global sales of watch-like devices last year.” In no uncertain terms, Apple expects this product to sell well, and kick-start a market that despite early promise from Pebble, has stuttered at the hands of those who’ve since joined the fray.

Apple’s path to smartwatch success isn’t without competition though, and with Google having recently taken the wraps off Android Wear, the likes of the LG G Watch and the notably impressive Motorola Moto 360 will also be joining, along with efforts from ASUS, HTC and others.

Add to that the news that Microsoft has its own device in the works, and you have essentially every major player in the mobile industry geared for battle. Just who will emerge as a dominant force in this emerging product division has yet to be decided, but whatever the case, the fierceness of the competition is bound to spawn some weird and wonderful devices along the way.

(Source: Nikkei)

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