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Apple iWatch: Coming soon, runs iOS, to earn mucho mazuma

Rumor mill spins at light speed

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Reminiscent of the hypegasm that preceded the releases of the iPhone in 2007 and iPad in 2010, rumors of Apple's impending "iWatch" are flooding the intertubes, with the latest being that it will be released this year, will run iOS, and will rake in gobs and gobs of cash for a company that has seen its stock take a relentless beating in recent months.

Last Friday, The Reg told you of Corning Glass Technologies president James Clappin's remarks that its flexible Willow glass wouldn't make it into products for three years. Seeing as how Corning is all but certain to be secretive Apple's iPhone glass supplier, that seemed to indicate that a flexible snap-on-your-wrist iWatch as detailed in a recent Cupertinian patent application was a few years off.

Or not. This Sunday, Patently Apple reminded world+dog that last summer The Korea Times quoted LG Display CEO Han Sang-beom as saying that his company would be able to mass-produce flexy OLED displays by the second half of this year – which matches the time frame mentioned in earlier iWatch rumors.

On Monday, The Verge tossed a bit more meat into the rumor grinder, reporting that, yes, Jony Ive and his 100-engineer team are readying the iWatch for a 2013 debut, and that their sources tell them that the li'l wrist-mounted device will run a pared-down version of iOS, as does the iPhone.

Interestingly, Apple's recent iWatch patent application makes no mention of the wrist-mounted device having a full-blown processor able to run iOS itself; it instead describes the iWatch as communicating wirelessly with "a processor in a portable electronic device" which would do the heavy lifting.

That said, The Verge goes on to report that its sources say the inclusion of iOS on the device itself is causing Ive's team to run into battery-life problems; no mention is made of the patent application's description a "kinetic energy gathering component" and "ambient light energy collectors" designed to trickle-charge the device's battery.

These are all rumors and patent-application blue-sky proposals, folks – believe what you will when it comes to what'll possibly appear in a possible product on some possible future date.

Finally, Bloomberg reported on Monday that Citigroup analyst Oliver Chen is of the considered opinion that the high gross margins in the luxury-watch biz might provide Apple with far more revenue from an iWatch than that of another oft-rumored bit of Cupertinian kit, the big-screen Apple television.

"This can be a $6 billion opportunity for Apple,” said Chen, "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."

Speaking of things consumer didn't even know they needed, Google Glass – our candidate for most overhyped bit of gadgetry since the iPad and iPhone – has been grabbing more than its share of headlines, eBay action, patent-application news, and brickbats these days.

In the wild and wooly world of gadgetary hype, we'd say that Google Glass and the iWatch are running neck and neck, with Glass possibly enjoying a short lead due to that fact that it has actually been seen outside product-lab walls.

But when has the lack of actual hardware stopped Apple fans – including this one, your Reg hack sheepishly admits – from bouts of unsupportable speculation? ®

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