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Network World - In the world of tech, where eyes are typically focused on "the next big thing," the speculation and noise surrounding Apple's next big move continue to grow louder.
Everyone is wondering which product category Apple will disrupt next, a fair question for a company that most recently revolutionized the smartphone market just a few years after turning the music industry on its head.
Recently, rumors of Apple releasing a branded HDTV have taken a backseat to reports that Apple is working on an iWatch that could be released later this year, although most recent reports push a possible launch date back into 2014.
[AN INSIDE LOOK: At the Apple iWatch]
But whatever the ship date, the company with a penchant for groundbreaking devices seems to be setting its sights on... wristwear.
While the very notion of wearable technology may seem futuristic, if not a bit absurd, the evidence that Apple has something secretive and potentially brilliant brewing behind its secretive walls in Cupertino is strong.
Here's what we know so far. Apple is working on an iWatch.
News that Apple was working on a smartwatch really picked up steam this past February when the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg each reported independently that Apple was developing an iWatch said to feature a curved piece of glass designed to fit comfortably over a user's wrist.
The timing of the reports, which all came during the span of one week, had the markings of a classic product leak, a strategy Apple will infrequently employ in order to pique the public's interest in an upcoming product.
There's no question that Apple is always researching and developing far-reaching technologies and radical products that have no chance of hitting the market anytime soon. That said, the rumored iWatch does not seem to fall into this category.
On the contrary, Apple's work on the iWatch appears to be substantial. By all accounts, the iWatch is much more than a cool research and development project; it's a product Apple is devoting a lot of resources to in the expectation that it hits the market sooner rather than later.
Rumors of an iWatch really went into turbo mode when Bloomberg reported that Apple now has more than 100 employees working on the project. The team is reportedly comprised of product managers, individuals from Apple's marketing group, and more importantly, a number of software and hardware engineers who previously worked on the iPhone and the iPad.
Citing people familiar with Apple's plans, Bloomberg noted that "the team’s size suggests Apple is beyond the experimentation phase in its development."
Also lending credence to the maturity of Apple's iWatch project are the folks rumored to be working on it, such as James Foster, a Senior Director of Engineering at Apple.
Shedding even more light on the team, The Verge subsequently reported that Apple's iWatch project is being led by Jony Ive, who is overseeing a team of more than 100 engineers.
While one may be quick to question why Apple's design guru is spearheading the project, remember that Ive took on added responsibilities at Apple following the departure of Scott Forstall. In addition to his position as Apple's Senior VP of Industrial Design, Ive is also the head of Apple's Human Interface group where he's now responsible for overseeing software design across the entirety of Apple's product line.