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While smart watch products from companies like MetaWatch and Pebble are currently duking it out for a spot on consumers' wrists, there's also a shadow being cast on the battlefield by larger firms that may be prepping smart wristwear of their own. One such company is Apple, which is said to be prepping a watch that runs iOS.

Rumors of Apple's iWatch have been swirling for months now, with reports suggesting that design head Jony Ive is involved with the project. It appears that Apple may not have had quite enough talent for the project already inside its Cupertino labs, though, as sources speaking to the Financial Times claim that the company has been "aggressively" hiring for its watch project in recent weeks. Tipsters suggest that this hiring boost could indicate that the iWatch may not launch until later in 2014.

In addition to bringing on fresh talent, it's said that Apple is focused on keeping its existing iWatch team members on the project. Today's report claims that one senior Apple employee recently received a large pay raise after thinking about leaving the firm. As of now, it's said that Apple's iWatch has "several dozen" employees that are focused on crafting it, which also suggests that the company is stepping up its watch development efforts. 

Apple has never come out and confirmed or denied the rumors that it's got a smart watch in the works. However, CEO Tim Cook teased on Apple's Q2 2013 earnings call that his firm has "really great stuff coming in the fall and across 2014," which many speculated could be a reference to an upcoming watch product. Details on the iWatch itself are still light, but with the smart watch category growing, it'll be interesting to see what kinds of watches Apple and others create and how they market the wristwear to mainstream consumers.

Via Financial Times


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