Apple’s highly anticipated smartwatch entry will not be one iWatch, but a range of watches in a variety of branded styles and costs, people familiar with the deal told Venture Beat.
The majority of expectation has been around one smartwatch model, made directly by Apple, but the report indicates that Apple may follow a similar path to Google and its Android Wear smartwatches, partnering with several watchmakers to create iPhone-compatible smartwatches.
"I find it difficult to believe that Apple would want to relinquish control," said Ben Wood head of mobile devices at research firm CCS Insight, talking to the Guardian. "It would be a radical departure for Apple."
"They may partner with them to get some aspected of intellectual property, but Apple likes to control every aspect of the devices they make and that means owning it, controlling the message – it’s Apple’s brand," said Wood.
All about fitness and health
Swatch is the largest watchmaker in the world, operating under 18 different brands. The plastic Swatch watch was the watch of the 90s, popular with children and adults alike.
Apple will focus its smartwatch efforts on the expanding fitness and health market, pushing its Health kit software as the central repository for the “quantified self” movement on the iPhone.
"A number of the watchmakers like Pebble and Swatch, may decide that they want to integrate with Apple’s Heath kit," explained Wood. "Therefore they might be a partner, because they may have devices they’re going to announce which actually link into Health kit – a way of making the devices compatible with an Apple phone."
The company’s latest advert for its iPhone 5S focuses entirely on third-party fitness gadgets and apps including trackers like the Misfit Shine and Fitbit, Nike’s running apps and Adidas’s miCoach smart football.
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