Inevitably nicknamed the iWatch, the Apple device, on which the company is characteristically not commenting, has the tech world in a frenzy of sci-fi speculation. James Bond, Dick Tracy, Inspector Gadget – the techno watch has been a mainstay of fanboy fiction for generations. But the internet revolution seems to have largely bypassed the watch, until now.
Apple reportedly has 100 employees looking at the device that will take advantage of recent developments in hi-tech curved glass, cheaper sensors and better voice recognition software.
What will the iWatch do? Monitor your health? Act as a credit card? A wrist-bound GPS? Laser cannon and teleporter? We'll have to wait and see but to be honest if that's all it does, you may as well strap an iPhone to your arm. Apple has a history of delivering surprises and the iWatch would be its first big new product since the death of founder Steve Jobs. The company will want to make a splash. Especially as arch-rival Google has its own "smart watch" in development and is already testing Google Glass, web-connected specs. Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook too are watching developments and have their own plans.
Last year analyst Forrester issued a report describing wearable computing as "the new platform war". Tech analyst Juniper Research estimates that wearable computing will generate $800m (£500m) in revenue this year and $1.5bn in 2014. Annual unit sales of wearable computers will rise from 15m this year to 70m by 2017.