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Apple working on iWatch: sources

Cupertino assembles 100-strong project team to develop wearable device

Apple working on iWatch: sources
Apple is under pressure to release another trend-setting product.

Following escalating rumours of a new Apple device that resembled a wristwatch, Bloomberg reported today that two insiders have confirmed the development of the inevitably dubbed iWatch.

The sources said the Cupertino-based iPhone and iPad maker had assembled a team of around 100 designers to develop the product, which may perform tasks similar to Apple's smartphone and tablet ranges.

Apple CEO Tim Cook faces a number of concerns that have contributed to a 30% value slide for the company's stock. Increasingly agile competition from Samsung in both the tablet and smartphone segments has led to the loss of Apple's crown in the latter market. Analysts have also recently suggested that sales of the iPhone range will become ever more difficult as more affluent consumers have all made a product choice. Appealing to emerging market consumer bases would require a lower price point and Apple does not yet have a budget version of its flagship gadget.

Last year, the late Steve Jobs' partner in the founding of Apple, Steve Wozniak, expressed concern at Apple's lack of innovation, noting that post-Jobs launches had taken the form of iterations of old products and that Cupertino was not doing anything to shake the market.

"The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem," Bruce Tognazzini, a technology consultant and former Apple employee, wrote in a blog post last week. "Like other breakthrough Apple products, its value will be underestimated at launch, then grow to have a profound impact on our lives and Apple's fortunes."

It is not clear what the exact functional range of the iWatch will be, but the insiders said James Foster, senior director of engineering, and Achim Pantfoerder, another manager at Apple, are involved in the project. One of the sources said Apple had designed fitness-tracking devices before but had never brought them to market, but no specific mention was made as to whether the iWatch would have a similar application.

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