Apple's Fashionable iWatch To Come In Multiple Designs With Plentiful Sensors

But can Apple crack the smartwatch code?

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Sports sells Gatorade, and sports sells sneakers, and sports sells clothing and hats and bottle openers. And anything that has enough surface area to hold a logo. But can sports sell the concept of the smartwatch?

A concept for iWatch

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That’s what Apple might find out beginning in October, the rumored launch date of the iWatch, according to a new report from 9to5Mac.

Apple has teamed up with professional athletes in order to test the upcoming iWatch's fitness capabilities in intense training environments, TechCrunch reports

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Apple is said to be working with Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Kings right winger Dustin Brown, and a few other star athletes, including a player from the Boston Red Sox, on the testing project.

The athletes are said to have signed non-disclosure-agreements regarding the existence of the upcoming Apple wearable device. Nonetheless, Bryant was spotted at Apple’s campus last month meeting with Apple design chief Jony Ive. Indeed, the meeting between the pair is said to have been in regards to “iWatch” testing…

Meanwhile, The WSJ reported that the iWatch is being developed as a fashion piece, to ship in two different designs. It will include more than 10 sensors to track and monitor health and fitness data.

One of many iWatch concepts.

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The device, widely dubbed the iWatch, is said to include over 10 sensors, with some dedicated to tracking users' health and fitness. Apple is planning to "address an overarching criticism of existing smartwatches that they fail to provide functions significantly different from that of a smartphone," according to one WSJ source.

As growth in smartphones and tablet computers slows, Apple and others are considering wearable devices as an enticing new market. Smaller sensors, flexible screens and ubiquitous wireless connectivity have the potential to usher in a new era of computing where all devices will become "smart," collecting and processing data from daily life.

Besides being a fitness device, the iWatch will be positioned as a fashion accessory, according to the source with knowledge of the device’s testing with celebrity athletes, 9to5Mac reports

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The Jony Ive-designed product will feature an elegant design and a display that a report yesterday explained as slightly rectangular. The source also noted that the device, as other have reported, is expected to come in two distinct variations.

Another source said that former Yves St. Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, now a vice president at Apple reporting to Tim Cook, has been creating strategies for selling fashion products in Apple’s stores. Former Burberry CEO and now Senior VP of Apple Retail Angela Ahrendts is also likely involved in preparations for marketing the future Apple wearable device.

It is unclear if Apple will leverage these testing partnerships with athletes for future marketing strategies or sponsorship deals for the fitness product. Bryant is a current Nike partner, and with Apple working closely with Nike on fitness functionality, a marketing deal with Bryant seems like a natural fit.

In addition to fitness, health-tracking, and fashion components, sources say that the smart watch will run a variation of iOS and include advanced maps functionality

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The device has been rumored to include a screen with a size between 1.5-inches and 2.5-inches, and this will provide room for Apple to include a usable version of iOS for the product. iOS 8, running on the iPhone and iPad, includes technologies fit for a smaller device such as widget applications, more intuitive messaging, and the ability for devices to be more easily paired.

A source says that the watch will be heavily reliant on the iPhone and will be designed to share an internet connection with the smartphone.

The new details of Apple's plans come ahead of Google's I/O conference for developers next week in San Francisco, where wearable devices are expected to be a major focus

Already rivals in smartphone software, Apple and Google are expected to battle to control the health-related data collected by wearables. Earlier this month, Apple announced HealthKit, a system to collect and share data from various third-party wearable devices and apps. It also announced an app called Health to monitor that data on the iPhone. Google is expected to follow suit with a similar service at its conference next week.

Read about Google's health-data app called Google Fit

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