Apple has embarked on a hiring spree to tackle design problems with its "iWatch" wrist computer, bringing in fresh expertise amid concern that the launch of its first new product since the death of Steve Jobs could be at least a year away.
According to the Financial Times, Apple has begun hiring "aggressively" for the project in recent weeks, in a move that shows it has stepped up development. Apple is having to seek a fresh view on the iWatch as it repotedly poses "hard engingeering problems" which Apple is trying to solve in order to develop wearable technology.
Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, could still decide not to launch the product, just as past ideas have been scrapped, these people said. However, the iWatch -- a brand for which Apple has made several applications to trademark -- has now progressed from an exploratory phase to having several dozen employees dedicated to its development.
The new report also confirms a previous rumour which said the iWathc might be launched in 2014. Apple declined to comment, but Mr Cook said in April's earnings call: "Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services that we can't wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014."
Apple's iWatch recruitment efforts have included seeking out acquisitions of early-stage start-ups working on connected and wearable devices. Making so-called "acqui-hires" has become common practice in Silicon Valley, where engineering talent carries a high premium, even for top companies such as Apple.
There are also rumours that other companies such as Google, LG and Samsung are also building a smartwatch device, while Sony is one step ahead of the curve, having released a second version of its Android-powered smartwatch.
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Image Source: Images of the iWatch by Martin Hajeck