Report: Apple hiring aggressively to tackle iWatch design problems

By , Jul 14, 2013

iWatch cocept (Martin Hajek, MacUser April 2013 issue 011)

According to people familiar with Apple’s wearable technology roadmap who spoke to Financial Times, the company is in search of “fresh expertise” and has begun hiring engineers “aggressively” to help with the rumored smartwatch project.

Now, Bloomberg said in February Apple had tasked 100+ engineers with iWatch work.

According to one source who spoke to The Financial Times on the condition of anonymity, the project has faced “hard engineering problems that they’ve not been able to solve”, prompting the leadership to look for outside help…

Tim Bradshaw, reporting for the Financial Times newspaper:

The company has begun hiring “aggressively” for the project in recent weeks, say people familiar with Apple’s plans for the wearable device, a move that shows it has stepped up development but which raises questions over the ability of its own engineers to develop wearable technology.

The iWatch recruitment drive apparently has included acqui-hires in an effort to bring in talented engineers that work on connected devices for various startups. In addition to acqui-hires, Apple has been recruiting experienced senior executives, the story goes.

One such example is the outgoing fashion house Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, whom Apple hired to work on undefined “special projects”.

According to the newspaper, the iWatch project has progressed from an “exploratory phase” to “having several dozen employees” dedicated to its development. Indeed, the patent filings and the worldwide iWatch trademark tour suggest there’s enough smoke to make us think there’s a fire here.

iWatch cocept (Martin Hajek, MacUser April 2013 issue 010)

The Financial Times story speculates Apple may be facing difficulty retaining high-ranked employees with one senior member of the iWatch team – who had been apparently considering leaving the company – deciding to stay “after being awarded a substantial pay increase”.

This could be alluding to Bob Mansfield, whom Apple un-retired and appointed SVP of Technologies following the August 2012 management shake-up.

The October 2012 feature published by Bloomberg Businessweek claimed Cook offered Mansfield “an exorbitant package of cash and stock worth around $2 million a month to stay on at Apple as an adviser and help manage the hardware engineering team”.

iPhone 5 promo (Bob Mansfield 001)

Mansfield is thought to be spearheading iWatch work as he had apparently developed particular interest in wearable technology.

One of the people familiar with Apple’s thinking told the author the timing of the hiring spree indicates the device would not be ready for launch “until the latter part of next year”.

Bloomberg in March quoted a source close to the company as saying Apple was seeking to introduce an iOS-powered wristwatch device by year’s end, suggesting a Christmas launch was in the cards. A little later, the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said there was a good possibility we won’t see the accessory until late 2014.

Financial Times cautions Apple CEO Tim Cook could still scrap the project if Apple found the engineering difficulties insurmountable given the current state of technology.

Cook told investors on recent conference call that Apple is hard at work on some “amazing new hardware, software and services that we can’t wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014,” the usual code-word for “we’re working on some stuff” which doesn’t really reveal anything substantial.

iWatch renders by Martin Hajek.

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  • seyss

    a lot of people (including me) stopped using watches when smartphones came.. I don’t think these ppl will wear watches again, especially watches that tries to do what phones are already doing

    • Max

      Now a days watches are used for looks and appeal.
      If Apple’s watch looks good, then the additional functionally is a bonus.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        I wear a watch for purpose of keeping track of the time when my iPhone isn’t in my hand….especially when seated.

    • Maxim∑

      pebble smartwatch got 275,000 orders. Imagine what apple could do…

    • Ishaan Malhotra

      People are still gonna buy it just for the sake of buying it

    • MacDevil

      This. I just can’t see how a smartwatch would fit into my life. What’s the feature that it brings to the table that I don’t already have with my iPhone? Getting notifications on my wrist? I think I can handle the extra second it takes to pull my iPhone out of my pocket thanks. What will it do better than the iPhone? As Steve Jobs reminded us when he introduced the iPad, if the product can’t do at least one thing better than what’s already on the market, it has no reason for being.

      • Patrick

        well if your working like me and are not allowed to use your phone during work you would still be able to see your stuff e.g. notification, texts ETC and use to know how long you have left until you finish, cant wait to get rid of my rolex and buy myself an apple iwatch

      • iosPixel

        Send that Rolex my way. Style over functionality for my wrist please :)

  • Gróf Attila

    these mockups look amazing.

    • nyangejr

      i want one like that

  • ExRoot

    Question…. What is the purpose of the mock ups? Do people really get satisfaction from them. There are not from apple. I never get it. Silly. Someone below said they want one based on the mockup. Delusional?

  • Anonymous

    If I can facetime with it I’ll buy it

  • Dady King

    If I-watch is connected to iPhone,
    We can respond our messages or call through voice while riding, playing, etc.
    Very useful for chefs because I being a chef, my hands are always busy and sometime I have to be very carefull while removing my iphone from pocket. In that case I can straight away view/respond from my I-watch.
    If its water proof one can still operate while taking shower, toilet or swimming pool.

    • n0ahcruz3

      I agree with this, and put a hologram when doing facetym lol

      • iosPixel

        Well if they’re gonna do that I want lasers.

      • Guest

        Yeah totally. And make me a latte

  • n0ahcruz3

    If i would wear a watch again its going to be a rolex. I wouldnt wear a watch that i will constantly need to charge. So impractical IMO. Apple might aswell ditch iphone put a sim on the watch.

  • Jason

    That photo reminds me of Matt Foley living in a van down by the river!

  • onebyone_

    I think if apple launch the iWatch in the next year, it will not able to make facetime until iWatch S or 2, but first, they will need make a better integration with SIRI and make or buy a powerful mini or nano processor to run this tasks, may be this will happen until 2015 or 2016 because they need to analyse the “smartwatch market” with the introduction of his new product to see if will able to make a hardware upgrade.