Apple iWatch development hits engineering snag

Smartwatch tipped for a late-2014 launch.

Apple is aggressively hiring people to work on its forthcoming iWatch, but there are concerns the wearable device will not be ready until late 2014.

Sources told the FT the creation of a smartwatch is not proving to be straightforward as hoped and that"engineering problems" have held up development. There are no details as to what the trouble could be, but given the small form factor the device is expected to take there could be issues with any number of components ranging from the display to its power source.

According to another unnamed source, a senior member of the iWatch team also considered leaving Apple, but opted to stay after being awarded a substantial pay rise.

Rumours that Apple is producing the iWatch have been circulating for months, but these reports appear to confirm Apple is actively working on the product. However, the firm appears to be at least 12 months from bringing out the finished product, which could be worrying for investors especially as the smartphone market has started to show signs of a plateau.

Rival such as Samsung will no doubt welcome such news. The Korean firm is also said to be feverishly working on its own smartwatch, and if sources are correct about Apple's struggles, Samsung is likely to beat its nemesis to market.

The wearable technology market is relatively untapped. Sony claims to lead the way, stating at the launch of its Smartwatch 2 at the end of June that it has sold 500,000 devices worldwide.

Meanwhile, the Pebble smartwatch, which started as an idea on crowdsourcing website Kickstarter, has also shipped a healthy 85,000 units since January 2013. Even tech giants such as Dell are looking into diversifying into the wearable computer market as revenue from traditional markets such as PCs continues to slump.

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