Rumor: iWatch will launch in October, add Cleveland Clinic as partner

By Jonah Comstock
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JONAH_COMSTOCK_HEADSHOTAt Apple's WWDC event earlier this month, the company finally announced its HealthKit and Health offerings, which will bring health tracking natively to the next generation of iOS. But there was no mention of Apple's long-rumored iWatch at WWDC. Now Nikkei Asian Review, a Japanese publication with a history of reporting Apple's release dates before they are announced officially, says Apple is looking to launch the device in October.

"Though the details of services have yet to be released, specs for the new product are being finalized, according to industry sources," wrote staff writer Yuichiro Kanematsu for Nikkei. "It will likely use a curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touchscreen and collect health-related data, such as calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood glucose and blood oxygen levels. It will also allow users to read messages sent by smartphones."

Other than the release date, none of this is particularly new. Apple hasn't said a single official word about a smartwatch device, but rumors have been floating around since at least February of 2013 when The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported on the device. The Times stated that “Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass, according to people familiar with the company’s explorations.” The WSJ wrote that the company “is experimenting with designs for a watch-like device that would perform some functions of a smartphone, according to people briefed on the effort.”

Evidence began to mount that the device would have health and fitness functionality in July 2013 when the company started making a number of prominent digital health hires. With the announcement of HealthKit, it seems likely the two products will be designed to work together. Nikkei reported that in addition to the Mayo Clinic, Apple is partnering with the Cleveland Clinic, and it will work with both institutions to figure out how to analyze data the smartwatch collects and apply it to medical use cases.

The other partnership highlighted in the report was with Nike, which further supports MobiHealthNews's prediction that Nike will be moving out of fitness hardware and focusing on software, in order to open a way for Apple in the marketplace. We've been pegging long-time partner Nike as a big part of Apple's iWatch plans since day one, but news of a large-scale FuelBand layoff in April made the connection all but assured.

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