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Though Apple is expected to unveil its hotly anticipated "iWatch" at a forthcoming Sept. 9 event, the device won't actually ship to consumers for some time, potentially missing the holiday season entirely and arriving in stores in early 2015, according to a new report.
Citing "sources in position to know," the well-connected John Paczkowski of Re/code reported on Friday that Apple's anticipated wearable device isn't shipping "any time soon." Though he said it's "not clear" when Apple plans to ship the device, he said that onlookers should "think early 2015."
Such a move wouldn't be unprecedented, as Apple had delays between the announcement and eventual launch of both the iPhone and iPad. However, both of those devices were introduced in January, just after the lucrative holiday shopping season.
Apple had a five-month lead time between the announcement of the first iPhone and its launch in June of 2007. The wait time between the unveiling and launch of the first iPad, which runs a scaled-up version of the iPhone operating system, was considerably shorter, at just over two months.
If the "iWatch" debuts on Sept. 9 and follows the iPhone's release schedule, it wouldn't hit the market until February of 2015. But if the company were to somehow reach production as quickly as the iPad did, which Paczkowski's sources apparently do not believe will be the case, Apple could have the first units on sale in November.
The latest rumor comes on the heels of claims from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who suggested earlier this month that Apple may be facing internal delays for the unannounced product. Problems in bringing the device to market are said to be related to components, system design, manufacturing, and integration between hardware and software.
Specifically, Kuo has claimed that Apple faces sapphire cover production bottlenecks, which he said may force the company to use glass screen covers for about half of the "iWatch" units it ships. He also believes the device will sport a curved AMOLED display built by LG Display that presents difficulties in manufacturing.
Apple send out invitations to members of the media on Thursday for a Sept. 9 event, where the company is widely expected to unveil both the "iWatch" and a next-generation "iPhone 6." While the next iPhone is expected to come in two screen sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches, and numerous parts for the anticipated handset have leaked online, much less is known about the "iWatch."
To date, there haven't been any parts leaked online suggesting what Apple's wearable project might look like. That would imply that manufacturing of the device has not yet begun. Rumors about the device's design, meanwhile, have been inconsistent on everything from shape to screen size.
Reports have claimed it will feature a touchscreen of some type, whether OLED or otherwise, and that the "iWatch" will run a modified version of the iOS platform that powers the iPhone and iPad. It's expected to connect to and act as an accessory for the iPhone, and also to focus on tracking and measuring health and fitness data. To that end, it's been speculated that the "iWatch" will be a key component of the new Health application built into the forthcoming iOS 8 update for iPhone.