The Financial Times reports that Apple has embarked on a "hiring spree" in recent weeks, aggressively hiring fresh expertise to step up development of its iWatch project and tackle design problems. This is now leading to speculation that not only may the device not be revealed until at least a year away, but whether Apple's own engineers even have the ability to develop wearable technology.
According to one source, Apple is looking for talent outside its existing staff in Cupertino to help solve "hard engineering problems that they’ve not been able to solve". The source also confirmed that the iWatch project has moved from an exploratory phase to one having several dozen employees dedicated to its development. However there's a chance Apple CEO Tim Cook could still pull the plug on the smartwatch project.
Sources point out that Apple's new hiring spree means the iWatch likely won't be revealed later this year along with the new iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Instead, it likely won't be ready until late 2014. Naturally Apple has declined to comment on the topic, but instead pointed to Cook's statement in April's earnings call saying that the 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."
News of a possible delay arrive after Apple lured Paul Deneve from his CEO spot at high-end fashion house Yves Saint Laurent. He will report directly to Cook and apply his special expertise in fashion and luxury goods on undefined "special projects". He will assume an executive role within Apple, and returns after working for the fruity company in Europe during the 1990s.
"We’re thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve to Apple," the company said in a statement. "He’ll be working on special projects as a vice president reporting directly to Tim Cook."
One source told the Financial Times that one senior member of the iWatch team had considered leaving the company, but decided to stay after Apple awarded him a substantial pay increase. The company is also reportedly seeking out acquisitions of early-stage start-ups working on connected devices.
It is highly unlikely Apple will terminate its iWatch project, as rivals Google, Samsung, Dell and Microsoft are currently producing their own smartwatch solutions. Sony just released the second generation of its SmartWatch, and Kickstarter project Pebble also just landed in Best Buy stores, the latter of which works with all Android phones and iPhones.