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Apple reportedly on hiring spree ahead of iWatch launch

If you don't think that Apple is actively working on a wearable iDevice, well, you're probably wrong. Not only has the tech giant already filed for a trademark for the name, "iWatch" in Japan, but a new report from the Financial Times suggests that Apple's also looking to ramp up the number of employees working on the company's still-just-a-rumour device.

According to unnamed people "familiar with Apple's plans," the company has allegedly started "aggressively" hiring new employees for the "iWatch" project over the past few weeks. While the exact make-up of the kinds of employees that Apple's looking for is unknown, it's been said – by one of the unnamed sources – that Apple has apparently encountered some engineering problems that it hasn't been able to overcome on its own.

That's bad news for the nearly one-in-five people who are interested in purchasing an iWatch, as described in an April poll of 1,713 American consumers by ChangeWave. As the Financial Times reports, the hiring spree is likely to coincide with a pushback of the device's eventual release date – which many were hoping would end in a "2013."

It's now more likely that Apple's wearable device will enjoy a spot on the shelves of Apple's many stores at some point in 2014, perhaps even the latter half of the year if the Financial Times' sources are to be believed.

If that's not enough for you to believe that Apple has some kind of wearable device in the works, consider Apple's moves as of late. First, there's the recent hiring of Paul Deneve, formerly of fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, who has been tasked with working on "special projects" at Apple – an obvious choice for a company concerned with marrying design with fashion.

The New York Times' Nick Bilton reported in February of this year that Apple was allegedly looking into "wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass." The device would (obviously) use iOS as its software base and, as you might expect, Apple refused to comment on any part of the Times' speculation.

There's also the simple fact that wearable devices are a growing, yet untapped market for Apple to dip its toe into, and it's a market that's been validated by the growth of devices – and people buying them – across a wide range of uses.

As mobile and Apple expert Sasha Segan puts it, "Apple tends to enter new markets once there's significant tech-world interest in a new technology, but while there are still usability problems Apple could solve. Apple arrives after the first pioneers, but before a category has entrenched leaders. It makes a category mainstream not by increased functionality, but by better usability."

Or, to phrase it the Tim Cook way, "it's an area that's ripe for exploration, it's ripe for us all getting exciting about," said the Apple CEO at the All Things Digital conference this past May.

"I see [wearables] as a very key branch of the tree," he also mentioned.