Is Apple on an iWatch Hiring Spree?

Apple GeniusesApple (NASDAQ:AAPL) watchers have been on the lookout for any signs of Apple’s iWatch ever since a Chinese supply chain source suggested that the Cupertino-based company was interested in developing the device last year. Unfortunately for fans of iOS-powered wearable tech, the only concrete evidence of Apple’s interest so far has been its multiple iWatch trademark filings in various countries.

However, insider sources via the Financial Times report that Apple has “aggressively” started hiring new employees to help it develop the iWatch. The sources also stated that this hiring spree seems to indicate that Apple has encountered “hard engineering problems that they’ve not been able to solve.”

As a result, Apple has been forced to explore buying smaller companies in order to get the specialists that it needs for its smartwatch project. The unnamed sources also report that the device is not expected to be ready until late next year.

This iWatch launch date prediction aligns with the time-frame provided by the well-connected KGI Securities analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo believes that the iWatch won’t debut until the second half of 2014. Kuo also predicts that the Apple smartwatch will feature a GF2 touchscreen display technology similar to what is currently used in the iPad mini.

On the other hand, Citigroup analyst Glen Yeung recently wrote a note to investors that predicted an iWatch debut before the end of the year. Smartwatches are quickly becoming an increasingly important segment of the wearable tech market. ABI Research predicts that 1.2 million smart watches will be sold worldwide in this year alone.

Here’s how Apple closed out the week on Friday.

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