Apple's iWatch holds the award for the most-rumoured device of 2013, and yet despite numerous hints pointing to a smartwatch coming out of Cupertino this year, it's proved as elusive as a ninja in a blackout.
Now, Apple's thrown more fuel on the fire with an iWatch trademark application in Japan. We've gathered together all the evidence pointing to the mysterious iWatch, and whether it'll be wrapped around our wrists this year.
In the beginning
Whispers of an Apple-made watch wafted their way into the tech ether in February, with both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reporting that Apple had started forging a smartwatch deep within its secretive Cupertino-based lair.
Bloomberg added heat to the fire shortly after by reporting that more than 100 Apple employees were busy on the iWatch project and that the device would be released this year in 2013. And so it began.
Fast forward to July, and Apple has filed an application for an iWatch trademark in Japan, following earlier patent applications for a slap-bracelet smartwatch device and a similar trademark name application in Russia.
And all this follows Apple CEO Tim Cook commenting that the wearable tech industry is an area "ripe for exploration". Tease.
Judging from Apple patents for a spiral OS design – and based on Apple design guru Jony Ive's preferences in wristwear – we could see a circular Apple iWatch gracing wrists the world over. Whatever the shape of the iWatch, according to the New York Times' sources, Apple will be using superhard curved glass for the screen.
We're expecting to see Siri voice controls, remote security, directional mapping, NFC, a pedometer and FaceTime for starters. And with reports that Apple has updated its body area sensing and monitoring patents, it looks like the iWatch could be muscling in on the fitness wristband market.
The Apple iWatch is expect to last a hefty five days without needing a charge – an important factor in a device that's never traditionally needed more than a battery replacement every few years.
Price and release date
Judging from the pricing for other similar smartwatches – and mobile phone prices – we’d expect to pay at least £500 for the Apple iWatch.
Despite the non-stop rumours, the only remotely solid release date we've seen is a maddeningly non-specific '2013'. With Apple expected to launch an iPhone 6 (or iPhone 5S) later in the year, along with an iPad 5, the iWatch could put in an appearance at either event.