While most Apple-watchers and media have been laser-focused on one or two “iWatches” from Apple itself, the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics and media giant may actually be working a number of partners in the watch business. Apple and its partners will offer a family of smartwatches to suit all tastes “from geek to chic,” our source says.
The Swatch Group is now the largest watchmaker in the world with a market cap of over $33.5 billion. It makes watches in many styles and price points under 18 different brand names. VentureBeat also suggests they could be building one or more Apple smartwatches that bear only the Apple brand.
The site's source say “he would be shocked” if Apple weren’t also working with Timex on one or more smartwatches. Timex has the well known Ironman brand of fitness watches which might be compatible with what Apple is said to be developing.
It's believed that Apple may partner with existing watch manufacturers because smartwatches aren't just another tech gadget, they are fashion statements. Customers want to choose from a wide variety of styles and price points to find one that suits them.
“It makes sense that they would try to work with existing brands,” Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart says. “And the fact that they have been getting people from luxury goods brands to work on the project would seem to back up the idea that they’re working with other brands.”
Despite the partnerships, VentureBeat's source says that Apple may also be developing a smartwatch that will have its own branding exclusively, ie the iWatch. That device may hit the market alongside watches from Swatch, Timex, or others that are compatible with Health Kit and possibly integrate Apple's technology.
What do you think? Would Apple partner with other watch companies to bring its technology to a host of watches? Let us know your thoughts in the comments...