Rumor Mill: Apple's iWatch to debut in October as health-monitoring device

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) will release a watch-like wearable device in October that will primarily be used for healthcare monitoring, according to a report from Japan's Nikkei.

The report, citing unnamed sources, said the gadget, rumored to be called the iWatch, will sport a curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touchscreen display. Some of the health data it is expected to track include calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood glucose and blood oxygen levels. The device will also let users read messages sent to them.

Interestingly, the report said that according to an unnamed parts manufacturer, Apple plans monthly commercial output of about 3-5 million watch units, a range which exceeds the total global sales of watch-like devices for all of 2013.

Earlier this week Apple began moving into the mobile healthcare market with the introduction of HealthKit, a new software suite that lets developers access health data from a variety of applications to create a single health profile. Apple also introduced a standalone, user-facing app called "Health" as part of its iOS 8 software update that can monitor a variety of health-related metrics from different apps in a single dashboard.

The software will be available this fall, and could coincide with the introduction of a wearable device. HealthKit is designed to allow applications to contribute to a composite profile of a person's health data. For example, Apple said users can allow data from their blood pressure app to be automatically shared with their doctor or allow a nutrition app to tell fitness apps how many calories a user has consumed each day. The Health app itself lets users monitor the metrics they are most interested in.

Apple is trying to build out a network of healthcare partner, and is working with the Mayo Clinic, and Nike is working to integrate with HealthKit. Further, Apple is working with Epic Systems, which provides technology at hospitals serving more than 100 million Americans. That partnership will let Apple work more than 20 other hospitals included the Cleveland Clinic, Mount Sinai, UCLA Health and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Apple is not the only company reportedly moving ahead with new wearables. Rival Samsung Electronics has more up its sleeve in terms of wearables, according to recent patent filings, including a gadget that can perform various tasks based on gestures the user makes with their hand or wrist. Samsung has also unveiled a new hardware reference design called Simband that tracks health data like heart rate and blood pressure. And Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is also reportedly working on a smart watch that is loaded with sensors and will work with Apple's iPhones, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android phones and Microsoft's own Windows Phones.

For more:
- see this Nikkei article
- see this TechCrunch article
- see this 9to5Mac article

Related Articles:
Apple moves into mobile healthcare with HealthKit software
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Samsung files patent for wearable device controlled by wrist gestures
Report: Apple snapping up biomedical, sensor experts in potential wearables push
Samsung creates new platform for mobile healthcare, SAMI, and Simband reference design
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