Analyst: Apple iWatch is $6 billion opportunity

Although Apple has yet to confirm the existence of a smart watch, Citigroup analyst Oliver Chen believe the device may represent a multi-billion dollar opportunity for Cupertino.

“This can be a $6 billion opportunity for Apple, with plenty of opportunity for upside if they create something totally new like they did with the iPod – something consumers didn’t even know they needed,” Chen told Bloomberg.

Indeed, Cupertino apparently maintains a team of approximately 100 product designers who are working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad.

Expected features reportedly include allowing users to make calls, seeing the identity of incoming callers, checking map coordinates and even acting as a pedometer for sports enthusiasts.

“There’s no doubt the wrist is a valuable piece of convenient, glanceable real estate for viewing essential information,” said Scott Wilso, a watch designer who developed a line of watchbands for people who wanted to use an iPod nano as a watch. “It’d be great to see information like, ‘Where are we meeting for lunch?'”

If all remains on track for Apple, the oft-rumored smart watch may even launch before 2014. However, it remains unclear if 2013 will be the year of the smart watch, as The Verge is reporting that Apple is experiencing battery life issues, with the device lasting only two days between charges, rather than the 4-5 originally envisioned by Cupertino engineers.

“We’re also told Apple has some work to do with iOS on the iPhone, which currently has several hooks for supporting a watch-like device but lacks the appropriate interface or settings to make it work properly,” said Nilay Patel of The Verge.

“The Pebble watch, for example, can receive notifications from third-party iOS apps with a slight hack, but it has to be redone every time the Bluetooth connection breaks… Obviously Apple has time to resolve these issues, just as it had to when it reworked OS X to work on the iPhone instead of building up the iPod’s operating system in the late 2000s.”