More details have emerged about the upcoming Apple iWatch. Reportedly, the iWatch will be running a customised version of iOS to better sync with existing devices as well as provide a seamless user experience. 

A Bloomberg report says the features of the device include “letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check map coordinates.” The device will also have a pedometer and sensors for monitoring heart rate and sundry health data, the report said. The news agency's source says the Cupertino company is working hard to introduce the device later this year.

An iWatch concept render (Image credit: Antonio De Rosa/ADR Studio)

An iWatch concept render (Image credit: Antonio De Rosa/ADR Studio)

The Verge reports that Apple has decided to rework iOS to run on the watch instead of developing the proprietary iPod nano's touch OS, which ran on the watch-sized media player. However, the transition is not going as smoothly as expected, as battery life issues are reportedly hampering the project. According to The Verge’s sources, Apple’s aim is to make the iWatch last at least four to five days between charges, but at the moment, the prototypes are falling short of that figure. Apple is also reworking how the iWatch will hook up with the iPhone. There isn’t a clear interface or setting to make it work properly with third-party apps, something that doesn’t work perfectly on the recently launched Pebble smartwatch either.

Reworking operating systems for new devices is not new territory for Apple. In fact, when developing the iPhone, the company decided to create iOS as an extension of OS X rather than going with the iPod OS, which was the earlier plan. One theory is that Apple would limit how much information is sent to the watch to avoid making the device a complicated gadget.

Apple has already filed several patent applications for the iWatch, including details of how it will be worn, kept powered on and accommodate wrists of different sizes. The company has also filed patents for a smartwatch with “end-detection” sensors that will turn off portions of the display covered by overlapping sides of the watch. Apple also has 100 people working on the device with long-time Apple designer Jonathan Ive heading them. 

Apple’s iWatch will enter a crowded wearable tech market with the launch of Google Glass also scheduled for late 2013. There are murmurs about a Samsung Altius smartwatch as well.

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