Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 4.20.34 PM

Swatch’s design style clearly reflects Apple’s clean, uncluttered aesthetic

Update: Swatch has denied the claim, in a statement to Reuters.

A new rumor that popped up today from VentureBeat claims that Apple is working with Swatch and Timex to create different styles of its upcoming iWatch. The rumor puts Apple’s wearable plans in-line with Google’s: the Mountain View company makes the Android Wear software that powers hardware from a variety of vendors.

While it’s true that Swatch teamed up with Microsoft to create an ill-fated smart watch in 2004, it doesn’t seem likely that Apple is poised to join forces with any third party to create its own entry to this market. Here’s why…

First, if we know one thing about Apple, it’s that the company rarely hands over control of hardware or software to a third party. Sure, there are instances like iOS 8′s HomeKit where iOS is designed to work with third-party hardware, and of course CarPlay allows automakers to incorporate the iPhone into future models, but there’s a key difference between those examples and the iWatch. CarPlay and HomeKit don’t change the software on the phone, they just allow it to speak to certain types of accessories.

What’s being suggested here with the collaboration between Swatch, Timex, and Apple would be more akin to Apple partnering with Samsung and LG to put iOS on a variety of handsets from those companies. It doesn’t fit Apple’s strategy.

Second, Swatch really doesn’t like the idea of Apple creating something called the “iWatch.” In fact, the two companies are currently tied up in legal proceedings over just that. Swatch already makes its own “iSwatch,” and argues that Apple could damage its trademark by releasing a similarly named device. If Swatch had any clue as to Apple’s plans for the product (or its name), it hardly seems plausible that they’d currently be trying to block Apple’s efforts. (Conspiracy theorists, now is your chance to say this legal spat is actually a red herring to cover up the fact that the two companies are working together!)

Apple was recently granted a patent for a smartwatch device that it refers to as the “iTime.” While this name may not be the one that will eventually be presented to the public, one thing is certainly clear: Apple has its own ideas about where the iWatch hardware is going, and it doesn’t seem to involve a third party at all.

There could be a bit of truth here, though. Perhaps the companies are partnering for some reason other than hardware development. You may recall that Apple has already made a few hires from the watch industry to help market the upcoming device, so perhaps the company still feels that it needs a little help in figuring out exactly how to market such a device. Apple has also gained the support of former Nike FuelBand team members, so perhaps the connection to Swatch and Timex is in a smaller manner.

Of course, as 9to5Mac has previously reported on several occasions, Apple is also hiring from other fields—from fashion to fitness—to focus its efforts on creating not only a watch, but a next-generation health and fitness device. Whatever they’re cooking up, we’ll finally get some solid answers this fall, as the iWatch is expected to be announced to the public in October.

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13 Responses to “Report claims Swatch and Timex partnering up on iWatch, but don’t count on it (Update: Swatch denies)”

  1. This is so ridiculous… Apple or (actually Jony) will NEVER let some third party company to mark some crap on their product lineup…. Apple is Apple because they go Solo on their products.

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    • myke2241 says:

      i totally agree! and really Timex and Swatch, come on!!!! not even in Apples class!!!

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      • You seem to forget that Swatch isn’t just those cheap watches you buy around the corner. The Swatch Group consists of 18 watch brands, among them are Rado, Longines, Omega, Tissot, Breguet and Certina. And it’s their factory, that builds the machanics for 80% of all automatic watches made. So it is not such a far stretch to talk to Swatch, if you are about to make a watch…

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  2. To just make a case here… What if Apple wants to make the mechanism- device- software but wants a variety of “faces”???
    I don’t say that apple is not good enough to make their own but lets remember the case the ipad time app with the clocks where apple paid Swiss Railway Clock Design for that “time faces”.
    So what if apple wants to with this way to control everything but to have a variety of choices- prices- etc

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    • You’re right, it could be licensing talks for face designs they like, but couldn’t use. I don’t see why they would help Apple though, it’s likely Apple will be taking significant business from them soon.

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  3. Dave Huntley says:

    Unless…. Swatch stamps out accessories… Like cases that the IWatch pops into. To make appeal to a whole host of people, you could easily have Swatch options and Gucci. They do that for the phone right now. Premium and low end circulate around the same device.

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  4. latinoboyboy says:

    What if they’re taking the iPod nano approach and the device is like it and you can buy whichever third party strap or body you want. Not everyone has the same style, having these options would be nicer. I say this because even if I had the money to buy the latest gold watch I wouldn’t. I actually like styles more like Swatch that are quirky and fun. This would give the product a more fashion oriented sense, something Apple competitors are lacking in their design.

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  5. drtyrell969 says:

    That is the ugliest watch I’ve ever seen in my life.

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  6. Oflife says:

    High time you got an iTime? ;)

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  7. hiplopez says:

    My true concern about the whole “iWatch” thing is not the device itself nor its capabilties.
    What is “troubling” me is
    WHO THE HELL IS GOING TO PRESENT IT TO THE WORLD, IN A WAY IT MAKES US INTERESTED TO BUY ONE, just like Mr. Jobs used to do.

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