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Watch out – Apple reportedly developing an iOS smartwatch

Smartphones have all but eliminated the wearing of wristwatches, as most folks just check the current time as provided by their cell phone. Now the most popular smartphone company might get those watches back on our wrists, with an Apple-branded smartwatch or "smartwristwatch" running on iOS.

The smartwatch would have Apple's famed high-res Retina Display, according to the report, and would be able to double as an actual phone on which you could hold conversations by talking into your wrist. It's finally here, Dick Tracy fans!

Rumors from along the Asian supply chain say that Apple is working on the Apple smartwatch for iOS. The report notes that Apple is working with Intel on these devices, which will have a 1.5-inch screen. The device is expected to be available in 2013.

The original report appear on the Chinese tech blog TGBus. How is your Mandarin Chinese? If you're anything like me, you'll need Google Translate to figure out what the report is saying. It's not like we have wristwatches that will instantly translate Chinese into English -- yet.

Filtering the report through Google Translate, the translated version notes that "this product will be used with the iPhone" and be available in the "first half of next year." There are few other Apple products in the pipeline for that time frame, the report notes. (Some rumors say otherwise.)

"According to insiders," the translation notes, "Apple's smart watches will be able to answer the phone, directly with the iPhone interconnection". The translations says that the smartwatch will be able to do this "because most of the smart phones have (a) voice assistant function, such as Apple's Siri."

So the smartwatch would take calls, and presumably deliver access your iTunes in the cloud to act as an MP3 player. What else could a smartwatch do? John Koetsier writes at VentureBeat that a smartwatch could also be used as a personal fitness device, tracking running mileage or sleep habits.

This smartwatch would be another example of the wearable computer field, just like the Google Glass augmented reality glasses being developed by Google. These wearable computers accelerate the coming of a day when technology will allow us to perform any computerized task from anywhere on the go.

It also accelerates the coming of a day in when we will walk around wearing giant nine-inch widescreen wristwatches that take up our whole, entire forearm. Progress, indeed.