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When Tim Cook finally announced the long-awaited Apple Watch on September 9, the company promised an “early 2015” release. Since then, it’s really been anybody’s guess as to when, exactly, that might end up being. A few new rumors, however, suggest that we’ll get the Apple Watch sometime in February…but it’s likely that it’ll be later than that.

Today, a post on 9to5Mac points the way back to a report from Chinese site Feng, which itself cites “Taiwanese media” as saying that the Apple Watch is likely to hit sometime in February, though not without a fair bit of challenges to overcome. The reports say that the supply of sapphire crystal – which will compose the displays of the highest-end Apple Watch units – has led to some difficulties in manufacturing.

However, it should be noted that if sapphire is the biggest problem facing the Apple Watch, then Apple’s in good shape. The software itself is still in development, and as the 9to5Mac post points out, the company has yet to release the WatchKit SDK for developers to start making all the cool apps that’ll run on the device.

Another report from Asia this week claims that production on the Apple Watch isn’t set to start at manufacturing partner Quanta until sometime in January – and with only a month of actual production, it seems doubtful that Apple would truly be ready to sell the Watch by February. And last week, an unnamed Apple insider was quoted as saying that the company would be “lucky to ship it by Valentine’s Day.” If that quote is true, then February seems like a tall order.

That said, March doesn’t seem too out of the question. Nor does April. In fact, considering that Motorola promised the Moto 360 smartwatch by “summer 2014,” and didn’t launch it until early September, it would seem that OEMs are pretty loose about their definitions for launch windows. “Early 2015” is simply anything before the very last day in June. And barring any major disasters, we should start to see Apple Watches on consumers’ wrists long before then.

The main question, though, is what cool stuff will the competition cook up between then and now…

[Source: 9to5Mac, Wearable World News]

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