What time is it? If you check your smartwatch, you may find that it's a text message past a Twitter notification but if you check the zeitgeist, you'll find that it's wearable tech time.

After more than a year of relegation to "next big thing" status, the smartwatch is finally breaking out into the mainstream with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Gear and Sony Smartwatch 2 following where Kickstarter phenomenon Pebble led.

But we're yet to see a watch with true wow-factor and, for that, many are looking to Apple.

Rumors of an Apple smartwatch have abounded since Pebble first hit the big time. The so-called iWatch has so far failed to materialize in 2013 but will we see Apple get in on the wrist-worn game in 2014?

Cut to the chase
What is it? An iOS-friendly watch that plays nice with your iPhone (probably)
When is it out? The rumors say sometime in 2014
What will it cost? No one really knows

We've rounded up all the rumors and speculation to keep things ticking (geddit!) over. Which seem likely and which are complete Apple poppycock? Let's find out.

Does the iWatch even exist?

That's the million dollar question, and one that only the Apple insiders really know the answer to for now. So the short answer is: We don't know.

Now for the longer answer:

Way, way back in 2008, Apple co-founder and renegade loud-mouth Steve Wozniak "let slip" to the Telegraph that "Apple's future could lie in an 'iWatch'." And, in April 2013, an Apple board member mentioned the word "watch."

Taking time out of dissing Google Glass ("I wear glasses because I have to"), Apple CEO Tim Cook told attendees at All Things D that "the wrist is interesting" in May, thus kindling thousands of iWatch rumors across the web.

The WSJ seems "confident" that the iWatch is real because it's been talking to "people briefed on the effort," while a couple of analysts have stuck their oars in too, saying "Yup, an Apple Watch. That sounds feasible. I'm going to say yes, that exists."

Then, in the midst of a thousand iWatch rumors, Apple seemed to confirm that it was at least thinking about releasing a product of that name by trademarking 'iWatch' in Japan, Mexico, Russia and a number of other countries.

But a trademark does not a definite product launch make.

The Nike connection

While the world and it's sister got hyped about smartwatches when the Pebble Kickstarter went stratospheric, Apple's interest in watches stretches back beyond that.

Design guru Jony Ive, in particular, is a fan. According to ex-Nike man and watch designer Scott Wilson, in the mid-2000s, Jony Ive took his team to visit watch factories and ordered boxes of "a sports watch" made by Nike.

That's well before Nike's Fuelband hit the mainstream, but the two companies are close.

Like, really close: nevermind Apple CEO Tim Cook sitting on Nike's board of directors and wearing a Fuelband day in day out, Apple has reportedly hired Ben Shaffer (previously innovation leader at Nike) and Jay Blahnik, a health and fitness instructor who consulted on the Fuelband for Nike.

So Apple really likes the Fuelband. And Nike really likes Apple, going as far as to tell TechRadar that it "hopes" the Fuelband has inspired the Cupertino crew.

Jony Ive and his health- and sport-focused dream team

The supposed iWatch project is supposedly being headed up by Jony Ive. Bloomberg reports that around 100 engineers are working under Ive to develop the device, but a number of secretive yet also high profile hires also hint at the Apple watch's potential capabilities.

Aside from the ex-Nike men Apple has brought on board, Apple has hired a raft of sleep analysis experts, who hold "several patents for integrating mobile devices with fitness equipment" and biometric scienticians to boot.

In early February 2014, Apple also nabbed Roy J. E. M Raymann, a sleep-monitoring expert, igniting rumors that the iWatch will be a thing you wear 24/7. Later that month, Apple also made Marcelo Malini Lamego, who specialises in health-related sensor tech, a job offer he couldn't refuse, and advertised for a fitness specialist as well.

The San Francisco Chronicle went on to claim that Apple's Tomlinson Holman, inventor of THX and 10.2 surround sound, is working on tech that uses sound tech to predict heart attacks.

The iWatch will be mainly about health monitoring

So it could be supposed that Apple is planning some kind of health and sport-focused device. And if that device played nice with your iOS devices and just so happened to be worn on your wrist, the same wrist that Tim Cook thinks is interesting, then it stands to reason that Apple could, perhaps, name it the iWatch.

Insiders claim that such a device could even predict heart attacks, while a patent filed back in 2012 details how Apple plans to make some kind of wrist-worn device exceptionally accurate at monitoring the steps you take.

The health-heavy Basis Science was reportedly making eyes at Apple, but Intel has since snagged the company for its own.

Then again, it could just be big into this rumored Healthbook app which is supposedly en route to iOS 8, especially given that a rumour in mid February 2014 said Apple would be stripping back the sensors on the iWatch and relying more heavily on the companion smartphone.

There is also word that Apple wants to monitor your health and fitness via your ears, rather than your wrist.

The iWatch will be all about the curves

The most recent word claims that Apple may be going for the whole bendy approach with a fully flexible plastic OLED screen, which was backed up by speculation that LG Display will provide G Flex-like bendy screens for the watch.

Before that'd we'd heard that Apple was playing with the idea of curved Corning glass. "Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass," says the NYT's Nick Bilton, quoting "people familiar with the company's explorations."

The glass "can curve around the human body" and may be Corning's just-announced Willow Glass, which "can flop as easily as a piece of paper in the wind without breaking."

In January 2014, Corning announced that it's ready to manufacture curved glass products using 3D-forming technology. Gorilla Glass is the glass of choice on most of Apple's mobile devices, so this sounds like good news for the iWatch, if it exists.

Adding credence to this particular supposition is the fact that Apple has patented a '90s slap-band style form factor which would require such a flexible display. Apple's patented plenty of tech that never sees the literal light of day - we can't help but hope this isn't one of those.

In February 2014, the company also applied for a patent relating to flexible displays, in which a device's bezel could be done away with because the screen itself would bend around the sides of the casing.

But hold your horses: in February 2014, the Korea Herald reported that an insider revealed that the iWatch is unlikely to have a curved screen because of the strain a curved 2-inch display would have on your wrist. A 2-inch display? That's bigger than the previous rumors you'll see on the next page...