Apple's wearables will be for fitness

apple fitness headphone patent
It's reasonable to expect Apple to release wearables this year, but they may not be what you're expecting.

Still waiting for your iWatch? Brace for disappointment.

Wearables are definitely coming from Apple, but the company is wisely focusing its efforts on the burgeoning health and fitness market.

Over the past couple of years, Apple has hired numerous health and fitness experts, including a developer of the Nike (NKE) Fuelband. Apple still has plenty of job openings listed for fitness app and hardware developers. And the company built a processor directly into the iPhone 5S dedicated to activity tracking.

Apple recently patented headphones that have biometric sensors embedded in them, capable of tracking your heart rate and body temperature. (Not all Apple (AAPL) patents become actual products, but there have been plenty of Apple patents that made it into products and onto store shelves within a few years after the filing date.)

Additionally, leaks and rumors suggest that the next iteration of Apple's iOS software will integrate health and fitness features.

Related: Nike+ Fuelband SE is what wearables should be

So instead of some watch that is supposed to replace, or duplicate the function of the iPhone, Apple is far more likely to produce a series of accessories that enhance the iPhone's functionality. You can also expect Apple-developed software that makes the most of those accessories.

That happens to be the smartest strategy for Apple. Wearable devices are not yet essential. Nobody needs Google Glass yet, and nobody will ever need Samsung's Galaxy Gear. Someday, those types of products will be better integrated into our lives. But for now, wearables that serve single purposes -- namely health and fitness applications -- are more ready for prime time.

So if we do see a watch from Apple, chances are it will focus heavily on fitness to start.

And if this saddens you, well, there's always the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 to wait for.

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