Apple's so-called iWatch may find itself on retail shelves sometime this year, according Bloomberg per its usual sources familiar with the matter. Current rumors have suggested Apple's upcoming smart wristwatch may feature a 1.5-inch passive display, Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and Apple's recently patented, high-quality curved glass.

Adding fuel to the existing blaze of iWatch rumors, Bloomberg astutely noted the Cupertino-based company has filed for 79 patents containing the word "wrist", so far.

One of the most telling patents might be U.S. patent application US20120194448 which describes a flexible wrist-mounted device with a battery augmented by solar power and kinetic energy. PatentlyApple takes a detailed look at some of these seemingly watch-related patents.

If the above application is any indication, Apple's wrist-mounted device may materialize as a "slap wrap" or slap bracelet. Slap bracelets are typically about one inch in width by nine inches in length -- and in the case of the iWatch -- nearly the entire bracelet could be a display. The large screen area afforded by such a design could be useful for maps and reading.

Industry analyst Oliver Chen believes Apple stands to gain more with a successful iWatch launch than it does with an iTV. Chen predicts the global watch market will generate about $60 billion in revenue during 2013 -- only about half what televisions are expected to rake in. However, watchmakers enjoy four times the average profit per unit sold than TV peddlers do. Given Apple's reputation for style and selling products with big price tags, a market riddled with luxury watches might be an appropriate niche for Apple.