Samsung announced that developers will get “early access” to the software development kit for the new version of its Gear smartwatch and even gave a glimpse of what the display could look like, on the same day that shipment of the Apple Watch will begin to those who have pre-ordered it.

The South Korean vendor said it will collaborate with partners like CNN, Yelp and Baidu “to provide a better experience for users.”

From the images, it appears the face of the watch will be round – a first for Samsung.

“The new device will be the seventh generation of Samsung Gear with a wrist watch type,” the company said in a statement, adding that this is the first time Samsung has released its wearable SDK to third-party developers before the official product announcement.

Meanwhile, Apple fans who pre-ordered the Apple Watch will begin receiving it as of today (24 April) but those who place orders now may have to wait another few months, according to IHS Technology, who predicts it will be the “best selling smartwatch of 2015” and the buzz around it will have a positive impact on the smartwatch market as a whole.

The research firm forecasts that Apple will ship over 19 million units in 2015, giving it a 56 per cent market share of smartwatch shipments, but over time it expects its rivals to catch up, with Apple’s market share dropping to 38 per cent by 2020.

However, “one of the main issues Apple will face will be ensuring the correct inventory is in the correct physical locations,” IHS warned, explaining that “Apple’s launch approach with Apple Watch is unusual: with a total of 12 variants, and whole range of bands, the permutations are large, especially for an Apple product.”