July 1, 2013
Apple Applies For iWatch Trademark In Japan, Further Fueling The Smartwatch Frenzy
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Further fueling the speculation that Apple is looking to build a smartwatch, the Cupertino company has applied for a trademark in Japan for an iWatch. The filings with the Japan Patent Office are dated to the beginning of June, but according to a report in Bloomberg, it was only made public last week.
The Japanese filing is listed in a category for hand-held computing and watch-like devices. Should this trademark lead to a real product, it could mean Apple is sold on the iWatch name, one which has to this point only been given to the yet-to-be-confirmed product by the press. Though several news sources such as the Wall Street Journal or New York Times have claimed Apple intends to build a watch to compete with other rumored devices from their competitors, Apple has yet to give any official word about this potential product.
Bloomberg's sources familiar with the matter also claim Apple has about 100 product designers currently working on the iWatch now.
According to AppleInsider, this Japanese patent is not Apple's first attempt to grab control of the smartwatch name. The June 3 filing occurred just two days before an identical filing with the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, or Rospatent. In this filing, Apple claims the first ever official mention of "iWatch" occurred in another trademark application in Jamaica at the end of 2012.
Though hardly an announcement of a new product from Apple, the recent iWatch trademark filings suggest Apple is at least aware of the buzz surrounding this device. Owning control of the iWatch trademark will be essential if Apple later decides to begin manufacturing such a product. On the other hand, owning control of the trademark will also ensure no other company can sell a watch of the same name.
In February, AppleInsider also found a US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) filing from Apple describing an iWatch device with a flexible touchscreen display. Based on this patent filing and claims from sources familiar with the matter, the rumored device could have a curved, flexible display that wraps completely around the wrist. The February filing also refers to the iWatch as a "bi-stable spring with flexible display," essentially making it a touch screen slap bracelet. It is also expected to perform some of the tasks normally performed by iPads and iPhones, such as scheduling meetings, playing or pausing music, reading emails and even sending text messages. The rumored iWatch is also expected to make and receive phone calls through an iPhone connected via Bluetooth.
The smartwatch rumors have been heating up this year as many expect large tech players such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung to each build their own versions of the same device.
Samsung's mobile vice president said in an interview earlier this year his company has been working "very hard" to finish their smartwatch and have it to market sometime in the near future. This is as official as any of the large tech companies have ever been regarding these new devices. Google is also expected to build their own version of this product which will operate on their Android mobile operating system. The search giant is also expected to build a video game console which operates on Android.
Sony recently announced the latest version of their existing smartwatch, the SmartWatch 2. The Sony SW2 operates in much the same way other devices are expected to. The new watch also includes an NFC chip which is used to connect the watch with smartphones, making it the first smartwatch to use this technology.