Apple has applied for a trademark for ‘iWatch’ in Japan, as the wearable tech battle heats up.
The trademark application, submitted on June 3 and released on the Japan Patent Office website last week, would cover computers, computer peripherals and wristwatches, an official said.
He said it was unknown how long the application process would require.
Bloomberg claims that Apple has “100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad”.
According to the source, the team working on the device includes members of the company’s iPhone and iPad software and hardware team, as well as staff dedicated to marketing the device.
If true, such a large and multi-tiered team would indicate that, contrary to previous reports, Apple has likely exited the experimental phase of working on the device and could be prepping for an upcoming product launch.
A further two informers claiming to be close with Apple’s plans say it is experimenting with a ‘wristwatch-like device made of curved glass’,operating on iOS.
According to the New York Times, Apple isn’t committed to building an iWatch, instead, it’s being characterised as an “experiment.
The NYT also notes Corning has developed bendable glass last year called Willow Glass which could be used to wrap around something wrist, and cites Forrester’s claim that “Apple’s certainly made a lot of hiring in that area”.
There are also claims Apple is in discussions with Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, which makes a large number of iPhone and iPad parts, about producing an iWatch.
Foxconn are apparently working to make more power-efficient displays and stripping down chips, aimed at multiple Foxconn customers.
Whether these rumours of an iWatch turn out to be true or not, the speculation has nevertheless sparked discussion surrounding what kind of wearable tech mainstream consumers might prefer: a pair of glasses, a la Google Glass, or a wrist-mounted device like the rumored iWatch.
Meanwhile, Google’s smartwatch rumours plans follow a similar announcement from Samsung, which recently confirmed that a Galaxy Smart Watch product is ‘definitely’ on its way.