A few weeks ago Apple (News - Alert) made a move to "patent" the term "iWatch" in Russia. What that means is that Apple is supposedly looking to accomplish the same thing as trademarking the term. Following on that, it turns out that Apple is now also looking to "trademark" the term "iWatch" in Japan. This latest information looks to be more reliable than the news about Apple's Russian effort in that Japan's official Patent Office itself made the news public last Thursday.
The trademark application itself had been filed with the Japanese Patent Office on June 3, 2013, and it was filed - now don't be too surprised by this - as a patent for a computer or watch device. We need to note here that we're speaking specifically about an application, not an actual granting of a trademark. As in any trademark application, a complete review will need to be conducted.
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There is hardly any surprise that Apple is doing this - the only real question is whether or not Apple is simply playing a little defense to preempt another vendor from stealing the term out from under it, or if it’s truly preparing to finally enter the arena. To date it has been all pundits with nothing to go on but their own speculation as to whether or not Apple would jump into the smartwatch fray.
True, Tim Cook himself did note that the "wrist is of great interest" to Apple during his recent All Things D conference keynote interview, but even though he said that he said it in a cagey way that did not in any way allow us to confirm anything about Apple's true intentions. Another rumor has it that Apple has a team of roughly 100 designers and engineers working on a wristwatch-like device that has been circulating since February 2013.
Unlike Samsung (News - Alert), which publically stated back in March 2013 that it is working on a smartwatch, Apple has been merely cagey about - we have no real confirmation one way or the other - though it is certainly a safe assumption to make that Apple is looking to figure out what it can and should do from a smartwatch perspective. Well, we do have hints from Apple board member Bill Campbell about it though we need to take those hints with a grain of salt as well.
There has to be much more innovation to an Apple iWatch than what is currently the current measure for what a smartwatch should deliver. We have noted that Apple also now has a patent application for "eye gaze" technology filed with the US Patent and Trade Office, which we've suggested would be perfect for an iWatch. Well, it still is. The new iOS 7 also has features, such as the new Air Drop, that could also work nicely - innovatively - with an iWatch.
But it all remains speculation. Meanwhile, Pebble Technology and VEA Design are moving ahead with their smartwatch products, and Sony just last week released its new Sony SmartWatch 2. Other startups are hot on their heels. Wearable tech is emerging as a $10 to $50 billion dollar next tech market, and Apple really doesn't have any choice but to get involved - at some point of its choosing. When it does we hope it will not be something derivative but rather something truly high-end and innovative.
Edited by Alisen Downey
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