Apple applies for iWatch trademark in Japan

Move indicates company's intent to create a smartwatch

Apple have applied to trademark the term “iWatch” in Japan, giving further credence to the rumours that the tech company plans to enter the market for wearable technology.

Registering a trademark is often an indication that a company wishes to launch the product – seeking to avoid any legal tussles after the public release. However, some organizations also like to hedge their bets or simply block off their opponents. Apple also registered the “iSlate” in 2009, but it was the iPad that launched in 2010.

According to reports from officials the name could cover a range of products – including computers, computer peripherals and watches.  This means - as Charles Arthur has noted - that there’s a small chance that the name could refer to a TV-related product (also the subject of persistent rumours for Apple).  

Speaking at the D11 conference Apple CEO Tim Cook described wearables as “an area that’s ripe for exploration. It's ripe for us to get excited about. Lots of companies will play in this space." At the same conference though Cook was consistently obstructive when quizzed on the idea of new products.

Although Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC 2013, did reveal some new additions to its hardware line-up, there were no new markets being explored.

Apple’s previous successes with the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad have shown that the company can reinvigorate, if not create, whole markets, and many expect them to do the same with the smartwatch.

The renewed popularity of smartwatches begun in non-corporate environments, with the likes of the Pebble and the MetaWatch finding favour via Kickstarter. Now, established companies are moving in with Sony announcing the second edition of its SmartWatch for September this year, and with Google rumoured to be working on their own device.

Bloomberg is confident in Apple’s ambitions, citing people “familiar with the company’s plans” and saying: “Apple has a team of about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad.”

For many commentators this is one of the central issues with smartwatches. Why buy one when it will only be replicating what your phone does on a smaller screen? Why would you want texts sent to your wrist when they’re already being sent to your pockets? Division of labour between the watch and the phone will be crucial for success in this area.

There is wearable technology that has found its niche though – those devices dedicated to fitness. The likes of the Fitbit Flex and Nike’s FuelBand have enjoyed success because they fulfil a single function efficiently – allowing the user to track their bodies in minute detail, from steps taken to sleep levels.

And Tim Cook can recognise how successful these wearables have been. Speaking at the same D11 conference he commented that Nike “did a great job” with the FuelBand and admitted that he wears one himself. With this in mind, making smartwatches work for Apple might mean combining phone functionality with FuelBand-like personal metrics.

However, not all are confident in coming iWatch. Benedict Evans at Enders Analysis said he thinks Autumn’s launch is unlikely to be a ‘smart’ watch. He said: “In the past trademarks of this kind have not gone out in advance. You didn’t see iPhone before the launch. It might just be a defensive thing to stop people trading off Apple’s reputation. They’ve got a lot of patents that they haven’t used.”

Apple appears not to have trademarked iWatch in Europe, where the patented is held by Italian firm Probendi. The applications in Japan and Russia coincide with a new ‘Designed by Apple’ advertising campaign from the San Francisco-based company.

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst - Tunbridge Wells - £30,000

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Test Analyst/Systems Administ...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - .NET, C#

    £40000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Global Real Estate Software P...

    Recruitment Genius: Drupal / PHP Developer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity for a talented...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer

    £17000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continuing growth, recru...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project