Word broke on Monday that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) officially filed a trademark for “iWatch,” the potential name of its long-rumored wearable computing device. Now the tech giant has officially filed trademarks for the rumored “iWatch” name in seven other countries, including Russia and India, making it all the more likely that Apple does indeed plan to launch a new form of smartwatch within the coming year.
According to MacRumors, Apple officially applied for trademarks on the “iWatch” name in Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey, India, Colombia and Chile. All of the trademarks appear to have been filed on June 3, but word of Apple’s applications only broke recently. Apple also filed a trademark on the “iWatch” name in Jamaica back in December 2012, bringing the total number of international Apple iWatch trademark filings to nine.
Of course, it’s common practice for companies to file trademarks on products that may not make it to market, but given the number of rumors about a potential iWatch flying around, it seems likely that Apple is serious about putting the iWatch into production.
If the iWatch really does exist, what exactly will it look like?
According to the Japanese blog Macotakara, Apple is teaming up with the Taiwanese RiTdisplay, which produces a new type of touch-sensitive organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display screens, to create a new 1.4-inch display for the iWatch. OLED screens are typically much lighter and thinner than the LCD screens Apple uses for iPhones and iPads, and should allow a much smaller display that provides its own light. Most rumors about the Apple iWatch point to a release in late 2013 or very early 2014.
While the news of new trademark applications implies that Apple does indeed plan to roll out the iWatch soon, the iWatch shouldn’t come as a surprise to many Apple fans. For months, Apple executives have dropped hints about exploring wearable computing technology, and the name “iWatch” has routinely appeared on sites like MacRumors.
Just days before Apple’s 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference, CEO Tim Cook spoke to Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at AllThingsD’s D11 Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., where he discussed Apple’s intense interest in wearable technology, calling wearables products that were “ripe for exploration.”
“There are lots of gadgets in this space right now, but there’s nothing great out there,” Cook said, after mentioning how most wearable technologies, like the Nike Fuelband or Jawbone Up, can only perform one or two key functions. “But none of them are going to convince a kid that hasn’t worn glasses or a band to wear one. … There are a lot of problems to solve in this space. … It’s ripe for exploration. I think there will be tons of companies playing in this space.”